By Lisa Feklistova
Consider the witch. Why did she frighten Europeans, once upon a time?
The European Network for Short Fiction Research was established in 2013 with the aim of fostering and promoting the study of short fiction in European universities and in interaction with short fiction writers. After an inaugural meeting early in 2014, the ENSFR has organized annual conferences as well as sponsored several other study days and events. This website aims to be an interactive platform for sharing research, expertise, ideas and information about short fiction in its diversity of linguistic traditions and forms.
Consider the witch. Why did she frighten Europeans, once upon a time?
Call for Papers
Modern detective fiction is usually considered to have started with Edgar Allan Poe’s three Dupin short stories and it is certain that the Sherlock Holmes short stories in The Strand magazine brought the new genre to the attention of the world. Other notable writers who helped shape the genre in the early 20th century, including G. K. Chesterton and Melville Davisson Post, stuck to the short form and managed both to innovate and to produce works which are still appreciated today. For Ellery Queen, writing in 1942, it was still possible to state that “the original, the ‘legitimate’ form” of detective fiction “was the short story” and to perceive the detective novel as an inflated short story. According to Catherine Ross Nickerson, “[t]he mechanisms of a detective narrative are more apparent in a short story, since there is less upholstery for hiding the ropes and pulleys. The shorter form also forces writers to make a more clear decision about whether to focus on the puzzle or on the character.”
Continue reading “Journée d’études / Study Day on Short Crime Fiction – 14 October 2022, Université Catholique de Lille”
While early reviews routinely likened her work to that of Henry James, by 1923, Mayne was called ““the only short-story writer capable of succeeding Katherine Mansfield”
Continue reading “In Quest of Forgotten Yellow Book Writer Ethel Colburn Mayne”
Some one said to me the other day, ‘I don’t get Alice Munro.’ It’s okay, I told her. Continue reading “Alice Munro in the Classroom”
University of Angers, France
22-24 June 2022
“The nomad has a territory; he follows customary paths; […] A path is always between two points, but the in-between has taken all the consistency and enjoys both an autonomy and a direction of its own. The life of the nomad is the intermezzo.” Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 380.
“If the writer is a sorcerer, it is because writing is a becoming…” A Thousand Plateaus, 240.
“I’ve never believed that the self is like a mythical beast which has to be trapped and returned, so that you can become whole again. I’m talking about the negotiations we have to make to discover any kind of reality.” Angela Carter, in Edmund Gordon, xiii
This international conference under the aegis of the Angela Carter Society sets to explore the metamorphic itineraries of characters, genres, genders, philosophies, texts, and images (paintings, films, photos, postcards) in Carter’s fictional and non-fictional works as well as their creative reception and dissemination by twenty-first century writers and artists. Lorna Sage has already underlined Carter’s itinerant subjectivity: “[…] the role-playing and the shape-shifting, the travels, the choice of a man much younger than her, the baby in her forties –is the story of someone walking a tightrope. It is all happening on the ‘edge’, in no man’s land, among the debris left by past conventions.” This life on the edge, in between, is a metaphor of an essential mobility that inscribes the author, her characters, and her texts in a nomadic logic, where “the in-between has taken all the consistency and enjoys both an autonomy and a direction of its own” Deleuze, 380.
The physical or mental journeys of Carter’s characters often run parallel to trajectories of awareness informed by gender, race, class, human and posthuman issues. Dressing up, role-playing, and shapeshifting, like metaphoric journeys in the picaresque tradition, are both thematic and structural features of Carter’s work. They bear witness to the character’s boundless self-invention and the continuous becoming subject: “Becoming is a verb with a consistency all its own: it does not reduce to or lead back to, “appearing,” “being,” “equalling,” or “producing”” (Deleuze, 239). Becoming is the flux, the journey minus the destination. Through the study of the metamorphic itineraries of hybrid, fluid, mobile and problematic identities, contributors are invited to map out the manifestations of nomadic subjectivities in Carter’s work and the politics of becoming that underly their trajectories.
