CRW 5382: Studies in Form: History of the Short

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Texts:
Lex Williford
27075
CRW 5382: Studies in Form: History of the Short Story
[email protected]
Hudspeth (HUD) 309
915-747-8806 (office)/915-433-1931 (cell). Please, no weekend or late-night calls—or mornings, when I
write.
1-4 Thursdays. I’m as available to online students as I am to on-campus students, so please don’t hesitate to
set up an appointment to chat via Skype or Elluminate or to talk on the phone if the assigned time is
inconvenient.
This course will be an intensive study of the history of the short story, including the modern and
contemporary. The course will include three short critical analysis papers (2 pages max.) and a longer critical
analysis paper (8-10 pages max). We'll also use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for the entire semester to
make comments on each other's stories, short-shorts or novel chapters.
Ann Charters’ The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, Seventh
Edition, 2007, Bedford/St. Martins.
ISBN: 0-312-44272-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-44272-9
Note: This text is quite expensive, but you can order less expensive new and used copies by going
to www.amazon.com/Story-Its-Writer-AnnxCharters/dp/0312442726/ref=sr_11_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1217361815&sr=11-1. I make it a
priority to keep text prices low. Last I checked, January 2, 2011, 202 used copies were available,
from $1.27. Please order this edition, not the short edition, which doesn’t have many of the
stories we’ll be reading.
Plagiarism:
Don’t even
think about it.
1
UTEP’s English Department Plagiarism Policy:
“Plagiarism is defined as the use of another person's ideas or words without giving proper credit.
Plagiarism occurs whenever a student quotes, paraphrases or summarizes another person's work
without providing correct citation. Plagiarism occurs whether the work quoted is a book, article,
website, reader's guide like Cliffs Notes or SparkNotes, another student's paper, or any other source.
An entire essay is considered fraudulent even if only a single sentence is plagiarized.”1
Attendance:
Attendance
Creative writing doesn’t mean creative attendance. If you must miss a week’s discussion boards or
workshop comments please let me know—with a valid, specific reason why you’re not participating.
Not showing up every week can affect your grade significantly since 20% of that grade is based upon
the quantity and quality of comments you make on discussion boards and in Adobe Acrobat
workshop documents.
Blackboard
Course Map:
For better or worse, this Blackboard Course’s structure is complex and often redundant. Use this course map
to find links fast:
http://academics.utep.edu/Portals/1559/docs/resources/Avoiding%20Plagiarism%20-%20Syllabus%20Statements.doc
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
2.
Lex Williford
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Grades:
Lex Williford
Your grades will be determined by your completion of:
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Adobe
Acrobat
Weekly
Shared
Comments
Deadlines:
Syllabus
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Three two-page critical analyses of stories in The Story and Its Writer scheduled
throughout the semester, uploaded to two places, 1.) Assignments and 2.) the designated
story discussion boards. I’d prefer that you not use outside sources for these short papers.
Focus only on your observations about a specific writing technique, following closely my
“Guide to Critical Analysis of Stories and Film Scripts” for specific instructions.
One 8-10-page critical analysis paper, due toward the end of the semester. You may use
outside sources for this paper, but I’d prefer that you not rely upon these too heavily. I’m
mostly interested in what you have to say about specific writing techniques in short stories
of your choosing. If you do cite sources, be sure to use MLA style; you can find several
links on citing sources under Home Page › Course Resources.
Quizzes on all the assigned stories in The Story and Its Writer.
Class Participation2 (20% total)
• Adobe Acrobat: at least three quality comments for each student story we
workshop.
• Discussion Boards: at least three quality comments for each SW story’s
discussion board, either comments on other students’ critical analyses or your
own original insights about technique in the stories themselves.
Three short-short stories the first week of class. (Note: I will not grade these; if you turn
them all in, you’ll receive the full 5% at 100%. Please do turn them in, or the grade will be 0
by default.)
A Final Portfolio: Two significantly revised short stories (or novel chapters) of eight to
fifteen pages, each previously workshopped during this course.
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10%
10%
10%
10%
10%
5%
45%
If you haven’t got the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, please download and install
it now from http://get.adobe.com/reader. All our workshops will be based upon Adobe Acrobat
comments by each student and further discussions on Workshop Discussion Boards. (Only the
most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, X, will work, so please upgrade or uninstall the
previous version before installing the new version.)
Shared reviews in Adobe Acrobat Reader allow students to share (or “publish”) their comments
through an online server, making it possible for them to make comments, publish them online and
read other students’ comments, constantly syncing everyone’s comments in the document you’ve
saved to your computer.
Here are the basic steps we’ll follow for workshops each week:
1. A student up for workshop will write her story in Microsoft Word or another standard
word processing program, then e-mail directly it to me no later than Monday the week we
workshop it. (If you don’t turn your story in by this deadline, we won’t workshop the story
you’re signed up for, no exceptions. In the past I’ve taken a different approach, but late
stories too often end up making me spend two to three more hours a week when I could
be writing or making comments on students’ stories.)
2. I’ll convert the file to an Adobe Acrobat document.
3. Using Adobe Acrobat Professional, I’ll enable the document for comments, listing the emails of all the students in the class so they’ll have access to the online document’s
comments repository, then upload the document to an online server for comments.
4. When you receive the e-mail I send with the workshop document, save it to your
computer and open it.
5. To see others’ comments, click on Check for New Comments.
2 I tally these two class participation grades at the end them semester by comparing the numbers of comments you make in workshop
stories and discussion boards with the class average. If you’re above the average, your grades probably will be, too. Of course, I make
the final decision on grades to assign not just through the quantity of comments you’ve made but also the quality of the comments,
their insight and helpfulness to other students, especially from one week to the next.
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
6.
Using the Comment and Markup tools in Adobe Acrobat Reader make as many
comments as you’d like—at least five—including a paragraph-long end note. (Use the
Sticky Note tool for most comments, and avoid using the Call Out tool, which tends to
cover up parts of the document so it’s difficult to read.) See my notes under Week 1 for
more information and a link to an online tutorial.
7. When you’re finished making comments, make sure your computer is connected to the
internet; then click Publish Comments to make your comments available to the rest of the
class.
Important:
o I’d rather have unfinished work than late work.
o Please don’t wait until the last minute to meet your workshop deadlines. If you’re unable
to complete your story, e-mail me what you’ve written so far. If you can’t submit a story the
week your story’s up for discussion, please let me know immediately so we can arrange to
workshop other students’ stories.
o I make special efforts every semester to keep a tally of the quantity and quality of the
comments received in Adobe Acrobat documents. Consider these comments, along with
your class discussion, to be part of your citizenship grade. If you’re a good class citizen, it’ll
reflect in your grade, sometimes making the difference of at least one letter grade when it’s
time to determine your final grade. If you write, “Cool, dude,” or “I like/don’t like this,”
you’re not helping other students. Please give concrete feedback about technique; if you
find a problem with a story, please offer a specific, helpful suggestion or two to get the
writer on track. You’d want the same for your work.
