The Short Story Reading Group has been meeting on a monthly basis at Dennis Round Court since 2014. The advent of lockdown, however, prompted an immediate resort to virtual meeting via Zoom so that we didn't lose touch with each other or our subject, the short story. In these circumstances it seemed appropriate to increase our frequency of meeting to once per fortnight. This continued through March, April, May, June and July. We are now taking a short break and will reconvene, as the SHORT STORY STUDY GROUP, on Friday 25th September at 10.00 am.
Over the years we have read in excess of one hundred stories from a variety of authors, living or dead, famous or less well-known, from a range of countries and in a wide range of styles.
Immersing ourselves in the short story in this way has led us to a desire to focus our attention on a small number of authors and to gain a more complete understanding of their art and its context.
Consequently, in the year ahead we will be reading all of the fifteen stories that make up 'Dubliners' by James Joyce (first published in June 1914) looking at some critical responses to them, as well as considering our own reactions. Despite avoiding association with artistic groups or movements, Joyce has long been seen as a figurehead at the beginning of the modernist period in literary history. As such he has much to offer to readers and students of literature. We will identify and examine some defining features of modernism, investigate Joyce's technique and subject matter, and compare Dubliners with other stories written before and after Joyce. Along the way it is inevitable that the many-headed beast of post-modernism will present itself before our wondering gaze and offer up further stories for comparison, as well as examples of its influence on other disciplines.
This is an ambitious programme for what is essentially a self-help group of non-specialists. The complete text of Dubliners is freely available online on at least four websites. There are inexpensive printed editions and Kindle editions also available. For the time being we will meet online using the Zoom platform. Running the group in this way potentially excludes those not online or not wishing to use digital technology. We are very keen, however, to make it as easy as possible for those with email only to participate in the group.
We are keen to welcome new members with an interest in Joyce's short stories and the short story in general. If you think you may be interested in joining us, via Zoom or via email only, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
(Martin, group leader)