The conference will also be an opportunity to study the journey (and sometimes the trials and tribulations) of a rich cultural heritage into Carter’s work. Carter herself declares: “I feel free to loot and rummage in an official past, specifically a literary past, but I like painting and sculpture and the movies and folklore and heresies, too (“NFFL”, SL 41). The access to Carter’s journals, letters and notebooks in the Angela Carter’s Archives provides a precious source to explore her negotiation with Western philosophers, novelists, poets, playwrights, literary critics, painters, film producers etc., and to map out the metamorphic itineraries of this heritage in her work, by tracing lines of tension, lines of flight, dialogues, collusions, subversions, deconstructions and all the strategies that inscribe in her work a nomadic logic. While the formal aspect is important, it is inextricably connected to a politics of nomadism that Deleuze identifies as a “war machine” whose mobility, fluidity, and exteriority makes it at the antipode of the law, of the fixed conventions and rules, or what Deleuze calls the “state apparatus”. In other words, nomadism through its decentralizing metamorphic itineraries becomes essential to the boundless inventions of subjectivities and texts to which Carter’s work bears a witness.
The conference will also pay tribute to Carter’s legacy by analysing how Carter’s texts continue their nomadic journeys through the works of contemporary artists, screenwriters, novelists, painters, sculptors, literary critics, fan fiction and other media usages. (Charlotte Crofts, Lucy Wood, Helen Simpson, Ali Smith, Margo Lanagan, Rikki Ducornet, Kate Atkinson, Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters, https://lithub.com/50-fascinating-works-of-angela-carter-fan-art/).
Contributions could address, but are not limited to, one of the following areas:
Knowing that Carter used to spend her holidays in France, French culture found its way into her works. Contributions about the metamorphosis of French culture in Carter’s work are particularly welcome. Angers is also the ideal destination for scholarly nomads who wish to explore Carter’s works against the backdrop of fine wine, castles, and a lush natural setting.
Martine Hennard Dutheil de la Rochère (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
Anna Kérchy (University of Szeged, Hungary)
Proposals of 300 words in English should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com before September 21st, 2021.
80 € for participants; 30 € for Ph.D. students.
Registration fees include all meals and cultural events except the banquet.
Contribution to the banquet: 30 €
Conference web page:
We are pleased to announce the publication of number 72 of the Journal of the Short Story in English/Cahiers de la nouvelle, devoted to Elizabeth Spencer. This issue is dedicated to our colleagues specialized in American literature, Michel Bandry, Danièle Pitavy-Souques and Claude Maisonnat (who authored one of the articles), but also to Spencer herself, who passed away in December 2019. Two previously unpublished short stories and two interviews are collected in this issue. Three writers have also agreed to share their memories of Spencer.
You will find below the table of contents, as well as links to the websites of the Presses Universitaires de Rennes and OpenEdition, where the beginning of the articles can be accessed.
The “Short stories and short forms” team of the CIRPaLL laboratory has received funding from the Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships program. This European research program aims to promote transnational projects set up by networks of teacher-researchers in Europe in order to develop and share innovative practices in the fields of education, training and youth.
With the “Short Forms Beyond Borders (SFBB)” project, we intend to work collaboratively on short forms as a tool for cultural, educational and social mediation in Europe. The relevance of short forms is becoming more and more visible in today’s society. Brevity is becoming a way of doing things, a question of time and style, indeed of thinking. Examples of short forms include short videos, text messages, short stories, Instagram stories, sound fragments, television series, short speeches, sales pitches, news briefs, slogans etc. Continue reading ““Short forms beyond borders” (SFBB): AN ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnerships Project”
The next issue of Microtextualidades (n. 9, May 2021) is now open to the submission of contributions.
Coordinators: Eunice Ribeiro y Xaquín Núñez Sabarís
(Spanish version below)
“The characters in the micro-story walk in profile.” This sentence by Andrés Neuman, extracted from his ten micro-notes on this narrative form, attributes to the protagonists of the mini-fiction a bodily or identitary inconsistency, in accordance with the diegetic ellipsis of hyper-brief stories and the aesthetics of post-modernity.
