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[UPDATE] A special issue of The Journal of the Short Story in English on Edith Wharton to be published in 2012
full name / name of organization:
The Journal of the Short Story in English
In The Writing of Fiction, Edith Wharton says that the difficult task of the short story is “to suggest illimitable air within a narrow space.” This is not a strictly formal imperative: in the more than 85 short stories she published in her lifetime, Wharton returned again and again to the themes of suffocation, entrapment, and entombment. Her chronicles of life in New York, Paris and Italy, her war stories and her ghost stories are not simply illustrations of a state of society (although they are that too), nor are they merely portraits of individuals in moments of strife. They tend, instead, to examine the destinies of men and women exerting themselves within imperfect institutions, paying the price for cruelty, folly, obsession, and for the absence of courage and honour. Wharton analyses conventions, shows how they damage individual lives, but usually leaves her characters caught in their private predicaments. Within the limited space of the story, in other words, she suggests “illimitable air” and the possibility of a world elsewhere, but usually dashes any hope of escape.
Articles in the special issue of JSSE (but these are only suggestions and other ideas are welcome) might discuss:
• the marriage question (marriage, husbands, wives, divorce, open marriage, children);
Articles might also focus on a particular story or on two or more stories; on Wharton’s narrative strategies; on the publication history of a story or a group of stories (e.g. “The Bunner Sisters”, which was repeatedly rejected and finally published in 1916) or, more generally, on the reception of the stories. Finally, they might consider the place of the short story within the Wharton canon.
Proposals (of 200 to 300 words) should arrive by 10 February 10, 2011. Completed articles (not exceeding 6,000 words) must follow the MLA manual of style and include an abstract (not exceeding 250 words). Submissions will be peer-reviewed and are due by June 30, 2011.
Please send all queries and proposals to the guest editor, Virginia Ricard, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3 (firstname.lastname@example.org).