"The Short Story and its Development" would appear to be an overambitious title, considering that the short story predates the novel by thousands of years. The author William Boyd fancifully imagines the short story as beginning "... when a band of Neanderthals hunkered around the fire at the cave mouth as the night is drawing in, and one of them says spontaneously: You'll never believe what happened to me today ...".
When our small group began in October 2015 we set ourselves a rather more limited time frame. After considering the theory that there are, in the whole of literature, only seven basic plots and also looking at a few stories from the Bible, we decided to start in the 18th Century. Back then we would have been surprised to think that by October 2018 we would still be immersed in the first part of the 20th Century.
During our three years we have read and discussed a wide range of authors: American, English, Russian, French and Irish; chosen chronologically. The last year's choices have included D.H.Lawrence, Hemingway, James Joyce, Saki, Somerset Maugham and Virginia Woolf. Our present choice is Elizabeth Bowen.
We choose on average three or four stories for each monthly session and, although members' reactions to a particular author may vary, the ensuing discussions are always greatly enjoyed. There have been surprises en route, with unexpected stories from familiar authors as well as introductions to writers previously unknown to us.
We have looked at old and modern ghost stories and ideas for the future include Jewish stories, Science Fiction, Fairy Stories (traditional and modern) and any other genre which might arouse our interest.
If you'd like to join us, please contact our convenor, whose details can be found in the Newsletter.