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The American Short Story Cycle$
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Jennifer J. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423939

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423939.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Atomic Genre

Atomic Genre

(p.141) Chapter 6 Atomic Genre
The American Short Story Cycle

Jennifer J. Smith

Edinburgh University Press

The final chapter theorizes the atomic structure of short story cycles by analyzing the production, structure, and reception of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010). Egan describes the stories in A Visit from the Good Squad as atomized—in the way that discrete songs, part of a bigger album, define contemporary music production and consumption. Many purists lament that such atomization can limit producing a wholly realized album, vision, or book. But, her book shows that it is also liberating. In a cycle about time, music, and subjectivity, nothing could be more important than the pauses that happen in the in-between, most powerfully rendered in her now-famous short story told in Power Point, “Great Rock and Roll Pauses.” Her term “atomic” implies that isolating the most basic part generates power, and it implies a logic in which a proposition, sentence, or formula cannot be analyzed into a coherent structure.

Keywords:   Jennifer Egan, Genre, Power Point, Music

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