The One and the Many

The One and the Many: English-Canadian Short Story Cycles

GERALD LYNCH
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442681941
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  • Book Info
    The One and the Many
    Book Description:

    Lynch maintains that a version of the ?Great Canadian Novel? may already have been written ? as a great Canadian short story cycle, the literary form that occupies the middle ground between short stories and novels

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8194-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: The Canadian Short Story and Story Cycle
    (pp. 3-32)

    The short story is the youngest of the canonic genres, beginning only about the middle of the nineteenth century. Regardless, its literary historians and theorists will often open their discussions by casting back to the Story of Job, even unto pre-literate oral histories, in the hope that the narratives of various cultures can be made to appear as proto short stories which were subsequently mnemonically assisted by the ‘incidentals’ of versification. Just so, academics will dress their new subjects in the respectable robes of a literary history. Contrarily, Canadian critics and scholars, having long recognized the high achievements of Canadian...

  6. 1 ‘In the Meantime’: Duncan Campbell Scott’s In the Village of Viger
    (pp. 33-59)

    Duncan Campbell Scott’sIn the Village of Viger, published in 1896,¹ is the first instance in Canadian fiction of the subject of the present study, the short story cycle, and the first story cycle of place. Raymond Knister concluded his cautiously stock-taking introduction toCanadian Short Stories(1928), the first such anthology, praising the signal achievement ofViger:‘a perfect flowering of art is embodied in one volume,In the Village of Viger,by Duncan Campbell Scott. It is a work which has had an unobtrusive influence; but it stands out after thirty years as the most satisfyigly individual contribution...

  7. 2 Fabian Feminism: J.G. Sime’s Sister Woman
    (pp. 60-98)

    J.G. Sime’sSister Woman(1919) has been called one of the most ‘stylistically accomplished works’ of early-twentieth-century Canadian literature (New, ‘Back,’ 257), and ‘a technically and thematically sophisticated landmark in women’s writing in Canada’ (Campbell, ‘Gently,’ 40). More recently, Misao Dean includedSister Womanin her wide-ranging study of the cultural interplay between the gendered self and its social construction in Canadian fiction,Practising Femininity(1998). W.H. New included ‘Art’ fromSister Womanin his anthologyCanadian Short Fiction(1997), and Sandra Campbell and Lorraine McMullen reprinted the story ‘Munitions’ in their anthology‘New Women’(1991). Under the auspices of...

  8. 3 Fabulous Selves: Two Modern Short Story Cycles
    (pp. 99-130)

    To turn from J.G. Sime’sSister Womanin 1919 to Frederick Philip Grove’sOver Prairie Trails,published only three years afterwards, is first of all to return via the short story cycle to a rural-wilderness space much less populated even than the semi-rural community of Scott’sIn the Village of Vigerpublished some quarter-century beforeTrails. The obvious reason for this return is the change in setting from the much longer settled Montreal fictionalized inSister Womanto the Manitoba of the early decades of the twentieth century. Ironically, though, with Grove the short story cycle moves ‘forward’ most fully...

  9. 4 ‘To keep what was good and pass it on’: George Elliott’s The Kissing Man
    (pp. 131-158)

    George Elliott’sThe Kissing Manhas remained, since Dennis Duffy’s observation in one of only two critical articles devoted solely to the book (published inCanadian Literatureover a quarter-century ago), an ‘underground classic’ (52).¹ Elliott’s virtual silence for more than three decades afterThe Kissing Man’sappearance in 1962 may partly explain the scarcity of published criticism,² as may the book’s unconventional form, the short story cycle. But Elliott began publishing books of fiction again in the mid-1990s towards the end of his life, and story cycles had long since become more fashionable, yet little is said now of...

  10. 5 No Honey, I’m Home: Alice Munro’s Who Do You Think You Are?
    (pp. 159-181)

    Helen Hoy’s account of Alice Munro’s revisions to what would becomeWho Do You Think You Are?instantly achieved something of legendary status in Canadian publishing lore. The revision’s chief features, earlier recounted by Munro to J.R. (Tim) Struthers, are the eleventh-hour radical transformation from a book of stories variously divided between the characters Rose and Janet to a book about Rose only; the rapid translation of Janet stories into Rose stories; and, not least to a professional writer, the monetary expense to Munro of making extensive changes to a book in galley proofs (‘Material,’ 29–32).¹ As Walter Martin...

  11. L’Envoi: Continuity/Inclusion/Conclusion
    (pp. 182-192)

    I have long been impressed by Stephen Leacock’s title for the index ofMy Remarkable Uncle, ‘Index: There Is No Index,’ and had toyed with the notion of borrowing it for this conclusion – Conclusion: There Is No Conclusion. But I wouldn’t pretend to the requisite bravado of the man James Doyle’s biography dubs ‘the Sage of Orillia.’ The fashionable slash marks the limit of my nerve in a title, and of course it’s long past passé. Besides which, this is the kind of surveying study that requires a more considered conclusion. Or perhaps it’s bravado enough to end this...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 193-218)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 219-232)
  14. Index
    (pp. 233-239)