This course will examine the short stories of an international array of 20th- and 21st-century authors. Among the questions that the course will explore are: What are the essential characteristics of the short story genre, and how did the genre evolve? What choices of style, setting, characterization, narrative voice, and point of view do short story writers make, and with what effect? In what ways is the “short-short story” (or “sudden fiction,” “micro fiction,” or “flash fiction”) a special form of the genre? How do authors create book-length story collections, such as Joyce’s Dubliners and Hemingway’s In Our Time, in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts? What role can the “historical” and the “autobiographical” have in such collections?
In addition to exams and short papers, each student will do a research project related to an individual author or subgenre of the short story. Based on our study of the evolution, the mechanics, and the many varieties of the genre, each student will write two original short stories, and these will be discussed by the class. As a final project, the class will produce an anthology of short stories with a contribution from each student. Students who successfully complete this seminar will satisfy one half of their Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.
Frederick Luciani is professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and publishes in the fields of Spanish and Latin American literature. His research interests include convent literature and culture of the colonial period, the Hispanic Baroque, Latin American Romanticism, 19th-century transatlantic literary relations, travel literature, and the short story.