17 October 2013

Henry James - master of the short story

Henry James is well known as the author of magnificent novels such as The Portrait of a Lady, Washington Square, and The Wings of the Dove. But at the same time as writing over twenty full-length novels he also produced over a hundred short stories. And it has to be said that most of them are not so short - some of them stretching to the form of novellas or even short novels - such as The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers. His collection of the Complete Tales runs to twelve handsome volumes - and if you ever spot volumes nine and ten in the Rupert Hart-Davis hardback edition of 1963 I will pay you good money for them. Coming forwards half a century I've spent much of this year writing tutorials on the lesser-known tales, and can report that there are some undiscovered gems amongst them and hardly a dud in sight. There are still a couple to be finished off, but one hundred and three, with story synopses, study resources, critical commentaries, illustrations, and suggestions for further reading are now available here.

13 October 2013

The Art of the Short Story

I've spent the summer months studying the art of the short story - and used some classic examples to develop tutorials and study guides for students of English Literature. The first group are from the late nineteenth century by Henry James. Then I selected a second group from the turn of the twentieth century by Joseph Conrad (which include some fine examples of the novella). Finally, a selection of experimental short fictions from the height of the modernist period by Virginia Woolf. The latest of these are The New Dress and Moments of Being, and there'll be more to come at Woolf - Stories.