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Minimalism in Contemporary Short Fiction

The purpose of this research is to examine the literary style of minimalism in contemporary short fiction. The plan of the research will be to set forth the origins and characteristics of minimalistic literature as a response to previous modes of literary style, and then to discuss the principal practitioners of narrative minimalism. In particular, reference will be made to the style, themes, plot development, and symbology contained in various short works of Ann Beattie, who is viewed as perhaps the foremost minimalist author. As appropriate, comparisons of Beattie's work will be made to the work of other minimalistic writers, with a view toward offering an assessment of the position and strength of the movement.

The literary style known as minimalism attained currency from 1970 onward, and has been both lauded and attacked as a response to the postmodernism that emerged in the years following World War II. Murphy describes it as the response to postmodernism, inasmuch as it follows, in linear time, a literary movement that had been widely regarded as modernist in its own response to nineteenthcentury lateRomantic or Victorian narrative conventions (Murphy 12). The composition of the minimalist response is a matter that has engaged a number of critics. As Martin Esslin remarks in his discussion of the roots of the once controversial theatre of the absurd, "Avantgarde movements are hardly ever entirely novel and unprecedented. The Theatre of the Absurd is a return to old, even archaic, traditions. its novelty lies in its somewhat unusual combination of such antecedents, and . . . what may strike the unprepared spectator as iconoclastic and incomprehensible innovation is in fact merely an expansion, revaluation, and development of procedures that are familiar and completely acceptable in only slightly different contexts" (Esslin 228). Something of the same dynamic is at work with regard to the emergence of narrative mini...

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Minimalism in Contemporary Short Fiction. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:20, August 06, 2020, from