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The Irish Short Story and The Bell Magazine (1940-1954): Forging a Tradition

Through a study of the short fiction and meta-literary statements published in literary magazine The Bell (1940-1954), this project aims to map the impact of The Bell on the promotion, canon formation and definition of the Irish short story in mid-twentieth-century Ireland so as to assess its role in the short story’s rise to fame as the quintessential national genre in Ireland. Detailed literary analysis, grounded in methodologies of narrative theory and close reading, paying special attention to the relative importance of modernist vs. realist techniques and traditions; of Irish and non-Irish settings and concerns; and of rural and urban stories, will be juxtaposed with The Bell’s meta-literary ideology (which will emerge from thorough analysis of editorials, reviews and essays), in order to determine the short stories’ embeddedness within the wider ideological framework of the periodical as a whole. To better gauge the novelty and specificity of The Bell’s role in consolidating the short story’s status as national genre, the magazine will be compared to other periodicals publishing short fiction, such as The Irish Statesman (1923-1930), The New Statesman (1913-1939), Horizon (1940-1949), and Irish Writing (1946-1957), before investigating the afterlife and legacy of The Bell by tracing the presence of the magazine’s short fiction authors’ and its ideas about the short story in later anthologies and critical studies. This will ultimately provide a more comprehensive view on the literary importance of The Bell as well as offer a better understanding of the development of the Irish short story in mid-twentieth century Ireland.

Date:1 Oct 2018 →  1 Oct 2022
Keywords:The Bell, Irish short story
Disciplines:Language studies, Literary studies, Theory and methodology of language studies, Theory and methodology of linguistics, Theory and methodology of literary studies, Other languages and literary studies
Project type:PhD project