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LIT 197 — The Contemporary American Short Story

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 23—Dec 2
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 25
Units: 2
Tuition: $485
Instructor(s): Michael Krasny
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on November 25
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 23—Dec 2
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 25
2 Units
Michael Krasny
Please Note: No class on November 25
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
This course focuses on American fiction published during the second half of the 20th century and into the present century by introducing major writers of the period and examining their central themes, stylistics, and craft. The ten weeks will include selected texts not included in courses previously taught by this instructor, including three short novels by Saul Bellow (Seize the Day), Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye), and Tommy Orange (There There). What elements culturally link American writers who emerge from diverse backgrounds, but come from the same zeitgeist? Why do certain storytellers from this period following World War II affect literate readers so strongly, and how do we judge or evaluate who belongs in the top tiers of the American pantheon of writers and why? Class sessions will include lecture and discussion. Emphasis will be on close readings and textual analysis. We will read and discuss a wide range of short stories by some of the best and most beloved writers of contemporary American fiction, including Canadian writers Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, as well as Grace Paley, Bernard Malamud, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Joyce Carol Oates, Andre Dubus, Toni Cade Bambara, Don DeLillo, Junot Díaz, ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, and George Saunders.

Professor Emeritus of English, San Francisco State; Former Host of Forum, KQED Radio

Michael Krasny is a literary critic and scholar as well as a celebrated broadcast journalist. He is the author of a number of books including Off Mike, Spiritual Envy, and Let There Be Laughter; the co-author of Sound Ideas; and the creator and presenter of the audio lecture series Masterpieces of Short Fiction.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Saul Bellow, Seize The Day (ISBN 0142437611)
(Required) Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (ISBN 0307278441)
(Required) Tommy Orange, There There (ISBN 0525436146)