Short Story

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Short story: Definition and History. A short story like any other term does not have only one definition, it has many definitions, but all of them are similar in a general idea. According to The World Book Encyclopedia (1994, Vol. 12, L-354), “the short story is a short work of fiction that usually centers around a single incident. Because of its shorter length, the characters and situations are fewer and less complicated than those of a novel.” In the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (third edition) short story is defined as “an invented story which is no more than about 10 000 words in length.” At the same time online Britannica Encyclopaedia (www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/541698/short-story, 21.02.2012; 12:04 p.m.) adds that “short story is a brief fictional prose narrative that is shorter than a novel and that usually deals with only a few characters. It is usually concerned with a single effect conveyed in only one or a few significant episodes or scenes. The form encourages economy of setting, concise narrative, and the omission of a complex plot; character is disclosed in action and dramatic encounter but is seldom fully developed. Despite its relatively limited scope, though, a short story is often judged by its ability to provide a “complete” or satisfying treatment of its characters and subject.” The short story has its early predecessors in history. As World Book Encyclopedia (1994, Vol.17, Sh-434) says, “ the short story is one of the olderst forms of literature. As early as 3000 B.C., brief fictional tales were written down in Egypt.” Many characteristics of the short story come from earlier literary forms that tried to teach a lesson. Acoording to the same information source that was mentioned before, “ the Bible contains short stories called parables, which teach moral lessons.” The World Book Encyclopedia (1994, Vol.7, F-90) writes that novels and short stories are the most popular forms of fiction .

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