Sunday, April 5, 2009
Brevity is the Soul of Wit
The NYTimes has a nice piece on the American Short Story. Short Stories don't get as much press, as much attention, as much respectability as the long prose fiction (i.e., novels). But all the great long prose fiction writers (e.g., Melville) were masters of the short form as well. For anyone who reads this blog with regularity, I obviously love the Argentinian short story writer, Jorge Luis Borges. But, for those who wish to stick closer to home, I have three words: Edgar Allen Poe! The short form perhaps reached its highest respectability, at least in European and subsequently American trajectories, in an ironically huge volume: Boccaccio's Decameron, which is a collection of 100 short stories in a larger narrative frame (it is actually 101 stories for those who are paying close attention). We could go back even further to One Thousand and One Nights, etc. The short form has been with us for a long time, in fact, and according to the NYTimes article, is poised for a resurgence.