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Book/Printed Material The Classic Short Story, 1870-1925 : Theory of a Genre

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  • The Classic Short Story, 1870-1925 : Theory of a Genre


  • "The ability to construct a nuanced narrative or complex character in the constrained form of the short story has sometimes been seen as the ultimate test of an author's creativity. Yet during the time when the short story was at its most popular--the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries--even the greatest writers followed strict generic conventions that were far from subtle. This expanded and updated translation of Florence Goyet's influential La Nouvelle, 1870-1925: Description d'un genre à son apogée (Paris, 1993) is the only study to focus exclusively on this classic period across different continents. Ranging through French, English, Italian, Russian and Japanese writing--particularly the stories of Guy de Maupassant, Henry James, Giovanni Verga, Anton Chekhov and Akutagawa Ryunosuke--Goyet shows that these authors were able to create brilliant and successful short stories using the very simple 'tools of brevity' of that period. In this challenging and far-reaching study, Goyet looks at classic short stories in the context in which they were read at the time: cheap newspapers and higher-end periodicals. She demonstrates that, despite the apparent intention of these stories to question bourgeois ideals, they mostly affirmed the prejudices of their readers. In doing so, her book forces us to re-think our preconceptions about this 'forgotten' genre."--Publisher's website.


  • Goyet, Florence, author.

Created / Published

  • Cambridge, UK : Open Book Publishers, 2014.


  • Table of Contents -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- PART I: STRUCTURE -- 1. Paroxystic Characterisation -- Extremes in the fantastic short story -- 2. Antithetic Structure -- Secondary tensions -- Editing antithetic tension: Maupassant and James -- 3. Ending with a Twist -- The “twist-in-the-tailâ€? and antithetic tension -- The “Twist-in-the-tailâ€? and retroreading -- “Openâ€? texts and tension -- 4. The Tools of Brevity -- Preconstructed material -- Character types -- Recurring characters and empty characters -- Tight focus
  • An explicit distanceThe use of types: subversion or immersion? -- “Deceptive representationsâ€? of reality -- The great man -- “We are simply the caseâ€?: James and abstract entities -- Reading at face value: the double distance -- 9. Dialogue and Character Discreditation -- Direct and indirect speech: Vergaâ€?s novel versus short stories -- Dialect and distancing -- Foreign terms -- 10. The Narrator, the Reflector and the Reader -- Unreliable narrators and reflectors -- Reliable narrators and reflectors -- 11. Distance and Emotion
  • James3end -- Chek2 -- Mau2 -- retro -- Chek3 -- fan3 -- Mau3 -- read1 -- precon -- read2 -- type -- type1 -- read3 -- Chek5 -- prov -- Mau4 -- cyc -- emo -- James5 -- James4 -- type2 -- Mau5 -- James6 -- hyp -- fait -- novel -- news -- Mau6 -- news1 -- Gil -- Fanful -- Ver2 -- Ver3 -- Chek6 -- sat -- int -- read4 -- Joyce -- Prou -- Mau7 -- read5 -- News2
  • Permanence of types5. Conclusion to Part I -- Hypotyposis and schematisation -- Short stories, sensational news items and serials -- The short story: privileged object of narratology -- PART II: MEDIA -- 6. Exoticism in the Classic Short Story -- The role of the press -- Exotic subjects -- The constraints of the newspapers -- Exceptions to the rule -- 7. Short Stories and the Travelogue -- Praise of nature, criticism of culture -- From vision to judgement: guidelines for description -- PART III: READER, CHARACTER AND AUTHOR -- 8. A Foreign World
  • The short story with a dilemmaReadersâ€? emotional response to the classic short story -- 12. Conclusion to Part III: Are Dostoevskyâ€?s Short Stories Polyphonic? -- Epilogue: Beyond the Classic Short Story -- Lengthy stories: the long Yvette after the brief Yveline -- Fantastic tales: the deconstruction of the self -- Authors at a crossroads -- Bibliography -- Index -- read -- Naturalism -- Parox -- Verga -- James1 -- Chek -- fan2 -- Mau -- Stev -- ohen -- Verg1 -- Tieck -- Akutagawa1 -- James2 -- Akutagawa2 -- Chek1 -- Mau1 -- James


  • -  Literary form--History
  • -  Literature--History and criticism--Theory, etc
  • -  Literature--Philosophy


  • -  Includes bibliographical references (197-206) and index.
  • -  Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page (viewed April 03, 2020).


  • 1 online resource (210 pages)

Call Number/Physical Location

  • PN441

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019467794

Reproduction Number

  • 22573/ctt5qrchw

Rights Advisory

Access Advisory

  • Unrestricted online access

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Goyet, Florence, Author. The Classic Short Story, -1925: Theory of a Genre. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2014. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Goyet, F. (2014) The Classic Short Story, -1925: Theory of a Genre. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Goyet, Florence, Author. The Classic Short Story, -1925: Theory of a Genre. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2014. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.