Hadley, T (2013) 'Experience.' New Yorker, 88 (44). ISSN 0028-792X

Official URL: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2013/01/...


Short story about a divorced woman who goes to stay with a friend in London and decides to read her diary…

Item Type: Article

In the three stories for the 'New Yorker' (Experience, The Stain and The Abduction), published in the New Yorker and not yet collected anywhere, I am exploring the question of what ‘innocence’ might possibly mean – if anything - in our twenty-first century sophisticated literary culture. I am investigating new ways of imagining innocence, uncoupled from its old associations with female sexual chastity. In ‘The Stain’ a young woman is innocent about the bloody reality of politics, and of life outside her immediate country neighborhood. In ‘An Abduction’ a woman persists as girlish and unself-knowing into her middle age, because of a moment of deep disappointment in her youth. Laura, in ‘Experience’, wants initiations beyond the quiet life she’s had, and thinks of her innocence as a maimed thing, humiliating. (It’s interesting – is it problematic? – that I’ve made all my innocent protagonists female. Is that a leftover from a long cultural tradition?) All these stories are equivocal about innocence, recognizing the damage it can do, yet valuing its compensations. Innocence is an unfashionable idea – and not a fixed one: this feels like the right time, inside our very disabused cultural moment, to examine it again and recover it for our use. The paradox at the heart of innocence is that it must not admire itself, or even know itself, lest it change on the instant into something smug and preening. This requires some special strategies inside the writing: the writer’s language cannot be innocent in itself, but must make space inside its sophistication for innocence to be real - this is the layered effect that I have worked for in these stories.
Publisher: Condé Nast

Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2013 11:37
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2022 14:18
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/1413
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