19th September 2015, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee
‘Our modern attraction to the short story is not an accident of form; it is the sign of a real sense of fleetingness and fragility; it means that existence is only an impression, and, perhaps, only an illusion. We have no instinct of anything ultimate and enduring beyond the episode.’ G. K. Chesterton, Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens (1911).
‘The traditional concern of the short story has been the portrayal of the experience of misfits, marginal figures of some kind […] The short story is a form of exclusion and implication; its technical workings mirror its ideological bias, its tendency toward the expression of that which is marginal or ex-centric to society.’ Clare Hanson, The Gender of Modernism (1990).
In both content and critical reception, the short story has always possessed an uncertain status. Growing rapidly in popularity towards the end of the nineteenth century, the short story form became representative of the experimental spirit of the age, allowing authors to create fragmented, ambiguous narratives, and explore themes and characters outside of the dominant cultural perspective. This conference invites proposals from postgraduate students and early career researchers for papers relating to (but not limited to) the following topics:
Identity and authenticity
Liminality, ambivalence, thresholds
Short stories and gender
Short stories and epiphany
Short stories and print culture
The postcolonial short story
We particularly welcome papers on the work of Katherine Mansfield, as the conference will include special Mansfield sessions. Suggestions for readings are also encouraged. Please send abstracts of 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by 17th August 2015.