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The Enigmas of Confinement: A History and Poetics of Flash Fiction

Paul McDonald




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This is a book about short stories that are shorter than the average short story. Often called flash fictions, such stories have become increasingly popular over recent decades, with a host of publications seeking flash fiction submissions, countless competitions catering for the form, and a plethora of anthologies and single author collections of flashes available. We have witnessed the appearance of university courses specialising in short forms, presses catering solely for flash collections, and societies devoted to its study and promotion.

It is clear that something significant is going on, and this book explores the history and poetics of this fascinating miniature form, considering where its foundations lie, and its distinctive characteristics. It describes its origins in ancient narrative types, considers its development, modern popularity, and its status as what some see as a new and distinctive hybrid genre. With its informed, accessible approach to the topic, this book will appeal equally to scholars, writers, and general readers.


About the author:

Paul McDonald works at the University of Wolverhampton where he is Senior Lecturer in English and Course Leader for Creative Writing. He is the author of fourteen books, including three poetry collections and three comic novels. His scholarly work includes books on Philip Roth, the fiction of the industrial Midlands, American humour, and the philosophy of humour.


124  pages

ISBN: 978-1-910996-18-8

Greenwich Exchange Category: Literature

Series: None



Other books by Paul McDonald published by Greenwich Exchange:

Storytelling: Narratology for Critics and Creative Writers

Allen Ginsberg: Cosmopolitan Comic

Philip Roth

Lydia Davis: A Study