Dean’s Seminar – Friday, February 25, 2011
Indiana University South Bend
12:00 noon, UCET Classroom, NS245
Kelcey Parker, Assistant Professor of English
For Sale By Owner: The Writer and the House of Fiction
The author Henry James created a famous description of the “house of fiction” to serve as a metaphor for three key elements of literary creation. The “watcher” gazing outside is the author; the “window” suggests the literary form; and the “spreading field” in view is the subject matter. This talk will serve as an introduction to my new story collection, For Sale By Owner, by way of these elements: subject matter, form, and “the consciousness of the artist.”
The idea of the house of fiction resonates throughout my collection. Indeed, houses function, for the characters, as symbols of success and failure, and as places of refuge and isolation. Each story has its own architecture – with paragraphs and section breaks designed to guide the reader as through hallways and parlors. Further, the collection’s subject matter ties my work to the long tradition of “domestic fiction,” but the forms of the stories – the varied lengths and styles, the formal and fabulist conceits – yield a contemporary version of what my editor calls “twisted domestic” fiction.
I will close with a short introduction to my current project, which continues my exploration of houses and the intersections between literature and architecture: Liliane’s Balcony is a novella set at Fallingwater, the famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann.