ENGL 346 A: Studies In Short Fiction

Meeting Time: 
MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
AND 010
Dr. Laurie George
E. Laurie George

Additional Details:

“Novel, a, short story padded.”

--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911

“When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock—to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures”

--Flannery O’Connor
“The Fiction Writer and His Country”

“Each writer's prejudices, tastes, background, and experience tend
to limit the kinds of characters, actions, and settings he can honestly
care about, since by nature of our mortality we care about what we
know and might possibly lose (or have already lost), dislike that which
threatens what we care about, and feel indifferent toward that which has
no visible bearing on the safety of the people and things we love.”

--John Gardner
The Art of Fiction

This class in fiction celebrates the shorter rather than the longer narrative—the reading, writing, and interpretive critique of it. Ambrose Bierce will be one of the “unpadded” writers we read with the above quotations in mind; that is, we will read stories as a means of investigating what subjects Ambrose Bierce and assorted other writers cared about and thought they might lose, just as we’ll analyze their narrative styles that often shocked reading publics—both then and now. Primary goals of the course include:

increasing your reading enjoyment of the short story by sophisticating your reading practices and your awareness of how you interpret and assess fiction
exposing you to a variety of fictional authors, genres, styles, and literary movements
enhancing your critical abilities, both orally and in writing, to analyze, interpret and evaluate responses to stories and their film adaptations
convincing you that the critical reading of fiction can help in the critical reading of life

Course Texts

Ann Charters, The Story and Its Writer, Compact 8th Edition (available now at U Bookstore)

Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (available at UW Bookstore)

Course Requirements: weekly class attendance and active, thoughtful, vocal participation in class discussions centered on critical interpretation and analysis of stories; research of secondary criticism; objective quizzes on literary elements in short stories, essay exams--final and possible midterm essay exams that you compose out of class--please note that this is not a composition course; it is a course in which you will be expected to articulate oral analyses of stories and write critical analyses of stories, too. There is no extra credit and you cannot repeat essay exams for better grades.

No auditors.

Catalog Description: 
The American and English short story, with attention to the influence of writers of other cultures. Aspects of the short story that distinguish it, in style and purpose, from longer fiction.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 24, 2016 - 11:25am