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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, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 April 2020

Atomic Genre

Atomic Genre

Chapter:
(p.141) Chapter 6 Atomic Genre
Source:
The American Short Story Cycle
Author(s):

Jennifer J. Smith

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423939.003.0007

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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