Characters that evaporate, disarticulate or become ghosts or animated objects, shadows that dilute as the minimal story of the minuscule fiction vanishes, are common in the repertoire of microtextualities.
This representative dimension of the character is often accompanied by cultural imaginaries (the prevalence of middle-aged characters) or political and social demands, consistent with the subversive position that the micro-narrative has had at its origins and which it has not lost in its process of canonisation. Its rebellious nature has made it a prone space for cultural resistance. For this reason, these characters who move in profile frequently represent beings marked by failure, marginality or rejection, from an individual or collective point of view. Poverty, sexism, racism or different forms of exclusion are also part of the thematic concerns of hyper-brief literature.
Related to this, and by virtue of its permeable format, it has also been a genre with great effectiveness in addressing issues of social demand, such as those mentioned above. The collective volumes of the micro-story have constituted a sub-genre in themselves, sponsored by associations, institutions or writers’ groups that focus on a particular theme. If criticism of micro-storytelling has studied its educational effectiveness in promoting and consolidating reading or literary competence, the emergence of mini-fiction has also demonstrated its relevance for carrying out a pedagogy of strong social, political and cultural commitment.
This monographic issue therefore aims to focus on the representation of characters’ identities in the micro-story, both from the point of view of its narrative materialization and from the social and political positions that intervene in its different repertoires.
Petición de colaboraciones: Identidad, exclusión y resistencia. La representación del personaje en el microrrelato. Número 9, mayo 2021)
Coordinadores: Eunice Ribeiro y Xaquín Núñez Sabarís
Fecha límite para el envío de manuscritos: 15/01/2021
“Los personajes del microcuento caminan de perfil”. Esta sentencia de Andrés Neuman, extraída de sus diez microapuntes sobre esta forma narrativa, atribuye a los protagonistas de la minficción una inconsistencia corporal o identatitaria, acorde con la elipsis diegética de las narraciones hiperbreves y la estética de la posmodernidad.
Personajes que se evaporan, se desarticulan o convierten en fantasmas u objetos animados, sombras que se diluyen a medida que se desvanece la historia mínima de la ficción minúscula son habituales en el repertorio de las microtextualidades.
Esta dimensión representativa del personaje viene acompañada, a menudo, de imaginarios culturales (la prevalencia de personajes de media edad) o reivindicaciones políticas y sociales, acordes con la posición subversiva que la minificción ha tenido en sus orígenes y que no ha perdido en su proceso de canonización. Su naturaleza rebelde ha propiciado que sea un espacio proclive para la resistencia cultural. Por ello, esos personajes que se mueven de perfil representan frecuentemente seres marcados por el fracaso, la marginalidad o el rechazo, desde un punto de vista individual o colectivo. La pobreza, el sexismo, el racismo o las diferentes formas de exclusión forman también parte de las preocupaciones temáticas de la literatura hiperbreve.
Relacionado con ello, y en virtud de su permeable formato, ha sido, además, un género con una gran eficacia para abordar cuestiones de reivindicación social, como las señaladas anteriormente. Los volúmenes colectivos del microrrelato han constituido un subgénero en sí mismo, auspiciados por asociaciones, instituciones o agrupaciones de escritores que se centran en un determinado tema. Si la crítica sobre el microrrelato ha estudiado su eficacia educativa, en la promoción y consolidación de la competencia lectora o literaria, la irrupción de la minificción ha acreditado también su relevancia para llevar a cabo una pedagogía de fuerte compromiso social, político y cultural.
Este número monográfico pretende, consecuentemente, centrarse en la representación de las identidades de los personajes en el microrrelato, tanto desde el punto de vista de su materialización narrativa, como desde las posiciones sociales y políticas que intervienen en sus diferentes repertorios.
Link to CFP website here.
