Cutting to the chase : microfictions, empathy and the new sincerity

Author: Drąg, Wojciech
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2018, vol. 44, iss. 1, pp. [103]-118
Extent
[103]-118
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
It has become a critical consensus that microfictions (or flash fictions) are particularly suited to the age of social media. In his attempt to theorise the genre, William Nelles (2012) allows for a wide range of narrative and thematic possibilities but maintains that, because of their radical brevity, flash fictions need to renounce characterisation, reader empathy and identification. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that the generic limitations specified by Nelles can be transcended. By examining a selection of microfictions by David Foster Wallace and Dave Eggers, the article argues that flash fictions can evoke projective empathy and become a successful vehicle for a "two-way conversation" between the author and the reader – in line with Adam Kelly's notion of the postironic new sincerity. Textual analysis of the stories is supplemented by the results of a reader-response survey conducted among the students and staff of the University of Wrocław.
Document
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