E 348 • Twentieth-Century Short Story
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
The focus of this course is beauty and, consequently, the techniques used by short story writers to achieve it. Beauty, as I define it, means that the technique of a story matches what it comprehends. In this sense, one cannot separate the telling of the story from the story itself. Although we will review the various critical approaches to short fiction, the emphasis will always be upon the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the story-teller. We will read a minimum of three short stories per class. At three times during the semester, we will pause over several works by one writer--this semester, it will be Raymond Carver, Denis Johnson, and Flannery O'Connor. There will be four analytical essays (4-8 pages) and regular pop quizzes, two or three of which will be short in-class essays. Since coming to class prepared every time is the most important thing I value, the pop quizzes will be valued at 15% of your final grade. If you cannot keep up with regular and close reading, this is not the course for you. There will be a penalty for unexcused absences.
Four Essays: 75%
Fiction 100, ed. James H. Pickering
Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson
Everything that Rises Must Converge, Flannery O'Connor