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Adobe Acrobat Comments: Weekly Schedule and Deadlines
Unless noted in the Daily Schedule below, please keep the following weekly deadlines throughout the semester. Please note your
deadlines in your personal calendar and keep them.
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
If you’re up for
workshop this
week, e-mail me
your workshop
documents no
later than
midnight
tonight.
I’ll e-mail this
week’s workshop
documents for
shared
comments.
Please comment
on other
students’
manuscripts.
Comment on
other students’
manuscripts.
Friday
Comment on
other students’
manuscripts.
Saturday
Comment on
other students’
manuscripts.
Sunday
All comments
for this week’s
workshop are
due no later
than midnight
tonight.
Daily Schedule
Note: the assignments below are shown for the days they’re due, not for the days they’re assigned.
Abbreviations: The Story and Its Writer (SW).
Week #
Date
Agenda, Assignments, Deadlines and Discussion Boards
Week 1
January
16-20
AGENDA
This week we’ll familiarize ourselves with each other, this course and its text, we’ll begin reading a few literary shortshort stories and writing three short-shorts, one due midnight each Monday beginning in Week 2. You’ll also sign up
for three short critical analysis slots and two fiction workshop slots for the weeks of your choice during the rest of the
semester.
ADOBE ACROBAT READER AND THIS SYLLABUS:
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
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Syllabus
Lex Williford
On or before Tuesday Week 1, I’ll e-mail you this syllabus in Adobe Acrobat format, enabled for comments so that
you may publish them to an internet server I’ve set up just for that purpose. After you receive this syllabus, please:
1. Save it to your desktop or a folder you’ve created for this class.
2. Download and install the latest free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader: http://get.adobe.com/reader.
3. If you wish to view a YouTube video with my instructions and suggestions for using Adobe Acrobat Reader
for workshop comments, in Blackboard go to Media Library › Using Adobe Acrobat Reader for Workshop
Comments or open this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=v675pflAAkk.
4. If you haven’t already done so, open the syllabus file I’ve sent you the first week of class.
5. Before you do anything else, click on Check Comments in the upper right-hand corner of the Acrobat Reader
window. (If others have already signed up for critical analyses or workshops, their names will fill in the slots
they’ve signed up for; please fill in only blank slots, only one name per slot.)
6. Enable the Text Box (Typewriter) tool in Acrobat Reader by clicking on Extended in the upper right hand
corner of Acrobat Reader X, then on Add or Edit Text Box. A typewriter menu should appear. Please click on
Typewriter icon to fill in critical analysis and workshop slots below. Please don’t use the Add Sticky Note
(under Comment in the upper right hand corner of Acrobat) tool for signing up. You can use that tool to post
any questions you have about the syllabus when you’re finished signing up for slots.
7. In the boxes labeled Critical Analysis Board Presentation in the schedule below, please fill in with your full
name three empty boxes listed under the SW stories you’d like to write about. Please try to spread out your
signups evenly across the semester. I’d prefer you sign up for stories you haven’t read yet. A sign-up slot
should have no more than one name each please.
8. In the third (or right) column of this schedule beginning after Week 4 below, please fill in your full name
under the numbered Workshop boxes. Sign up for two workshop slots, one before and one after mid-semester.
Most weeks have three slots per week, but during mid-semester, I’ve added four slots to make sure everyone
gets a chance to workshop two stories.
9. Be sure to click Publish Comments often so that other writers signing up for critical analysis and workshop
slots can see your sign-up days filled in before they fill in their slots.
10. All workshop slots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so sign up early the first week of class.
11. When you’ve signed up for your workshop and critical analysis slots, please go to the last pages of this syllabus
and, if you’re okay with giving out the information to other students in the class, please type in your phone
number and UTEP e-mail address. You may alslate worko post your preferred e-mail address; just remember
that it’s an alternate address and that we’ll be doing all our correspondence only through your miners.utep.edu
address. For this reason, if you haven’t already done so, please be sure to set up your mail program to get
messages from the UTEP mail server and check your e-mail messages often.
12. When you’re signed up for all five slots—three for critical analyses, two for workshops—and the contact
information at the end of this syllabus, please feel free to use the Add Sticky Note tool to post any questions you
have about the syllabus or the schedule so that everyone may see my responses. I’ll be answering questions the
first week, but after that you may also post questions under the FAQs throughout the semester.
13. As much as a hassle as all this may seem, just remember that once we’ve finished this task this week, we’ll all
know the schedule for the rest of the semester, giving everyone plenty of time to plan ahead for shared and
individual deadlines.
BLACKBOARD:
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Always begin each week by reviewing the Announcements (in the left menu). By Monday afternoon or Tuesday
morning each week, I’ll post these announcements, including each week’s agenda, sometimes revised slightly from
this syllabus’s agenda.
This first week of class, please spend an hour or two familiarizing yourself with the entire course, its menus and
links. Most of these are redundant, so you can get to the same link through more than one path and the Course
Map above shows. You may navigate the course most effectively from:
o The left menu.
o Home/Course Content (at the top of the left menu).
o The Calendar (in the left menu). Many of your assignments are listed here by due date.
DEADLINES
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Your first short-short story is due no later than midnight Monday next week (Week 2). Over the next three
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
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Syllabus
Lex Williford
weeks, please upload it and each of the other two short-shorts in two places: Assignments and the Short-Short
Discussion Board.
Be sure to look ahead in the syllabus schedule and plan ahead: Schedule all your due dates in your computer or web
calendar with reminders that will give you plenty of time to write your critical analyses and stories by the deadlines
you’ve signed up for over the semester.
Please note that you can also find most of your deadlines for assignments by clicking on Calendar in Blackboard’s
left menu.
ASSIGNMENTS
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Please view my YouTube presentation: “A Short History of the Short Story.” (Media Library or Home
Page/Course Content).
Review “A Short History of the Short Story: A Timeline.” (Home Page) It shows most of the authors in our
readings and their place in the history of the literary short story. (You’ll have to reduce its zoom size since it’s a
large image.)
Please read SW: Appendix 3, “A Brief History of the Short Story,“1758.
Read “From the The Lonely Voice.” (Home Page/Course Content › Reading Assignments)
If you have time, begin reading “Short-Shorts: A Mini-Anthology.” These short-shorts inspiration for the shortshorts you’ll write and post in Weeks 2-4. You can also sample a few of the short-shorts I’ve published recently, just
to get a sense of what I’m doing with the form.
DISCUSSION BOARDS3
We get much of our work done in this class through our discussion boards so please show up to the weekly
discussions throughout the semester. Please don’t get too far behind. It’s probably best to set aside at least three
regular hours minimum each week as if you’re actually going to a classroom, and make sure you show up each week.
