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COURSE TITLE: North American Short Stories: Bite-sized Reading
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Rebecca Warren
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In 1842, Edgar Allan Poe famously declared the short story to be fiction that conveys a single impression and can be read in a single sitting; since then, critics and authors have debated this definition. Meanwhile, perhaps surprisingly, the genre retains its popularity with the contemporary reading public – an audience whose time-demands dictate the brevity of that “single sitting” and whose culture is an increasingly visual one. In this course, we will examine the development of American and Canadian short stories from the late nineteenth-century to the present, including short story theories, definitions, and the tendentious story cycle. What does the short story reveal to the contemporary reader about past, current, and possibly even future North American societies?

Prerequisites: ENGL 215
REQUIRED TEXTS: A course pack containing most of the stories we will read this term will be available in the King’s bookstore. Readings are listed on the syllabus and may be amended as required. Additional readings, including criticism and theory, will beannounced in class and posted on Moodle. 
In-class response essay15%
Research Essay 35%
In-class Midterm20%
Final Exam30%
  • Tues Sept 5 Introduction to the Course
  • Thurs Sept 7 A Consideration of Genre
    • Edgar Allan Poe, “On the Aim and Technique of the Short Story” (on Moodle)
  • Tues Sept 12 The American Context
    • Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Minister’s Black Veil”
    • Thurs Sept 14 Sara Orne Jewett, “A White Heron”
    • Tues Sept 19 Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
    • Thurs Sept 21 IS Conference
    • Tues Sept 26 In-class Response Essay
    • Thurs Sept 28 Flannery O’Connor, “Good Country People”
    • Tues Oct 3 Zora Neale Hurston, “Gilded Six-Bits”
    • Bonus credit: Attend the poetry reading with King’s alum Lisa Martin this evening in the Level. Details to follow.
    • Thurs Oct 5 Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”
    • Tues Oct 10 Sandra Cisneros, “Never Marry a Mexican”
    • Thurs Oct 12 Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, “The Thing Around Your Neck”
    • Tues Oct 17 Brian Evenson, “Mudder Tongue”
  • Thurs Oct 19 A Word about Microfiction
    • George Saunders, “Sticks”
    • Lydia Davis, “The Busy Road,” “Order”
    • Tues Oct 24 In-class Midterm
    • Thurs Oct 26 Thomas King, “Borders”
  • Tues Oct 31 The Canadian Context Guest lecture: Dr Philip Mingay
    • Northrup Frye, “The Bush Garden”
    • Margaret Atwood, “Death by Landscape”
    • Thurs Nov 2 Sinclair Ross, “The Painted Door”
    • Tues Nov 7 Stephen Leacock, “The Hostelry of Mr. Smith”
    • Sherwood Anderson, “Adventure”
    • Thurs Nov 9 Fall Break No Class
    • Tues Nov 14 Alice Munro, “Fits”
    • Thurs Nov 16 Mavis Gallant, “Mlle dias de Corta”
    • Tues Nov 21 “Everyone Has Come” 2017 CBC Short Story Finalist (Moodle)
    • Guest lecture by Jasmina Odor
    • Thurs Nov 23 Alistair Macleod, “The Tuning of Perfection”
    • Tues Nov 28 Lynn Coady, “Take This and Eat It”
    • Thurs Nov 30 Jeanette Armstrong, “This Is a Story”
    • Tues Dec 5 Charles G. D. Roberts, “When Twilight Falls on the Stump Lots” (course pack), “Do Seek Their Meat from God” (Moodle)
    • Thurs Dec 7 Last Day of Class—Review
  • Dec 11–18 Exam week

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