Spring 2024 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

E 236 - Short Fiction

Overview of Course

Beyond the questionable dimension of length or number of words, the short story may be defined by three essential characteristics: brevity, density, and unity. In this course, we will analyze short fiction produced by writers from Japan, Korea, China, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, India, Morocco and Ireland in light of these characteristics, but also in light of the socio-cultural, historical and literary context in which each story was produced. Beginning with an overview of the genre, its origin, development and range, this course aims to fulfill several objectives. The first is to provide round-trip tickets to the imaginative worlds of writers from different parts of the world, tickets that will enable participants to reflect on their own experience and discover, discard or redefine values. The second objective is to provide strategies for analysis of short fiction. Using the analytical tools of plot, setting, character, tone and point of view, participants will develop individual strategies for entering, understanding and appreciating the form of the short story. Ultimately, however, this course aims to enable participants to simply enjoy the short story and in doing so become better, more skilled readers.