Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.695044
Title: 'Hope' is the thing with stories : attending the critical and creative potentialities of the short story genre
Author: Metcalfe, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 9629
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
The short story is often characterised as a form best suited to the expression of disconnectedness, fragmentation or, as Michael Trussler has it, the ‘melancholy moment’. A rhetoric of pathology and ‘deathliness' pervades this critical field. This thesis seeks to overturn the apparent negativity of these assumptions and reposition the short story as a form that can encompass the tensions between death and life, between mortality and natality. Where others conceptualise the short story as the ‘unrealizable element contained within the unrepeatable conditions that form its own passing’ (Trussler), I look to these elements and conditions as expressions of contingency. Where the ‘unrepeatable’ becomes a source of trauma, I seek to position the unpredictable as a source of hope: dangerous, yes, but not melancholic. Arendt, as the great political and philosophical theorist of natality, provides the theoretical backbone for my argument. Where she writes that ‘Man is put into a world of change and movement as a new beginning because he knows that he has a beginning and will have an end; he even knows that his beginning is the beginning of his end’ she gives us a temporality whereby our human natality (birth) allows for other forms of natality in the radically new, the unforeseeable, the unexpected. She writes, in The Human Condition, ‘with each birth something uniquely new comes into the world’ which enables, paradoxically, the idea that ‘the unexpected can be expected’ from each unique being. Close reading stories by Katherine Mansfield, Grace Paley and Ali Smith, this thesis demonstrates how character, genre and form can embody, describe and perform a philosophical attitude that allows for hopefulness in contingency. With this model of hopeful contingency in view, I then present my own collection of short stories as further potentialities of the form.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.695044  DOI: Not available
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