Please note that not all discussion boards or assignments will show up in Blackboard until you scroll to the bottom
right of the webpage and click on the down arrow box labeled Pages, then All; then be sure to click on the green
arrow on the right to refresh the page—just one of the bizarre quirks of Blackboard.
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CHAT DISCUSSION BOARD
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Please introduce yourselves this week, and for the rest of the semester use this discussion board
to chat about anything you’d like, either personal or professional. Please list your name and
where you live, your main genre and your reasons for wanting to study for an MFA. Let us
know something surprising about you and your passion for writing stories.
ADOBE ACROBAT FAQS DISCUSSION BOARD
o
If you’ve not already viewed my YouTube presentation on how to use the free Adobe Reader for
posting workshop comments (under Media Library or
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=v675pflAAkk), please post any questions you have here,
3
Important Note about This Class’s Discussion Boards: The basic rule of thumb you should use when posting and
responding to other posts in discussion boards throughout the semester is this: Start a new thread for your own original
thoughts about either one story or another student’s critical analyses about a story—a quality comment of one or two
paragraphs—and respond to at least one other student’s thread. Of course, this rule of thumb means that you should read
all the threads and posts by other students, even if you don’t respond to them all. (Doing so would drive us all crazy, right?)
Just respond to the discussion boards that most interest you, and try to say something about writing technique when you do.
Blackboard keeps track of all the discussion boards you’ve read and posted to, and I use Blackboard’s statistics as a starting
point for grading both the quantity and the quality of your posts for your final Discussion Boards grade. Class participation
in these Discussion Boards is as important as showing up to an on-campus class. You miss the weekly discussion boards, in
essence you’re absent that week. The only difference is that you can show up whenever you want to during the week, and
often your responses will be more considered than those students in class might make. In that respect, I think online class
discussions may often have greater depth than on-campus class discussions simply because students have more time to think
about what they want to say and may revise their comments before posting them.
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
and I’ll try to respond to them as soon as I can. Please don’t e-mail me your FAQs, since others
may have similar questions, and I’d prefer to answer them in a public place where everyone can
discuss similar problems. Of course, the first week of class, you may also post your questions in
the syllabus itself.
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BLACKBOARD FAQS DISCUSSION BOARD
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YOUTUBE PRESENTATION: A SHORT HISTORY OF THE SHORT STORY
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If you’re having trouble with this course—finding a link to an assignment, for example—please
post your questions here.
If you’re having technical problems with Blackboard, please go to
http://issweb.utep.edu/techsupport/ or call tech support at 1-877-382-0491. We have an
excellent staff of tech people who can probably help more than I can, even though I am a bit of
tech geek.
Please post comments about this course’s introductory presentation.
Did you learn anything surprising about the short story you didn’t know? Do you resent the
implication that you’re a loser just because you write short stories? Hey, I’m a loser and proud
of it. Losing is one of the best subjects for writing stories. Now you can proudly call yourself a
loser, too, because you have true purpose in your life: to write about your losses and others’.
THE LONELY VOICE DISCUSSION BOARD
o
After reading the excerpt from Frank O’Connor’s The Lonely Voice (Home Page ›
Assignments), please post a one- to two-paragraph comment about the reading itself, then at
least one other comment on another student’s comment thread.
Week 2
January
23-27
AGENDA
This week we’ll read and discuss a few short-short stories in SW and The Short-Short Mini-Anthology (Home Page
› Assignments), plus the first set of short-short stories students have turned in. We’ll also review several literary
supplements from SW.
DEADLINES
1
M ONDAY
W EEK .
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SH ORT - SH ORT
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Students who’ve signed up for short critical analysis papers on the stories for next week and beyond, be
sure to read my “A Guide to Writing a Critical Analysis of Stories and Film Scripts” before you begin
writing. You may also refer to the Student and Other Resources (Home Page › Course Resources) for a
literary glossary and advice about how to write and follow MLA format.
DUE NO LATER THAN M IDNIG HT
TH IS
ASSIGNMENTS
SHORT-SHORTS (CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN)
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Please read “Short-Shorts: A Mini-Anthology.” (Home Page › Assignments)
Please read the following short-shorts and commentaries in SW:
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JAMAICA KINCAID, Girl, 723. (LitQuiz 1)
RICK MOODY, Boys, 905. (LitQuiz 2)
TOBIAS WOLFF, Say Yes, 1356. (LitQuiz 3)
MARGARET ATWOOD, Happy Endings, 43. (LitQuiz 4)
R ELATED C OMME NTARY :
•
• Jamaica Kincaid, On “Girl,” 1483.
Margaret Atwood, Reading Blind, 1408.
Please take the reading quizzes (Under Assessments in the left menu or Home/Course Content › Assessments:
Reading Quizzes). These reading quizzes—a total of sixty—mostly test how closely you’ve read the stories. We’ll
discuss the stories in more depth in our discussion boards. These quizzes came from Bedford/St. Martins, not from
me. Even if you miss one or two questions here or there the large number of stories we’ll be reading should
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
accumulate into an accurate measure of how closely you’ve read.
Note: All quizzes will become available throughout the semester and remain open until the last day of class,
but I’d prefer that you take no longer than two weeks to take them after the week they’re assigned in the syllabus.
We have a lot of stories to read, I know, but the quizzes and discussion boards are good ways of keeping up
with the readings.
Please review and familiarize yourself with these SW appendices:
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SW: Appendix 1: Reading Short Stories, 1737.
SW: Appendix 2: The Elements of Fiction, 1742.
SW: Appendix 4: Writing about Short Stories, 1768.
SW: Appendix 5: Literary Theory and Critical Perspectives, 1798.
SW: Appendix 6: Glossary of Literary Terms.
Also familiarize yourself with the Story and Its Writer course resources so you can refer to these for help with the
stories and other issues. (Home Page › Course Resources)
Be thinking about the stories you want to write this semester and begin writing. Try to set aside at least two or
more hours of sacred writing time a day. As Cynthia Ozick told an interviewer when asked why she wrote every
day, “What if the angel came and I wasn’t there”?
DISCUSSION BOARDS
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SHORT-SHORT DISCUSSION BOARD 1
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THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
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Please post final comments about this course’s introductory presentation.
THE LONELY VOICE DISCUSSION BOARD
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Please discuss Kincaid, Moody, Wolff and/or Atwood.
If you've signed up to a short critical analysis for one of next week's stories listed in the
Story and Its Writer Discussion Boards, please look ahead to Week 3 and read the
instructions.
