The Art of Brevity gathers fresh ideas about the theory and writing of short fiction from around the globe to produce an international, inclusive exploration of the steadily growing field of short story studies. While Anglo-American scholars have served as the primary developers of contemporary short story theory since the field's inception in the 1960s, this volume adds the contributions of scholars living in other parts of the world. Such Anglo-American pioneers as Mary Rohrberger, Charles E. May, Susan Lohafer, and John Gerlach join with short fiction scholars at universities in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada to build academic bridges and expand the field, geographically as well as conceptually.
Contributors weave together themes of time, space, compression, mystery, reader response, and narrative closure. They discuss writers as varied as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Sarah Orne Jewett, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, Mavis Gallant, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Robert Olen Butler. Among the less familiar topics they investigate are the Australian tall tale, the nineteenth-century queer story, and contemporary Danish short shorts.