The modernist period saw a revolution in fictional practice, most famously in the work of novelists such as Joyce and Woolf. Dominic Head shows that the short story, with its particular stress on literary artifice, was a central site for modernist innovation. Working against a conventional approach and towards a more rigourous and sophisticated theory of the genre, using a framework drawn from Althusser and Bakhtin, he examines the short story's range of formal effects, such as the disunifying function of ellipsis and ambiguity. Separate chapters on Joyce, Woolf and Katherine Mansfield highlight their strategies of formal dissonance, involving a conflict of voices within the narrative. Finally, Dominic Head's challenging conclusion takes the implications of his study into the age of postmodernism.
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