YOUTUBE PRESENTATION: A SHORT HISTORY OF THE SHORT STORY DISCUSSION BOARD
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Please create a new thread under your name in the weekly Short-Short Discussion Boards and
post your short-shorts there so we can read and discuss them. Everyone, please make at least one
quality comment for each short-short, a paragraph or two, then respond to at least one other
posted comment by another student. Don’t forget to post your short-shorts under Assignments,
too, so that I can assign the 100 grade. If you don’t, you’ll receive 0 for not uploading the
assignment.
Please post final comments about Frank O’Connor’s The Lonely Voice.
SHORT-SHORT MINI -ANTHOLOGY DISCUSSION BOARD
o
Please read the “Short-Short Mini-Anthology” (Home Page › Reading Assignments) and post a
one- to two-paragraph comment on writing technique in two of your favorite short-shorts; then
make at least one other comment on another student’s comment in the discussion board
threads.
Week 3
January
30February
4
AGENDA
This week we’ll begin reading and discussing student short-short 2 as well as stories by two Russian writers:
1.
Nikolai Gogol, whose early precursors of the modern short story moved away from the subject of the Czarist
Russian aristocracy to the “little man,” in this case a man who saves for and then loses his coat, haunting the
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
2.
3.
Syllabus
Lex Williford
thief as the ending shifts to a ghost story, a turn toward the supernatural.
Anton Chekhov, a doctor and a writer who many critics argue is the true progenitor of the modern short
story. Note how every detail in Chekhov is a kind of emblem of the characters, themes and emotions of his
stories, the watermelon Gurov eats or the headless statue in the hotel rooms, the broken glass on the walls.
Every day of his life, Chekhov, the son of a serf, wrote, he tried to squeeze the slave out of himself.
We’ll also read two contemporary reinterpretations of Gogol and Chekhov’s famous stories.
DEADLINES
M ONDAY T HIS W EEK .
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S HO RT - S HO RT 2
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If you've written a short critical analysis for one of this week's stories listed in the Story and Its
Writer Discussion Boards, please
1. Post it no later than midnight Monday the week it’s due.
2. Click on the specific story you’ve written your short critical analysis about.
3. Click on Create Message.
4. Give the Subject line a clear and specific title, something like “Fred Schlinkleflapper’s
Critical Analysis of Recurring Images of Belly Buttons in ‘The Woman Who Put
Naval Lint into Her Husband’s Coffee.’”
5. Then click on Add Attachment and upload your critical analysis from your computer
for class discussion.
6. Don’t forget to click Post before you move on or close your browser.
7. Also, don’t forget to upload your critical analyses—1, 2 and 3—to Assignments. If you
don’t I won’t be able to grade the assignment.
o If you're not scheduled to write a critical analysis for one of this week's stories, please
1. Post at least one quality comment (a paragraph or two minimum) for the thread
started by the students who've uploaded critical analyses this week (and in future
discussion boards).
2. Comment on the one story that most intrigued you because of a specific theme,
character or writing technique.
3. Then reply with at least one other quality comment for two postings by other
students.
If you wish, as you're reading these and other stories, you're free to consult Home Page › Course
Resources › Student Resources to read study questions and other information about each story.
•
DUE NO LATER THAN M IDNIG HT
ASSIGNMENTS
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Modern Short-Story Precursors (International): Russian
• NIKOLAI GOGOL, The Overcoat, 482. (LitQuiz 5)
o
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Vladimir Nabokov, Gogol’s Genius in “The Overcoat,” 1509.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
R ELATED S TORY :
•
GINA BERRIAULT, The Overcoat, 111. (LitQuiz 6)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
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ANTON CHEKHOV, The Lady with the Pet Dog, 232 (LitQuiz 8).
R ELATED C OMMENTARIES :
Anton Chekhov, Technique in Writing the Short Story, 1427
Richard Ford, Why We Like Chekhov, 1447
Vladimir Nabokov, A Reading of Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Little Dog,” 1512.
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CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
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Lex Williford
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
R ELATED S TORY :
•
JOYCE CAROL OATES, The Lady with the Pet Dog, 958. (LitQuiz 9)
R ELATED C OMMENTARIES :
Joyce Carol Oates, From “Stories That Define Me: The Making of a Writer,” 1645.
Matthew C. Brennan, Plotting against Chekhov: Joyce Carol Oates and the “Lady with the Dog,” 1655.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
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ANTON CHEKHOV, The Darling, 223. (LitQuiz 7)
R ELATED C OMMENTA RIES :
Leo Tolstoy, Chekhov’s Intent in “The Darling,” 1552.
Eudora Welty, Plot and Character in Chekhov’s “The Darling,” 1567.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
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SHORT-SHORT DISCUSSION BOARD 2
o
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THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
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Please create a new thread under your name in the weekly Short-Short Discussion Boards and
post your short-shorts there so we can read and discuss them. Everyone, please make at least one
quality comment for each short-short, a paragraph or two, then respond to at least one other
posted comment by another student. Don’t forget to post your short-shorts under Assignments,
too, so that I can assign the 100 grade. If you don’t, you’ll receive 0 for not uploading the
assignment.
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion boards.
SHORT-SHORT MINI -ANTHOLOGY DISCUSSION BOARD
o
Please post final comments about the short-short mini-anthology.
Week 4
February
6-10
AGENDA
This week we’ll begin reading and discussing student Short-short 3 and shift to two writers of longer stories, one
Russian, the other French:
•
•
Leo Tolstoy, who wrote this long story toward the end of his life when he’d become famous and more
religious, a champion of the serfs. Though the story edges towards didacticism and a romantic view of the serf
Gerasim, Tolstoy seems to keep the story strongly realistic and understated, pulling us back just enough to
make the story seem something more than a simple moral parable. The point of view and tense shifts in this
story are something interesting to discuss, too.
Gustave Flaubert, a writer who’s known perhaps as the first true realist, who tried in his novel Madame
Bovary and other fiction to make the judging, intrusive narrator (and author) invisible, writing about an
ordinary woman with such power and humor that she becomes almost sainted yet remarkably human,
someone like Chekhov’s darling but perhaps more sympathetic.
Then we’ll shift our reading once again to two very short stories representative of popular stories of the 19th
century, one from France, the other from the U.S.:
Guy de Maupassant and O. Henry:
10.
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
Note the simple reversal of objects in these stories, a predictable and sentimental gimmick contemporary readers
might find a bit cheesy but something of a breakthrough for readers at the time. How does this technique, the
simple reversal of objects, reflect character reversals? Can you think of more sophisticated modern or
contemporary stories that use this same technique?
DEADLINES
W EEK .
SH ORT - SH ORT
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing this week, please upload
your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under that specific story’s discussion board no later than
midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at [email protected] no later than
midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice,
at least a few days, I can try to arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within
the next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on such short notice.
