Saturday, February 28, 2009

A single wish ...

... What Draws Some Writers to the Short Story?--Barthelme and O'Connor. (Hat tip. Lee Lowe.)

As Frederic Jameson has reminded us, short tales have a kind of "atemporal and object-like unity in the way they convert existence into a sudden coincidence between two systems: a resolution of multiplicity into unity, or a fulfillment of a single wish.” It is a basic human wish that the short story perhaps fulfills better than the novel. According to Hayden White, we desire to have real events “display the coherence, integrity, fullness, and closure of an image of life that is and can only be imaginary. The notion that sequences of real events possess the formal attributes of the stories we tell about imaginary events could only have its origin in wishes, daydreams, reveries.”

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