Tag: short stories

‘My little stories like birds bred in cages’: The Letters and Journals of Katherine Mansfield

I’ve recently written an essay on Katherine Mansfield’s short story The Man Without A Temperament, and because the details of the story bear so close a resemblance to Mansfield’s own illness and exile to warmer climes in order to escape the damp chill of an English winter, I felt I ought to look at some…

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Politeness theory and the complicit hearer-reader in Saki’s ‘The Talking-out of Tarrington’

In this essay I use the politeness theory framework as formulated by Brown and Levinson (hereafter B&L) in their 1978 study (reissued in 1987) to explore the interaction between two fictional interlocutors in Saki’s satire of the process of ‘talking-out’ a Parliamentary bill. I describe the progress and outcome of the characters’ conversation in terms…

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Like a hell-broth boil and bubble

This post is about Muriel Spark’s short story The Twins, and the first thing I have to note is that if you search for ‘creepy twins’ in Google Images, you get a whole load of stuff that you really, really don’t want to see: ‘creepy’ in every sense of the word. But I did manage,…

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Ghost Stories Part IV (b): Muriel Spark’s ‘The Executor’

We meet another punitive ghost in Spark’s The Executor, in the form of written messages from Susan’s deceased uncle, a famous author. Susan is appointed as executor to her uncle’s literary estate, and following his death Susan sells almost his entire archive to ‘the Foundation’ – but she keeps back her uncle’s final unfinished novel…

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