Critical Essays On Short Stories

Critical Essays On Short Stories-7
As he gained attention for his short stories, Sir Victor was also becoming a literary critic of renown and influence, one whose book reviews and essays appeared for decades in a regular column in The New Statesman and later in The Nation.During World War II, when few new books were being published, he wrote a 2,000-word essay each week on a classic author, an exercise that allowed him, and his readers, to revisit great works.'' There was this cocksparrow, my father, now a commercial traveler, dressy and expansive with optimism, walking in and out of jobs with the bumptiousness of a god,'' he wrote in '' A Cab at the Door'' (1968), the first volume of his memoirs.

As he gained attention for his short stories, Sir Victor was also becoming a literary critic of renown and influence, one whose book reviews and essays appeared for decades in a regular column in The New Statesman and later in The Nation.During World War II, when few new books were being published, he wrote a 2,000-word essay each week on a classic author, an exercise that allowed him, and his readers, to revisit great works.'' There was this cocksparrow, my father, now a commercial traveler, dressy and expansive with optimism, walking in and out of jobs with the bumptiousness of a god,'' he wrote in '' A Cab at the Door'' (1968), the first volume of his memoirs.

Sir Victor's essays were marked by ease of style and clarity of thought.'' I simply wanted to write two or three sentences, even as banal as the advertisement on a sauce bottle, and see them in print with my name beneath them.'' He proved good at it, too, and The Christian Science Monitor published several freelance essays before making him the paper's Ireland correspondent, later sending him to Spain, which was as exotic to him as China.'' I spoke no Spanish,'' he wrote in '' Midnight Oil.'' '' The only thing I knew about Spain was that it had had the Inquisition and that the Armada had been defeated.'' But Spain was to figure in his imagination for the rest of his life, and his impressions of it led to a book of short stories, '' The Spanish Virgin and Other Stories'' (1930) and to his first travelogue, '' Marching Spain'' (1928), an account of his idiosyncratic walking trip from southern to northern Spain. '' Life goes on in them without flagging. Pritchett, the versatile and astoundingly prolific English writer who over a six-decade career became a master of fiction, nonfiction, biography and literary criticism, died on Thursday at Whittington Hospital here. A man of letters in the tradition of Charles Lamb, Edmund Wilson and William Hazlitt -- at 88, he published his last biography, of Chekhov -- Sir Victor was perhaps best known for his dozens of meticulously observed short stories, in which he chronicled the extraordinary underpinnings of ordinary lives. Pritchett made the commonplace fascinating, capturing subtleties of mood, language, behavior and motivation with precision and sensitivity.'' These are social stories,'' Eudora Welty wrote in The New York Times Book Review.He wrote with pointillistic understanding about the lives of lower-middle-class people -- shopkeepers, pub owners, clerks, antiques dealers, housewives -- in a clear, economical, often humorous style that never showed off and never talked down to his readers.He had an ear for dialogue and an eye for detail.'' How compassionately, but not emotionally, he deals with all the complicated domestic politics of the respectable poor, the martyred or termagant wives, the feckless or drunken husbands, and that terror that walketh by noonday, the mother-in-law,'' Robertson Davies wrote in The Washington Post.He worked at a variety of odd jobs -- as a photographer's assistant on the Boulevard des Italiens, and as a door-to-door salesman of paint, shellac and glue, among other jobs -- while yearning to write.'' I could not see that I had anything to say except that I was alive,'' he later related in '' Midnight Oil'' (1971), the second volume of his memoirs.By the time Victor was 12, the Pritchetts had moved 18 times, ricocheting between Ealing, Hammersmith, Uxbridge, Palmers Green and other London districts and suburbs.'' I did not know that almost every time we moved house,'' Sir Victor wrote, '' Father had lost his job or was swinging dangerously between an old disaster and a new enterprise.'' As a result, Victor's education was undisciplined, haphazard and often underachieving, though he showed a precocious aptitude for languages.

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