•
3
M ONDAY
•
DUE NO LATER THAN MIDNIG HT
TH IS
ASSIGNMENTS
•
LEO TOLSTOY, The Death of Ivan Ilych, 1232. (LitQuiz 10)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Peter Rudy, Tolstoy’s Revisions in “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” 1532.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
F RENCH
•
GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, A Simple Heart, 429. (LitQuiz 11)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Joan Silber, Long Times in Short Stories, or Why Can’t a Story Be More Like a Novel? 1538.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
GUY DE MAUPASSANT, The Necklace, 838. (LitQuiz 12)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Kate Chopin, How I Stumbled upon Maupassant, 1429.
Henry James, from Guy de Maupassant, 1474.
Guy de Maupassant, The Writer’s Goal, 1497.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
R ELATED S TORY :
•
WILLIAM SYDNEY PORTER (O. Henry), The Gift of the Magi, 1123. (LitQuiz 13)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
SHORT-SHORT DISCUSSION BOARD 3
o
Please create a new thread under your name in the weekly Short-Short Discussion Boards and
post your short-shorts there so we can read and discuss them. Everyone, please make at least one
11.
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
quality comment for each short-short, a paragraph or two, then respond to at least one other
posted comment by another student.
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 5
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion boards.
AGENDA
February
13-17
This week we’ll begin using Adobe Acrobat Reader to comment on the first set of
workshop stories. We’ll also focus on three of the great American writers of the 19th
century:
1.
2.
3.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, who writes about the hypocrisy of early religious settlers
who feared the vast landscape of the American continent and it native people as
demonic and who, like Hawthorne’s grandfather, a judge at the Salem witch trials,
drowned and burned so-called witches at the stake.
Herman Melville, who writes about two mysterious men, one who refuses to do
anything, the other a man who becomes obsessed with him.
Edgar Allan Poe, a respected critic of the time who argued that stories should be
written with the purpose of creating a only “single effect” whose stories are like
opium dreams showing the dark side of romanticism.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.)
under that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
MODERN SHORT-STORY PRECURSORS (N ORTH AMERICAN)
•
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, Young Goodman Brown, 526. (LitQuiz
14)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Herman Melville, Blackness in Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” 526.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
HERMAN MELVILLE, Bartleby, the Scrivener 846. (LitQuiz 15)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
J. Hillis Miller, A Deconstructive Reading of Melville’s “Bartelby, the Scrivener,” 1503.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
EDGAR ALLAN POE The Cask of Amontillado, 1092. (LitQuiz 16)
12.
Workshops Begin:
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
Edgar Allen Poe, The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale, 1661.
David S. Reynolds, Poe’s Art of Transformation in “The Cask of Amontillado,” 1678
Joan Dayan, Amorous Bondage: Poe, Ladies and Slaves, 1682.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
The Fall of the House of Usher, 1097. (LitQuiz 17)
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
D. H. Lawrence, On “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Cask of Amontillado,”
1663.
Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, A New Critical Reading of “The Fall of
the House of Usher,” 1668
J. Gerald Kennedy, On “The Fall of the House of Usher,” 1674.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
The Tell-Tale Heart, 1110. (LitQuiz 18)
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
James W. Gargano, The Question of Poe’s Narrators in “The Tell-Tale Heart and
“The Cask of Amontillado,” 1671.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 6
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’
discussion boards.
AGENDA
February
20-24
This week we’ll shift to two writers who changed everything:
1. Franz Kafka, perhaps the most important progenitor of the modern
magical-realist tradition, whose stories begin with an absurd or magical
premise, then develops that premise more or less realistically. How many
metamorphoses take place in this story? Just one? Or many?
2. James Joyce, whose story collection Dubliners only hints at the
remarkable experiments in the novels he would write later: Ulysses and
Finnegan’s Wake. These two stories represent Joyce’s notion that stories
must create a special kind of relevation, an epiphany, which embodies an
irreversible reversal in character.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.)
under that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
13.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
Workshop 4:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
MODERN (INTERNATIONAL)
•
FRANZ KAFKA, A Hunger Artist, 681. (LitQuiz 19)
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
R. Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz, “A Hunger Artist,” 1694.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
The Metamorphosis, 687. (LitQuiz 20)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Ann Charters, Translating Kafka, 1421.
Gustav Janouch, Kafka’s View of “The Metamorphosis,” 1476.
John Updike, Kafka and “The Metamorphosis,” 1561.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
JAMES JOYCE, Araby 646. (LitQuiz 21)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 7
February
27March 2
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’
discussion boards.
AGENDA
This week we’ll continue reading Joyce. “The Dead,” complex and slow as it seems
in a first reading, is perhaps my favorite story ever written; certainly the lyrical
ending of the last two paragraphs is the most beautiful ending of a story I think I’ve
ever read. Read it aloud and see. Then we’ll read stories from the mid-twentieth
Century by
1. Another Irishman, Frank O’Connor, whose stories of the Irish revolution
and whose discussions of the short story form, The Lonely Voice,
14.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
Workshop 4:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
2.
3.
Syllabus
transformed our understanding of the short story.
Katherine Mansfield, whose stories of manners show with remarkable
realism and psychological accuracy the blindness and hypocrisy of
England’s upper classes.
Tadeusz Borowski, a Polish survivor of the Nazi death camps in
Germany, who wrote harrowing and unflinchingly realistic stories of his
experiences of Nazi atrocities during WW II, then committed suicide
when the war was over.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.)
under that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
•
JAMES JOYCE, The Dead, 650. (LitQuiz 22)
I highly recommend director John Huston’s last film, a fascinating
adaptation of The Dead. Rent the DVD when you have time.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
KATHERINE MANSFIELD, Bliss, 811. (LitQuiz 23)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Willa Cather, The Stories of Katherine Mansfield, 1417.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
FRANK O’CONNOR, Guests of the Nation, 1042. (LitQuiz 24)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Frank O’Connor, The Nearest Thing to Lyric Poetry Is the Short Story, 1521.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
TADEUSZ BOROWSKI, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen,
129. (LitQuiz 25)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
15.
Lex Williford
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 8
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’
discussion boards.
AGENDA
March 5March 9
This week and next we’ll shift to writers, many of them expatriates known as the
“lost generation,” whose modernist American realism spanned the end of World
War 1, the Great Depression, and the end of World War II
1. Gertrude Stein, an American art collector whose language experiments,
influenced by artists living in Paris such as the cubist Pablo Picasso, often
divorced meaning from sound—“a rose is a rose is a rose”—as in her
revolutionary book Tender Buttons, which directly influenced the prose
style of writers as different as Hemingway and Faulkner.
2. Sherwood Anderson, a lesser known and vastly under-appreciated writer
whose ground-breaking book of linked stories, Winesberg, Ohio,
influenced an entire generation of writers because of its focus on ordinary
people who experience extraordinary changes in a small Midwestern town,
people whose embrace of certain ideas—conservative protestant values, for
example—become “grotesques”: in this story, an entire town turning
against an innocent man.
