Thursday, April 16, 2015

Studies in Short Fiction, Summer 2015 A Term

Course Details
ENGL 346, Studies in Short Fiction - VLPA
M - Th 9:40 - 11:50
SLN 11330:
Instructor: Laurie George
Summer A -term

Who doesn't want to add The Devil's Dictionary to their summer reading list? (-:

“Novel, a short story padded.”

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

“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, but some of our readings will be novellas, short novels. Ambrose Bierce will be one of the “unpadded” writers whose fiction 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 fiction 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.