"Complete with missing parts" : modernist short fiction as interrogative text
This thesis examines modernist short fiction in English from the 1890s to the 1980s, with particular reference to works by James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett and Donald Barthelme. The term 'interrogative' is evolved in the course of the study to describe the relationship of the reader and of interpretative discourse to the form. It is argued that the modernist story is marked by indeterminacy and a resistance to teleological structuration as a result of its narrative strategies of ellipsis, reticence and interdiction. Unlike those existing theories which emphasize 'unity' or 'ambiguity' in the short story, the interrogative approach takes as its starting point a post-Saussurean definition of language as differential and plurisignificant and uses this to demonstrate the form's constitutional resistance to determine critical exegesis.