Literary form, hierarchies and the meeting of two plots in Patrick Gale’s ‘A Slight Chill’ | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2043-0701
  • E-ISSN: 2043-071X

Abstract

This article incorporates Gerald Prince’s and Caroline Levine’s work on form to reveal some of the innovations in Patrick Gale’s ‘A Slight Chill’ ([1996] 2018). This short story juxtaposes two antagonistic plots: the vampire Lotta Wexel’s gastronomic activities and her teacher Angel Voysey’s romance. By attending to, and drawing connections between, smaller forms (e.g. allusions and metaphors) and larger ones (plots and genre), I argue that we may better understand Gale’s project. Lotta’s plot effectively exposes and frustrates Angel’s. In foregrounding such interactions, he encourages the reader to reassess both the affordances and the inadequacies of the models and expectations that Angel inherits. This article goes on to analyse Gale’s screenplay for his upcoming film adaptation to show how he gives a new application to his earlier project. If the short story is particularly invested in the decisions before Angel, then the screenplay explores, even more so than its source material, how and why we categorize characters into hierarchical forms. This article contributes to knowledge, then, by examining Gale’s writing programme, which has received inadequate scholarly attention; by illuminating some of its complexities; and by demonstrating the value of thinking about the short story in terms of form.

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2020-04-01
2024-04-19
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