Reading Fiction

We’ll read about thirty remarkable stories — roughly two or three each week – by a roster of great and very good writers, chosen to represent something of the formal diversity and moral and artistic complexity of the short story as a literary form. Among our authors: Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Joyce, Gabriel Marquez, Doris Lessing, Flannery O’Connor,  Alice Munro, Lydia Davis.

I aim for lively discussion from everyone. In addition to reading our week’s stories, I expect students to have searched online for basic general information about our authors’ lives and major writings.  We’ll begin each class with a brief overview of our writer, and then work toward a close reading of the required story. Students must bring texts to class; we’ll be reading many passages together during our discussions. In most classes we’ll discuss two complex stories, so you must be truly prepared, familiar with the texts, and ready to talk about them seriously.