Eric Pahre

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

David Bajo


Stasis is a collection of three short stories and a long novella. These stories examine settings parallel to our own lived reality and history.

“Verdugris” follows an infestation of vermin in a 20th century setting linked to European colonialism. Power dynamics and attitudes towards cleanliness are contrasted with natural beauty, habitat loss, parasitism, and the ‘fixed’ nature of the colonial town.

“Alpentraum” describes two foreign hospice caretakers seeing to an old woman in her small home in the mountains. This short story investigates uncertainty and acceptance, as the caretakers must change their plans when the mountain is struck by a natural disaster.

“Doggerland” engages more directly with climate and ecology, depicting the resurgence of a sunken landmass in the North Sea that attracts young, troubled characters. The story depicts ties between religion and the natural world; the pastoral and the sublime; cultural practices and their emergence in new terrain.

The collection’s longest piece, In Certain State, follows a typist returning to her homeland as a foreign worker after it has undergone a political and industrial revolution that led her parents to flee when she was a girl. In her absence, the unnamed ‘state’ has renounced the written word and shifted its culture to a visual and spoken one. This novella examines the ability of people to understand, speak to, and resist authoritarian states. It is influenced by magical realism and Eastern European literature that explores authority’s control of the passage of time and the ability of individuals to comprehend the faceless.

These stories act in conversation with one another and as repeated variations upon central ideas of knowledge, uncertainty, nature, and authority.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024