Call for papers for the joint workshop organised by the Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaines (SEAC) and The Journal of the Short Story in English:
Even as literature and the arts of the 20th century were setting new horizons for creation, they often engaged in an inventive dialogue with the Renaissance period. From the end of the 19th century to the early 21st century, the period has offered a rich reservoir of texts, historical subjects, interrogations and experiences that have been rewritten across the centuries to constitute part of the organic fabric of literature and the arts.
The influence of the Renaissance has taken many forms, from direct intertextual references to less identifiable traces. In most cases however, the Renaissance has, as expected, been read as the founding moment of our humanist model, as well as the matrix of an individualism that has been endlessly reassessed without being radically disqualified. This explains the return of modernist and contemporary writers to a period that works as an allegorical mirror for current interrogations. Virginia Woolf sets the early moments of her historical fantasy, Orlando (1928) during the Elizabethan period, to better ground her exploration of identity fashioning in an age that was both foundational of individualism and already harboured dissenting views of what constitutes selfhood. Lytton Strachey also understood the extraordinary potential of the period which he reinvented in Elizabeth and Essex (also published in 1928). Today, the Renaissance has enjoyed a renewal of interest, both in the field of historical fiction (see Peter Ackroyd’s fantasised reinvention of Renaissance occultism in The house of Doctor Dee , or Jeanette Winterson’s own take on Renaissance expansionism in Sexing the Cherry ), popular culture, life-writing as well as more experimental artistic forms (see Martin Crimp and George Benjamin’s reappropriation of Marlowe’s Edward II, in their latest collaboration, the opera Lessons in Love and Violence ).
On the other side of the Atlantic, the term Renaissance has been used to describe books released by major authors in the middle of the 19th century, a period during which the short story established itself through magazine publications. Major authors produced work they felt inferior to their longer endeavors but some of them started reflecting, as Poe famously did, on the art of the short story, writing almost exclusively short forms (poems and short stories). This “Renaissance” is closely related to the renewal of American letters, to the exploration of the American space and the American psyche. Critics then located a “lesser” Renaissance in the 1920s, in the cultural boom that followed WWI. There again, the short story imposed itself with such writers as Cather, Anderson, Fitzgerald, Toomer or Boyle, who were influenced by the emerging modernist movement developing in Europe. For some short story writers, Europe also appears as the locus for renaissance—Henry James, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Edith Wharton, and later John Cheever and Elizabeth Spencer all spent time in the Old World and made their characters reflect on their identity.
“RenaissanceS” can thus refer to experiment both in form and content. The term should be read as a metaphor for aesthetic renewal and reinvention. The short-story and 20th and 21st century English literature have often revisited past forms in order to self-reflexively explore the mecanisms of fiction-making and the ideological economy of representation. One should however distinguish between the revival of past forms and parody, although parody may constitute one of the chosen instruments of aesthetic revival. The renaissance of pastoral poetry in the 20th century, as well as that of gothic fiction, or of utopian writing in feminist fiction, testify to the creative potential of looking back in order to invent the literature to come and to critically embrace the present.
The workshop organised jointly by the Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaines (SEAC) and by the Journal of the Short Story in English welcomes proposals that will address the category of the “RenaissanceS” from an intertextual perspective as well as contributions exploring the history and critical rationale of aesthetic renaissance. Contributors may also turn to the philosophical and theoretical legacy of the Renaissance, whether it be in the form of a critical humanism — for instance in the permanence of dystopian fiction since the 1940s —, or in the deconstruction of travel or discovery narratives. Choosing to revive past forms or subjects is thus more than playful. It allows modern and contemporary art and literature to fathom their own historical and epistemological determinisms and to historicize their own situation as regards their legacy as well as their future.
Corpus to be addressed:
— 20th and 21st century British literature or visual arts
— The genre of the short-story (19th – 21st centuries, GB / US)
Proposals for papers in English (300 words, plus critical bibliography,) should be sent to
Catherine Bernard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerald Preher: Gerald.PREHER@univ-catholille.fr
by November 2nd.