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The Short Story

ENGL 403.910
instructor(s):
MW 6-9:10

The history of the American short story is one of tradition spawning experiment, and experiment becoming tradition, only to be upset by other experiments. These experiments often and unsurprisingly appear as challenges to traditional modes of representing experience. We will begin with Poe's exploration of extreme mental and spiritual states, Hawthorne's investigation of rational evil and Henry James' examinations of the obsessed mind. 20th-century readings will focus on experiments with narrative voice in the work of John Barth, Grace Paley, Cynthia Ozick, John Edgar Wideman, and a volume of the experimental stories known as flash fiction.