3. F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose stories explore the excesses of Roaring
Twenties, Prohibition and the aftermath of that decade: the Great
Depression.
4. Ernest Hemingway, perhaps the most well-known of the lost generation,
a journalist and Red Cross ambulance driver from the Midwest whose
experiments in spare yet rhythmic language and point of view—here, the
rare yet effective “objective” third person—transformed the modern
American short story.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.)
under that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
•
GERTRUDE STEIN, Miss Furr and Miss Skeene, 1198. (LitQuiz 27)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
SHERWOOD ANDERSON, Hands, 38. (LitQuiz 28)
R ELATED C OMMENTARIES :
Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story, 1405.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
16.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
Workshop 4:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
•
Syllabus
Lex Williford
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, Hills Like White Elephants, 540. (LitQuiz
29)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, Babylon Revisited, 412. (LitQuiz 30)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’
discussion boards.
MID-SEMESTER
Week 9
March 12March 16
Wee
k 10
Marc
h 19Marc
h 23
Spring Break (No Classes)
AGENDA
This week we’ll continue reading two more American modernists:
1. William Faulkner, a writer whose acquaintance with Sherwood Anderson
in New Orleans and fascination with such divergent sources as Shakespeare,
The King James Bible, James Joyce’s Ullyses and the psychology of Sigmund
Freud, wrote stories and novels whose experiments in form, interior
monologue and stream of consciousness transformed what would otherwise
have been considered “local color” into such mythic southern landscapes
such Yoknapawfa County and such psychological landscapes as Benji’s in
The Sound and the Fury, “a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing.”
2. Ralph Ellison, a black writer whose novel The Invisible Man—“Battle
Royal” is the first chapter—exposed the deep hypocrisy of southern white
protestant culture.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
Then we’ll turn to perhaps the most well-known southern writer of the fifties:
3. Flannery O’Connor, a Catholic writer and one of the first graduates of the
Iowa Writer’s Workshop, who wrote about the “Christ-haunted” deep
17.
Workshop 4:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
south, whose characters often speak in clichés and who must face their own
hypocrisy often through violence and spiritual grace.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under
that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
•
WILLIAM FAULKNER, A Rose for Emily, 391. (LitQuiz 31)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
William Faulkner, The Meaning of “A Rose for Emily,” 1445.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
RALPH ELLISON, Battle Royal, 371. (LitQuiz 32)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Ralph Ellison, The Influence of Folklore on “Battle Royal,” 1441
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
FLANNERY O’CONNOR, Good Country People, 1016. (LitQuiz 33)
R E LATED C ASEBOOK :
Flannery O’Connor, From Letters 1954-55, 1616.
Flannery O’Connor, Writing Short Stories, 1619.
Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., Flannery O’Connor and her Readers, 1629.
Dorothy Tuck McFarland, On “Good Country People,” 1634.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1030. (LitQuiz 34)
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
Flannery O’Connor, A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable, 1624.
V. S. Pritchett, Flannery O’Connor: Satan Comes to Georgia, 1627.
Sally Fitzgerald, Southern Sources of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1641.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
18.
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 11
March 26March 30
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
AGENDA
This week we’ll begin discussing the remarkable explosion of contemporary short stories,
unlike any other than the stories written during the lost generation, which began in the
fifties and sixties and in many respects is still with us, now at the beginning of the 21st
Century:
1.
2.
John Cheever, whose stories of contemporary suburban life—often published in
the New Yorker—transformed the contemporary story form. His story “The
Swimmer” is, for me, less a story than a miracle: It explores the life of its
suburban protagonist simultaneously in one afternoon, in one year and over
many years, yet through the forgetfulness of alcoholic denial and the exhaustion
of swimming across the county from one swimming pool to the next, yet
somehow the story remains believable, revealing the deepest mysteries of human
loss.
Raymond Carver, whose experiments in spare language and literary minimalism
echo Hemingway’s, revealing the lives of mostly working-class Americans with a
kind of grim humor and surprising revelation, such as the moment when a blind
man helps a man blinded by jealousy to see. “Cathedral” and “Errand” represent
two breakthroughs for Carver after writing stories like “What We Talk about
When We Talk about Love,” the Gordon Lish era, when the editor of Esquire
“discovered” Carver and cut his stories down to their barest essence, after the
“bad Ray” days when Carver stopped drinking and married poet Tess Gallagher.
There’s a certain generosity behind “Cathedral” and “Errand,” the last of which
Carver wrote about Chekhov’s death by tuberculosis while he himself was dying
of lung cancer.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under
that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
CONTEMPORARY (N ORTH AMERICAN REALISM)
•
JOHN CHEEVER, The Swimmer, 213. (LitQuiz 35)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
John Cheever, Why I Write Short Stories, 1425.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
19.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
Workshop 4:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
•
Syllabus
Lex Williford
RAYMOND CARVER, Cathedral, 168. (LitQuiz 36)
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
Raymond Carver, On Writing, 1577.
Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101, 1582.
Raymond Carver, The Ashtray, 1585.
Tom Jenks, The Origin of “Cathedral,” 1592.
A. O. Scott, Looking for Raymond Carver, 1595.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
RAYMOND CARVER, Errand, 178. (LitQuiz 37)
R ELATED C ASEBOOK :
Raymond Carver, On “Errand,” 1586.
Olga Knipper, Remembering Chekhov, 1588.
Henri Troyat, Chekhov’s Last Days, 1589.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
RAYMOND CARVER, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,
187. (LitQuiz 38)
Arthur M. Saltzman, A Reading of “What We Talk about When We Talk about
Love,” 1593.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 12
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
AGENDA
April 9-13
This week we’ll begin sampling the remarkably diverse pool of contemporary stories we’ll
be reading for the rest of the semester. Of all the writers we’ll read this week, I still find
myself worshipping at the altar of Alice Munro, a Canadian writer who I believe is writing
the best stories on the North American continent, perhaps one of the greatest living
contemporary writers.
ASSIGNMENTS
•
RICHARD FORD, Under the Radar, 454. (LitQuiz 39)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
T. CORAGHESSAN BOYLE, Greasy Lake, 142. (LitQuiz 40)
20.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
Workshop 4:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
ALICE MUNRO, Miles City, Montana, 929. (LitQuiz 41)
R ELATED C OMMENTARY :
Alice Munro , How I Write Short Stories , 1508.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
DENIS JOHNSON, Car Crashing While Hitchhiking, 640. (LitQuiz 42)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
•
TIM O’BRIEN, The Things They Carried, 990. (LitQuiz 43)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
Week 13
AGENDA
April 9-13
This week we begin sampling the remarkable pool of stories written by persons of color,
immigrants and so-called hyphenated Americans, whose rich multicultural contributions
have revealed the “little man” (and woman) in all his (or her) many manifestations, giving
voice to silenced minorities even now, in the 21st Century.
