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Short Story

Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1957.

In his preface (pp. 7-8 attached), Bates writes that he has selected stories only from the years 1930-1940, representing "something like a quarter of my output in the short story form between the publication of my first volume of stories in 1928 and the outbreak of war." He describes his focus as "a world of the loved and the unloved, the bewildered, the not very articulate, the emotionally hungry who do not know why; of fundamental passions, of instinctive actions and their effects." He also articulates his technique: "situations are often casual, almost always plotless, and largely uncontrived...the stories...may possibly appear formless, with a tendency to stop short, leaving the reader in the air, or simply to fade away. A few will seem not much more than prose-pictures. In many of them the situations and the characters will remain unresolved in any absolute sense and frequently the characters will seem to walk out into separate and undefined existences, beyond the final page." Arguing that "the fundamental scale of emotional values does not, I think, change very much in twenty years," he therefore feels that the stories "belong as surely to the world of today as to the world of yesterday."

Contains: Preface; The Mill; Chateau Bougainvillaea; The Ox; Cut and Come Again; The Station; Harvest Moon; The Bridge; The Kimono; The Beauty of the Dead; The Loved One; I Am Not Myself; The Earth; Love is Not Love; A German Idyll; Mr. Penfold; Breeze Anstey.


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