Chamadas de Trabalhos “Identities on a Moving Platform: The linked Story Collection and the Lusophone Identity”
Identities on a Moving Platform: The linked Story Collection and the Lusophone Identity.
The Portuguese Diaspora has left indelible marks on the literature it has produced even though few texts, let alone short story collections, have found their way into the fashionable criticism of canonized hyphenated literatures studied in short story studies. And yet, from its first manifestations still fully written in the Portuguese language ( José Rodrigues Migéis, e.g.) to the recent success of such writers as Anthony da Sa and Katharina Vaz, the short story cycle has played a pivotal role, not fully studied per se. The short story cycle or the collection of interlinked stories, or even the novel in stories, might be the unperceived and under valued genre produced by Portuguese writers living in the U.S.A. as criticism has overwhemingly dealt with memoir and the search for the great Portuguese-American Novel.
Short-story cycles (sequences, linked collections, novels in stories) constitute one of the most influential genres in recent US literary history. Dating back to the period of the regionalists and modernists (Sherwood Anderson /William Faulkner), the literary form has especially proved productive for a new generation of writers (Louise Erdrich, Julia Alvarez, Amy Tan, Jhumpa Lahiri, etc.) problematizing ethnicity, family and identity. In The Contemporary American Short- Story Cycle: The Ethnic Resonance of Genre (2004), James Nagel argues that “The short-story cycle in modern American fiction is patently multicultural, deriving, perhaps, both from ethnic cross-fertilization within the literary community and from a shared legacy reaching back to ancient oral tradition.” The critic confirms a “resonance” between the genre’s structure and ethnic experiences. Rocio G. Davis also sees a strong connection between the the literary form and ethnic literatures (Identity in Community in Ethnic Short Story Cycles, 1997). The genre in between the novel and the short story, mimics the double sense of belonging of generations of immigrants so much so it is not altogether impossible about a narrative of community ( Sandra A. Zagarell – The Identity of a Genre: the Narrative of Community – Yale U Press, 2008) The present collection of articles aims at problematising both the genre short story collection and the luso- ethnicity contained therein, while underscoring the in-betweenness of both.
Major questions to be be asked:
° Who are the major writers and which collections can be considered important contibutions in the growth of the genre ? Conjectures on poluarity or lack thereof?
° At this point in time, is there a history to write of the genre, from José Rodrigues Miguéis till Anthony da Sa? Is this preliminary history to be written in the shadow of the novel? The great American Novel, or are yet other constraints at play?
° In what sense and to what extent is the linked story collection a contribution to specificty of Luso- American literature in America. Are themes and strucures different in the novel? What are the underlying causes for its lack of popularity and its absence in most of the great short story debates in the US?
° As to the genre: How is fomal unity or lack thereof reached? Recurring themes, places? Family? Intergenerational conflicts? Do silences and gaps e.g, between the stories metaphorically speak and cyclically contribute to the reader’s perception of ethnicity?
° As the cycle deals with time and time is an important asset as a linking device and as a referece point to the real world ( Great Depression e.g), how does time play a primordial or contingent role in shaping the main protagonists sense of belonging? Are there manifestations of intertextual spill-overs in one author’s oeuvre?
Abstracts (500 words) 30 January- 2016
Articles ready by June 30th 2016.