America can claim the short story as its major contribution to the genres of Western literature. We shall read extensively in the writings of several masters of the form including Edgar A. Poe, Mark Twain, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, James Thurber, and Flannery O'Connor. We shall also sample fiction by Rebecca Harding Davis, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charlotte Perking Gilman, Edith Wharton, and perhaps one or two others. Lectures will introduce these writers and some critical concepts useful in negotiating their works. Students will write three papers, two short pieces and one more ambitious critical essay of ten or twelve pages. One of the shorter pieces may be a story of your own in the style of one of our authors, if you wish. There will be a midterm and a final.