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LIT 41 — The Art of Literary Short Fiction in Ten Classic Stories

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 13—Mar 17
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 15
Units: 2
Tuition: $505
Instructor(s): William M. Chace
Limit: 30
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Live Online(About Formats)
Wednesdays
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Date(s)
Jan 13—Mar 17
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 15
2 Units
Fees
$505
Instructor(s):
William M. Chace
Limit
30
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
This course presents ten works of fiction, each a demonstration of the unique genre that is the short story. Designed as carefully as a lyric poem and focusing on economy of language, the short story denies itself the expansiveness of a novel and, in most cases, the ways in which, over extensive time, a novel will have the leisure to develop its characters. In the short story, time is foreshortened, character development is sudden, and conclusions are briskly reached. The art is that of directing our attention not to a complex and multidimensional plot, but usually to a single incident; not to many characters, but to a few. The rhythm of the short story is sharp, tight, and exclusive of diversion. Within these tight constraints, the short story emphasizes the moral and the ethical over the historical or the political. In addition, every element of such a story drives toward one element alone: how everything is ended. We will be reading, among others, Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, Joseph Conrad’s "The Secret Sharer," Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Flannery O’Connor’s The Displaced Person, Edith Wharton’s "Roman Fever," and James Baldwin’s "Sonny’s Blues."

William M. Chace, Honorary Professor of English, Emeritus, Stanford; President Emeritus, Emory University

William M. Chace taught at Stanford for twenty years before becoming president of Wesleyan University (1988–1994) and then president of Emory University (1994–2003). He is the author of a number of books on literary modernism, and received a PhD from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Saul Bellow, Seize the Day (ISBN 978-0142437612)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)