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The Short and the Long of It: Short Fiction from Poe to the Present

ENGL 103.601

The short story is the most flexible of genres, including within its generous boundaries tales that barely exceed a paragraph, and those that read like novels.  In this course, we’ll read mostly American and British short stories, beginning with Poe (who is certainly one of the inventors of the form).  We’ll continue to the present, reading about love and murder, marriage, war, poison, tenderness, voyages, hermits, food, starvation and cars. Our focus will be on the structure of the story, and how various frames affect the material inside.  Some of the stories will be linear and traditional:  some will be more experimental. You’ll become much more skilled at reading fiction of any length, and at responding to the varied shapes that stories assume.


The writing assignments will include very short response papers for each class and a longer final paper, developed in stages.  We will discuss various ways of finding ideas, and of revising a paper once it is drafted.


This course counts as an elective within the English major, and as an Arts and Letters course in the General Education requirement.

fulfills requirements
Elective of the Standard Major