There have always been stories that are short, but “the short story” has been a recognized category of literature for only about 200 years. Short stories emerged and flourished in magazines and newspapers of the early 1800s. In this course you’ll learn about the first century of short stories as they developed across the world. You’ll develop skills for analyzing their techniques of plotting, characterization and style. In addition, the course will guide you through your own research into short stories from times and places that interest you.
This course has a global scope. You’ll read stories from the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Russia that continue to be influential in the English-speaking world alongside stories from countries including Brazil, China, India, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Nigeria. All stories will be provided in English translation and students with relevant language skills are encouraged to read stories in the original language. The course also features numerous African American writers, who haven’t been part of the standard history of the genre. The shortness of short stories means you can broaden your horizons very quickly, before diving more deeply into the stories that interest you most. Throughout the second half of the semester, you’ll work on a final project to create a digital publication of an out-of-print short story of your choice.