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under
that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice
N ATIVE A ME RICAN
•
LOUISE ERDRICH, The Red Convertible, 382. (LitQuiz 44)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
21.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
•
Syllabus
Lex Williford
SHERMAN ALEXIE, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, 15.
(LitQuiz 45)
R ELATED C OMMENTARIES :
Sherman Alexie , Superman and Me , 1400.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
H ISPANIC A MERICAN
•
SANDRA CISNEROS, The House on Mango Street, 254. (LitQuiz 46)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
JUNOT DÍAZ, How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie,
352. (LitQuiz 47)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
A FRICAN - A MERICAN
•
JOHN EDGAR WIDEMAN, newborn thrown in trash and dies, 1345.
(LitQuiz 48)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
ZZ PACKER, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, 1065. (LitQuiz 49)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 14
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
AGENDA
April 16-20
This week we’ll continue to read a variety of contemporary stories by Jewish, IndianAmerican and Gay Americans.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
DEADLINES
•
•
Your Long Critical Analysis (8-10 pp.) is due no later than midnight Monday this
week. Please upload this essay under Assignments in Word, Acrobat or Rich Text
File format.
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under
that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
22.
Workshop 3:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
•
Syllabus
Lex Williford
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
J EWISH - A MERICAN
•
CYNTHIA OZICK, The Shawl, 1060. (LitQuiz 50)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
PHILIP ROTH, The Conversion of the Jews, 1136. (LitQuiz 51)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
I NDIAN - A MERICAN
•
JHUMPA LAHIRI, When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine, 726. (LitQuiz 52)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
G AY A MERICAN
•
DAVID LEAVITT, Gravity, 775. (LitQuiz 53)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 15
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
AGENDA
April 23-27
This week we’ll shift to modern and contemporary practitioners of magical realism in the
Americas. When Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a journalist and writer of mostly realistic
fiction, read Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” for the first time, he said he didn’t know writers
could do this kind of thing, and he wrote stories and novels which, like Kafka’s, often
began with an absurd or magical premise and then developed the story more or less
realistically.
Workshop 1:
Workshop 2:
DEADLINES
•
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under
that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
23.
Workshop 3:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
ASSIGNMENTS
M AGICAL R EALIST AND P OST - M ODERN M ETAFICTION (M EXICAN , S OUTH
AND C ENTRAL A MERICAN )
•
JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Circular Ruins, 124. (LitQuiz 54)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
JULIO CORTÁZAR, A Continuity of Parks, 326. (LitQuiz 55)
R ELATED C OMMENTARIES :
Julio Cortázar, On the Short Story and Its Environs, 1437.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, A Very Old Man with Enormous
Wings, 462. (LitQuiz 56)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
CONTEMPORARY (M EXICAN, SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICAN)
•
ISABEL ALLENDE, An Act of Vengeance, 31. (LitQuiz 57)
R ELATED C OMMENTARIES :
Isabel Allende, Short Stories by Latin American Women, 1404.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Week 16
April 30May 4
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
Workshop 1:
AGENDA
This week we’ll turn to two North American writers of the sixties and the seventies best
known as part of the post-modern movement, authors of self-referential meta-texts, the
first a story that explores traditional story-telling and sees story writing as something
similar to being lost in a room of funhouse mirrors, the second a story whose principle
organization is “modular”—put together like a kind of post-modern collage.
st
The last two stories, written during the first decade of the 21 Century, seem to have
grown out of the post-modern movement yet also seem to be creating an altogether new
revolution in the short story.
DEADLINES
•
If you’ve signed up to write a short essay on one of the SW stories we’re discussing
this week, please upload your essay in two places, 1.) under Assignments and 2.) under
that specific story’s discussion board no later than midnight Monday this week.
24.
Workshop 2:
Workshop 3:
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
•
Syllabus
Lex Williford
If you’ve signed up for workshop this week, please e-mail me your stories at
[email protected] no later than midnight Monday. If you miss this deadline, we won’t
workshop your story. If you give me sufficient notice, at least a few days, I can try to
arrange to have you swap workshops with another student in this class within the
next few weeks, but there’s no guarantee that other students will have work ready on
such short notice.
ASSIGNMENTS
POST-MODERN METAFICTION (NORTH AMERICAN)
•
JOHN BARTH, Lost in the Funhouse, 85. (LitQuiz 58)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS DISCUSSION-BOARD P RESENTATION
•
DONALD BARTHELME, The Indian Uprising, 102. (LitQuiz 59)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
CONTEMPORARY POST-MODERN METAFICTION (NORTH A MERICAN)
•
GEORGE SAUNDERS, Brad Carrigan, American, 1147. (LitQuiz
60)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
•
DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, Incarnations of Burned Children,
1313. (LitQuiz ??)
CRITICAL ANALYSIS BOARD PRESENTATION
DISCUSSION BOARDS
•
THE STORY AND ITS WRITER DISCUSSION BOARDS
o
Name
1
Camacho Vivir, Susana
2
Castillo, Andi
3
Cherry, James
4
Cohen, Gus
5
Espinoza, Carlos
6
Howard, Angela
7
Levesque, Liz
8
Martinez, Monica
9
Nehls, Jonathan
10
Nemec, Blake
11
O’Meara, Alex
12
Palsole, Tia
13
Ramírez, Yasmin
Please post comments under each of this week’s stories’ discussion
boards.
Phone Number
25.
E-Mail Address
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
14
Sinnett, Christopher
15
Spindel, Enrique
16
Torres, Christopher
17
Vaughn, Carol
Syllabus
Lex Williford
A N OTE ON MY WORKSHOP PHILOSOPHY:
Only one rule applies to the critique of manuscripts in this class: Kindness is the only wisdom. The principal task of this workshop is
to create a safe place for writers to be honest and authentic in their discussions and their work. Some writers may be struggling to find
the courage to write stories of traumatic events that have occurred to them personally, or to people they know. The last thing we need
to do as a class is to make the discussion of these stories traumatic, too; doing so may cause writers to withdraw and stop taking risks
for fear of making mistakes or being emotionally honest. There are no mistakes in this workshop, only opportunities to see,
understand, change and revise.
If a writer has troubles with his or her story, try to find a way to deliver that information in a non-personal, non-judgmental way, with
empathy and compassion and, if possible, without undo sarcasm. (Irony, sarcasm’s more subtle and sophisticated sister, is, of course,
what we’re trying to use in our stories to great effect.) One approach is simply to describe how you read the story, what it meant to
you, focusing on one or two fictional techniques (irony or sarcasm, for example) the author has used that have contributed to that
effect. Focus on what poet John Ciardi says is most important: not just what a story means but how it means, specific techniques
we’ve discussed in class which help us as writers make readers fall into the fictional dream.
