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The Health of the Short Story: Part 1
  • ISSN: 2043-0701
  • E-ISSN: 2043-071X

Abstract

The ability for short fiction to address the issue of expansion might strike as a paradox. Yet at the turn of the nineteenth century, many fictional tales depicting augmented men or women were published in the form of short stories, dealing each in their own way with various scientific interventions altering, for better or worse, the health condition of their protagonists. Authors such as Edith Nesbit, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Clotilde Graves – to name but a few – experimented with the limits of human and textual bodies alike. This intersection will be examined in three of these writers’ narratives: ‘The Five Senses’ (1909) by Nesbit, ‘Good Lady Ducayne’ (1896) by Braddon and ‘Lady Clanbevan’s Baby’ (1915) by Graves. As this article argues, brevity creates a favourable environment for a poetic of expansion to emerge in these texts, thus allowing for the development of imaginative and meaningful representations of bodily and intellectual improvement. To support this claim, I will posit that suggestion and selection, two by-products of the economy of signs which characterizes short literary forms, provided creative ways for the authors to shape and deliver augmented texts.

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/content/journals/10.1386/fict_00048_1
2022-04-01
2024-07-15
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