Books: A Profligacy off Inference

THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ELIZABETH BOWEN Knopf; 784 pages; $17.95

Tales have no doubt existed ever since the first cave woman asked her mate what happened during his day in the ooze. The modern short story is a very late mutation of his long-ago answer. Innovators such as Chekhov, Turgenev and Joyce, among others, turned the brief narrative away from its traditional purpose, i.e., telling what happened next, quickly. By the early decades of this century, serious story writers had pretty much replaced sequence with pattern, events with perceptions. The virtual disappearance of plot...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!