The American Short Story
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NLIT 3364
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
It has long been observed that the short story, in its brevity and its sense of implied significance, is more like a poem than a novel. Readers who feel overwhelmed by the all-embracing quality of a long novel find the enigmas posed by short stories a more satisfying literary experience. How is a short story not just shorter but fundamentally different from a novel? How, therefore, do we read it differently? Reading 20th-century American short stories gives us access to some of our greatest writers, from Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, and Willa Cather to Ursula Le Guin and Tillie Olsen. It also provides an opportunity to sample the cultural and geographical diversity of the United States. Tracing the changes in style and subject matter elucidates the evolving priorities and preoccupations of American culture from 1900 to 2000.
Course Open to: Majors Only