The Stories of Raymond Carver: A Critical Study

Overview


Raymond Carver, known in some circles as the “godfather of minimalism,” has been credited by many as the rejuvenator of the once-dying American short story. (See the link on this page to a 2008 Kenyon Review story that discusses the recent controversy over the editing of Carver’s stories.) Drawing on representative tales from each of Carver’s major volumes of fiction, Nesset’s critical exploration leads us deep into the heart of Carver country, an eerie post-industrial world of low-rent survivors. In the ...
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Overview


Raymond Carver, known in some circles as the “godfather of minimalism,” has been credited by many as the rejuvenator of the once-dying American short story. (See the link on this page to a 2008 Kenyon Review story that discusses the recent controversy over the editing of Carver’s stories.) Drawing on representative tales from each of Carver’s major volumes of fiction, Nesset’s critical exploration leads us deep into the heart of Carver country, an eerie post-industrial world of low-rent survivors. In the earliest fiction, the politics of sex are tied to politics of fortune and chance; marriage as an institution is capricious and unsettling. In later stories, the gesture of telling stories provides an escape for certain of these characters, metaphorically and otherwise; and in Carver’s last stories, subtle strategies of language offer a similar, if more tentative release. From beginning to end, Carver’s distinctive, highly imitative style is intrinsic to his subject and is crucial in presenting what Carver called the “dark side of Reagan’s America.”

In this comprehensive study of Carver, Nesset discusses the relationship of minimalism and postmodern trends and the rise of new realism. By locating Carver in the gallery of American letters, Nesset shows him to be at once more simple and more complex than we might have believed, skillfully laying the groundwork for Carver studies to come.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821411001
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Pages: 131
  • Sales rank: 820,751
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
I "This Word Love": Sexual Politics and Silence in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? 9
II Less is More: The Power of Style in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love 29
III Insularity and Self-Enlargement in Cathedral 51
IV "Things Clearly Within My Power": Communication and Control in the Last Stories 73
Notes 105
Bibliography 115
Index 127
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