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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 12 | volume III | January, 2000



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 12January, 2000

Poetics of Narrow Space

p. 1
Katica Kulavkova

Anxiousness of defining

    The literary kind whose ellipsis/shortness raises on the level of essential generic and ontological value can not but cause a certain anxiety of defining. The short story is exactly such a literary kind in whose defining we are carried away by indescribable anxiety. At the very moment we thought we have found the model of conceptualization of the short story and we have formalized its storyness/narativité, here it is how it slips with its whole many-a-century baggage, leaving us on hold, betrayed! This fluid literary kind, this wonder of a discourse, this threefold perfection of Don Juan's Eros, Thomas scepsis and Judas's thrust-unworthiness / hypocrisy! An ecstatic carve in the chaos, a moment of revelation, a lecture forte, protean adaptable in space and time, from one medium to another, on the beach, in the metro, for falling asleep, lecture for fascinating, for memorizing, for narrating and in-sceneing…
    The question how much the short story is “a short literary prose fiction”? (Allan H. Pasco, 1994,118) is a usual question that brings about very unusual answers.
    The openness of the genre does not terrify so much as the inertia of the theoretical generalizations, cataloguing and definitions! This (“over-stable” inertia of the genre) warns that once cognized non-definitiveness of the story's form shouldn't be ignored. In response expects reactive resistance from the concrete historical and “personalized” (M. Bakhtin) contexts, which condition the epistemological inconclusiveness, not to say prospectivelessness and futility. Firstly, are those contexts in which some short stories appear as literary artifacts, and secondly, the metaliterary contexts where various theoretical-logical conceptions for the short story are placed. The short story and its conceptual projection can be either in accord or can irritate each other. Viewed in perspective of an operational historical section-plane these relations between the short stories and the theory of the short stories respect the principal of intrinsic coherence. But viewed from systematic and methodological aspect, the theory of the short story is faced with numerous antinomies and aporias.
    The beginnings of the modern age tradition of the short story are situated in the epoch of the Renaissance, when in the literary praxis a few, until today unavoidable collections of novellas, sealed the difference between the oral folk tale (conte, cuento, tale, folktale, Erzahlung, skazka) and the auctorial novella (novella, nouvelle, novela, Novelle, recit, short story, rasskaz). The most important among them are Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio – 1348, Exemplary

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