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The Short Story: The Genre and Its Contexts

Class at Faculty of Arts |



This course will look at one of modern literature’s most recent genres, and one of the most ancient forms of storytelling. We will explore different authorial approaches to narrative and the ‘confines’ of the form, paying particular attention to language, cultural contexts and themes. Due to its length the short story is ideal material for examining the various components of narrative theory and modes of decoding or interpreting texts. Students will be encouraged to focus upon the basics: character, plot, point of view, as well as interpreting texts using various theoretical frameworks: feminist, post-colonial, psychoanalytic etc. The course will be based on weekly close reading of selected texts, reading assignments and student responses to the material. Selected authors will include Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest

Hemmingway, Flannery O’Connor, Angela Carter, John Fowles, Philip Roth, Hanif Kureishi. A list of stories will be finalised at the beginning of the course.


Class presentation, attendance and essay

MA students

Final essays for Credit (Záp.) should be 3000 words

Final essays for Grade (PP) should be 4500-5000 words

BA students (from 2nd year)

Final essays for Credit (Záp.) should be 2000 words.

Grading Scheme

Attendance and Participation 40%

Final Essay 60%


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Barroll, J. Leeds, Austin M. Wright. The Art of the Short Story: An Introductory Anthology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1969.

Bates, H. E. The Modern Short Story: A Critical Survey. London: Nelson and sons, 1945.

Beachcroft, T. O. The English Short Story I. London: Longmans, Green, 1967.

Beachcroft, T. O. The English Short Story II. London: Longmans, Green, 1967.

Brooks, Peter. Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative. Cambridge (Mass.); London: Harvard

University Press, 1998.

Buford, Bill ed. More Dirt: The New American Fiction. Cambridge: Granta Publications, 1986.

Cassill, R. V. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction [3rd ed.]. New York: Norton, 1978.

Hassan, Ihab. The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Towards a Postmodern Literature. New York: Oxford University

Press, 1971.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. London: Routledge, 1988.

Kettle, Arnold, Jack Lindsay, Alick West et al. Essays on Socialist Realism and the British Cultural Tradition

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Levenson, Michael ed. The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction. London: Routledge, 1987.

Scholes, Robert and Robert Kellogg. The Nature of Narrative. London; Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Smith, Anthony D. Nationalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism.

London; New York: Routledge, 2003.

Ward, Alfred C. Aspects of the Modern Short Story: English and American. London: University of London Press, 1924.

White, Hayden. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation Baltimore; London:

Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Wolff, Tobias ed. The Picador Book of Contemporary American Stories. London: Picador, 1993.