E 348 • Twentieth-Century Short Story
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
The short story is a fairly recent phenomenon: a genre little more than 150 years old. Beginning with Hawthorne and Poe, American writers have been among the greatest writers in the genre, so the focus of this course will be on close, careful reading of American short stories selected for their excellence. We will read them in roughly chronological order to see if we can derive a sense of development, and we will read stories by both well-known and less well-known writers. We will, in addition, consider fiction's allusive qualities (rhetorical, mimetic, mythical, historical, allegorical, intertextual, tonal, etc.) in order to attain a sense of the genre's rich possibilities, and we will read commentary by writers of their own work and that of others.
The class will consist primarily of discussion rather than lectures. Students are expected to be in class, on time, fully prepared, participate actively in discussion, and present a brief oral introduction to one of the stories. More than three unexcused absences will result in a failure for the course; two latenesses count as an absence.
Two in-class essays 20% each
Final exam 40%
Class participation 20%
Class participation includes quality and quantity of class participation and presentation (including good attendance, being on time, being prepared, actively participating in discussion, and oral introduction). Students who sit silently through the course should expect to do poorly in terms both of what they learn and their grade.
Ann Charters, ed., The Story and Its Writer, 5th ed. St. Martin's Press, 1999