Fall 2014 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6308 Section 501
M Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Rethinking the Short Story

Description of Course:

It would seem that a genre as easily approached as the short story should not require advanced study. In fact, however, this relatively new literary genre, dating from the 19th century, has elicited both theoretical studies and debate over its very nature and purpose. For example, the recent popularity of the very short story—aka “flash fiction” or microfiction—raises questions about the boundaries and essential elements of the genre. Can a story of 250 words really be considered in the same category as one of 12,000 words?

This course will act as a kind of discussion lab for the instructor’s textbook-in-progress. We shall strive to rethink and redefine the story’s basic elements; consider changing definitions of it purpose; and review the story’s historical development from Poe and Tolstoy, through Chekhov, Joyce, Hemingway, and Updike, to minimalists like Carver and Beattie.

Required Texts:

Fiction 100, 14th ed. (including "Reader's Guide to the Short Story")*
Charles May, ed., The New Short Story Theories (Ohio Univ. Press)
packet of readings (available only at Off-Campus Books)

*The new edition of Fiction 100 is unconscionably expensive, but rental and used copies will be available at Off-Campus Books.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students will give an oral report on a particular short story theory, illustrated by single story. They will also write a 15 pp. research paper also on a short story theory.

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