The American Short Story
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Department: Humanities
Course Number: NLIT 3364
Course Format: Seminar
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
  • Literature
  • Writing Fundamentals
  • Fiction
It has long been observed that the short story, in its brevity and 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 K. 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: Degree Students