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The Short Story

ENGL 103.601
instructor(s):
M 4:30-7:30

This spring English 103 will focus on 19th and 20th century American short story cycles and collections. We will primarily examine the architecture of collections built by writers, not by publishers or prize committees. The course will open with examples of contemporary stories and story theory, contemplating the experimental, boundary-crossing role Mary Louise Pratt assigns as characteristic of the story form. We will be mindful of the story's origins in the oral tradition, which Walter Benjamin traces in "The Storyteller." And we will observe manifestations of Raymond Carver's adopted definition of the story as "'something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing'". Texts are likely to be chosen from among Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales, Melville's Piazza Tales, Mary Wilkins Freeman's A New England Nun, Stephen Crane's urban sketches, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Jean Toomer's Harlem Renaissance classic Cane, Hemingway's first book In Our Time, Flannery O'Connor's Good Country People, Raymond Carver's Cathedral, John Edgar Wideman's All Stories Are True, Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller. Course expectations include lively class participation, the screening of film versions of stories from our reading list, the keeping of a reader's/writer's journal, informal oral presentations, a short research paper on a selected author, options for creative writing, and a final exam.