The more I teach fiction writing, the less faith I have in giving advice, especially the whole notion that a story is something to find
problems with and “fix.” If the author discovers that she has been misinterpreted in a descriptive analysis, then it follows that she will
have to revise. Avoid using such subjective judgments as good or bad or I really like/dislike this story. Each of us reads a story
differently, and that’s what makes workshop such effective places to discuss our work. Take what you can use and forget the rest. We
all have a right to tell our own stories in our own ways, and we all have a right to our own interpretations of others’ stories so long as
there’s evidence from the text to support our views. We may interpret the image of a child’s flying saucer toy lying upended in a
bathtub as a hint that a story is about alien abduction, but if there’s nothing else in the story to support that point then perhaps the
story may be about something else, the death of a child, say, or the grief of a father.
We show our work to others to help us when we’re too close to it to trust our instincts completely about whether what we’ve written
does what we’d intended, whether what’s in our head has gotten onto the page. Workshops should be both honest and supportive,
writers telling other writers not necessarily what they want to hear but what they might need to hear to make their stories work better,
meanwhile helping them through the sometimes painful task of revision: re-seeing their own stories clearly with some dispassionate
distance, finding their stories in the process of rewriting them, making the unconscious more conscious. Workshops should also be
open, generous, productive and tremendously fun, everyone feeling free to laugh a great deal—and not at others’ expense—meanwhile
recognizing that criticism must never be equated with cruelty or preoccupations with who’s up or down but always with the shared
difficulty of the work itself, always balancing a commitment to honesty about the work’s effectiveness with mutual respect for those
who create it and their individual creative processes and aesthetics.
A NOTE ON HOW I COMMENT UPON WORKSHOP STORIES:
I believe strongly in what I call the democratic workshop, a writer’s right to have a story workshopped in a respectful way that best
suits that particular writer’s esthetic choices and personal needs. I highly recommend that students who want to have some say about
how this class discusses their stories use the optional Workshop Cover Sheet (Home Page › Assignments) to specify what kind of
workshop they prefer—Descriptive, Prescriptive or both—and the kinds of comments they wish for me and other class members to
write. Simply open the file, copy and paste the text and insert it as the first page of your workshop submission; then fill it out with
specific instructions about how you’d prefer your story to be critiqued.
As I’ve learned over many years, every student is an individual, often quite different than others in class. Some see themselves as tough
(sometimes a mask hiding terrible vulnerability) and want to dispense with the niceties, requesting a prescriptive workshop that tells
them the unflinching, terrible truth about their stories. Your story sucks, they seem to want to hear, and here’s why. But that kind of
comment is completely subjective, judgmental and worthless, perhaps at least in part about some writers’ unconscious belief that
they’re not good enough and should become accountants like their mother told them years ago. Other students are more “sensitive”
especially when a prescriptive workshop often has the result of creating writer’s block or other issues. Ultimately, workshops seem less
26.
CRW 5382: History of the Short Story
Syllabus
Lex Williford
helpful when they’re about judgment and ego and more about empathy and writing technique. Using the Workshop Cover Sheet can
help clarify for both writers and those of us who read and comment on their stories to focus our discussion on comments that will be
most specific, respectful and helpful.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when reading my comments:
1.
I’ve got a pretty good eye for how to make stories work better. For this reason, I often write comments that are often quite
direct but, I hope, not too judgmental or personal. I always try my best to be respectful, but I also try to be as specific as
possible about what might make stories more authentic, how writers might deepen their characters, stories or craft.
2.
I’m a pretty good editor. If students wish, I’ll spend a good bit of my time editing and marking typos and grammatical
errors, tightening and even changing sentences to make them sleeker and more concise and direct. But I also have less and
less time to be an editor and grammarian than I used to. I have stories to write and edit myself. If students request that I
spend a good bit of time editing their stories, I’m glad to do it, especially since I see my job as showing writers how to write
better, to learn as much as they can about the writing craft. Clearly, writing is both a gift and a craft, but without learning
our craft we’re always in danger of squandering the gifts we have. For this reason, I focus mostly on craft and technique in
my comments, raising as many important questions as I can to help writers learn craft and see their stories more clearly.
Because my teaching load is high and my own writing time short, I’ve recently decided that I’ll spend about an hour of my
time editing each story I receive (only for students who request editing); then I’ll leave a note that says I’m stopping my
editing. If a story is full of grammatical and other errors, I may edit only a page of a story, but I’ll do so hoping that my edits
and corrections will help writers see patterns that they can continue to learn more about and edit themselves; if a story is free
of grammatical errors that make readers trip through sentences, then I may edit more, say, two or three pages. But because I
can’t edit entire stories anymore, I can only hope that my editing will represent the most important issues a writer needs to
focus on. Every student comes to a class at a different level, often with vastly different needs, and I try my best to focus on
those specific individual needs with the hope that students can begin to see what they need to work on now in their own
unique development. At least from my point of view, writing never really gets any easier, but the more we practice writing
the more we begin to learn what our strengths and weaknesses may be and how to make ourselves better writers simply by
writing more and spending more time making our writing as professional and readable as we can, a reflection of our own
distinct voices and vision of the world. It would be hypocritical of me to tell everyone not to take my comments personally.
Ultimately, writing is the most personal of all the arts. So if I’m too direct or you think I’ve given your story a less-thangenerous reading, please tell me. I won’t take it personally, and I might even be able to help you more once I know what
you’re trying to do.
3.
I’m a pretty good at brainstorming stories and helping students through writer’s block, but sometimes inadvertently I may
actually cause students to become so self-conscious about their work that they have trouble writing. If you have any
questions about my comments, please don’t hesitate to ask them. If I’ve not made myself completely clear, then I need to
spend more time clarifying what I mean, and the only way I’ll know how to do that is if students talk to me, either in class, in
my office or through electronic means, e-mail, phone, chat and so on. If you’re stuck in a story and all the anguish in the
world isn’t helping you get unstuck, come to my office or give me a call right away and tell me what’s going on, and maybe I
can give you some ideas about what you can do to get unstuck. Most of the students who’ve worked with me know that I try
my best to be available and approachable. If you’re hesitant to talk to me, just remember that I enjoy talking about stories,
especially the stories my students write. It may be a surprise to most of my students, but I often learn more from them than
they could ever learn from me. Teaching and writing are coequal passions for me, yet after more than thirty years of writing
and teaching I’m still struggling with how to balance both, to write and teach the best I can and still have time for my family
and friends. This is the writer’s life. We all have to pay our bills and find time to be with those we love, and we all have to
carve out some sacred time in our lives to write. If we don’t, we’ll never be happy. We write because we have no other
choice.
27.