Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. 10 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 essays (2,500 words each)  Continuous Assessment:  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:

1. discuss the subject coherently;

2. write about the subject in a well-structured and well argued manner;

3. have added to their knowledge of the corpus of American literature;

4. have developed their powers of critical analysis.


This module aims:

1. to introduce students to the short story as a literary genre, with special reference to the development of the form in the United States;

2. to enable students to appreciate the distinctive features of this genre, particularly the fact that the short story has its own compositional characteristics and is not simply an abbreviated or compressed novel;

3. to explore a range of diverse reading strategies and compare their merits and capabilities in practice.

Brief description

This module is divided into four 'blocks', comprising an initial two-week block introducing the antecedents of the short story, and identifying two major lines of development, the 'supra-natural', and the 'natural'. This is followed by a three week 'generic' block which looks at three major options in the development of the short story proper. The two remaining blocks focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries respectively.



_The American Short Story and its Antecedents

1. Types and Definitions of the Short Story: Myths, Legends, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Character Sketches, Parables, Exempla

2. Washington Irving, The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

_The American Short Story, Nineteenth Century

3. Edgar Allan Poe, Selected Tales

4. Lecture on the Short Story Genre and Narratological approaches to short fiction.

5. Henry James, Daisy Miller and Other Stories

6. Four Stories by American Women: Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper; Sarah Orne Jewett, Country of the Pointed Firs; Edith Wharton, Souls Belated

_The American Short Story, Twentieth Century

7-8. Hemingway, The First Forty Nine Stories

9-10. Richard Ford (ed.), The Granta Book of the American Short Story

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Baldwin, James Going to Meet the Man Penguin Primo search Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Julian Symons) (1980) Selected Tales Oxford World's Classics Primo search Henry James (ed. Jean Gooder) (1998) Daisy Miller and Other Stories Oxford World's Classics Primo search Richard Ford (ed.) (1998) The Granta Book of the American Short Story Granta Books Primo search Welty, Eudora (1983) Collected Short Stories Penguin Primo search Wharton, Edith (1999) Ethan Frome Cambridge Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6