University of Rhode Island
Mentor: Anne Righton Malone - Ph.D. Candidate in English
Conversations For The Soul: Raymond Carver, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tobias Wolff,...and Me: A Creative Look At Minimalism Through My Eyes
Literary minimalism has its roots in the early twentieth century American short story beginning with Ernest Hemingway. A resurgence of minimalism occurred in the 1980's with reality-disgruntled writers such as Raymond Carver, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Tobias Wolff. This study deals with the writing styles of five contemporary short story writers: Raymond Carver, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tobias Wolff, Grace Paley, and Sandra Cisneros. By analyzing their work, I attempted to come to a viable understanding of literary minimalism. The minimalist world of writing that I have discovered is a place comprised of both nightmares and dreams, visionaries and monsters.
I have taken a creative approach to my investigation and definition of minimalism through the use of black and white photography and my own minimalist short stories and poetry. The product of these efforts serves as visual and written documentation of my findings. In addition, these creative efforts represent those realties, those sides of our human nature from which most people seek to ignore, hide, and escape. According to minimalist writers, the only place we see the common agonies and frustrations of our human nature is within the depths of the world within. In my study of the voice behind the works of these minimalist writers, I have just begun to arrive at an understanding not only of these writers but also of myself in relation to my own unique, reality-ridden, writer's world.