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LIT 197 — The Contemporary American Short Story

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Apr 6—Jun 8
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 26
Units: 2
Tuition: $435
Instructor(s): Michael Krasny
Status: Closed
Please Note: (No class on April 13)
On-campus course
7:00—9:05 pm
Apr 6—Jun 8
9 weeks
Drop By
Apr 26
2 Units
Michael Krasny
Please Note: (No class on April 13)
This course focuses on American short stories published during the second half of the 20th century by introducing the major figures of that period and examining their central themes, stylistics, and craft. What elements culturally link American writers who emerge from diverse backgrounds but come from the same zeitgeist? Why do certain storytellers from this period affect literate readers so strongly, and how do we judge or evaluate who belongs in the pantheon?

Class sessions will include lecture and discussion. Emphasis will be on close readings and textual analysis, and assigned readings will also include commentaries and relevant critical essays. We will read and discuss a wide range of short stories by some of the world’s best and most beloved writers of contemporary fiction, including Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, Tillie Olsen, Grace Paley, John Cheever, John Updike, Philip Roth, John Barth, Cynthia Ozick, James Baldwin, Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandra Cisneros, Junot Díaz, Amy Tan, George Saunders, Joyce Carol Oates, Louise Erdrich, and Alice Munro. Course texts include The Contemporary American Short Story (edited by Bich Minh Nguyen and Porter Shreve) and American Short Stories Since 1945 (edited by John G. Parks).

Michael Krasny, Professor of English, SF State; Host of Forum, KQED Radio

Michael Krasny is host of the award-winning radio program Forum. He is the author of Let There Be Laughter, Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest, and Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life. At SF State, he has taught primarily American literature since 1970. He received a Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists NorCal chapter and an award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association. Krasny received a PhD in American literature from the University of Wisconsin.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) B Minh Nguyen and Porter Shreve, The Contemporary American Short Story (ISBN 0-321-11727-1)
(Required) John G Parks, American Short Stories Since 1945 (ISBN 978-0-19-513132-1)