Saturday, August 09, 2014

Companion to Literature on Stephen Vincent Benét

In the Companion to Literature: Facts on File Companion to the American Short Story (edited by Abby H. P. Werlock Infobase Publishing, 2009), the entry on Stephen Vincent Benét says the following:
His work is characterized by his interest in FANTASY and American themes, including stories of American history, stories celebrating the country's ethnic and cultural diversity, and contemporary narratives. The patriotic and romantic themes of Benét's work (see ROMANTICISM) became less fashionable after his death and led some critics to label him an old-fashioned, quaint, and chauvinistic writer who wrote "formula stories" designed to appeal to mainstream readers. However, his use of fantasy and of American historical and folk events and his idealized, lyrical style created a subgenre of writing known as "the Benét short story" that continues to attract readers in the early 21st century. (pages 80b-81a)
We see that his "patriotic . . . themes" get him labeled a "chauvinistic writer," but the anonymous author of this entry does not seem to agree.



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