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William Trevor: A Study of the Short Fiction Susan M. Paulson

William Trevor: A Study of the Short Fiction

Susan M. Paulson

Published June 1st 1993
ISBN : 9780805708585
Hardcover
190 pages
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 About the Book 

Intensely poetic, understated, and ironic, William Trevors fiction contains the very hallmarks of the modern short story, following a long tradition of Irish and British literature about the often painful and grueling route people travel in the simple effort to integrate themselves into society. In his many poignant stories - among them Mulvihills Memorial, The Mark-2 Wife, The Day We Got Drunk on Cake, Lovers of Their Time, and The Ballroom of Romance - Trevor reveals his mastery of tragi-comedy, whereby human interaction at even the most parochial level lends to an understanding of the universal. In this first book-length study of Trevors stories, Suzanne Morrow Paulson provides a comprehensive overview of this Anglo-Irish writers craft, examining his masterpieces of the form, his proficiency with the comic as well as the tragic. Trevor writes a personal sort of fiction, Paulson observes, rendering the grotesque aspects of human nature under stress, yet he transcends the personal because his art encourages sympathy for even the most ridiculous figures. Refuting critics who find his work dour and pessimistic, Paulson finds that most of Trevors stories convey a genuine optimism and a love of people - a love based on a profound understanding of suffering, a sympathetic acceptance of human weakness, and shrewd insights into social hierarchies. Paulson finds Trevor at his best in stories that express his sympathy for women, sensitive men, and adolescents who suffer from destructive stereotypes of feminine and masculine behavior. Paulson assigns the fiction discussed to four thematic groups: stories that explore the psychology of coping or failing to cope with trauma- stories about fathers and mothers who cannot understand themselves or their adolescent children- stories depicting the suffering of adolescent girls, spinsters, wives, and mothers as they conform to destructive stereotypes governing proper female behavior- and stories concerned with m