Module Identifier EN34520  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Professor Peter T Barry  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours. 10 x 2 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)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 Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Baldwin, James Going to Meet the Man Penguin
Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Julian Symons) (1980) Selected Tales Oxford World's Classics
Henry James (ed. Jean Gooder) (1998) Daisy Miller and Other Stories Oxford World's Classics
Richard Ford (ed.) (1998) The Granta Book of the American Short Story Granta Books
Welty, Eudora (1983) Collected Short Stories Penguin 0140093184
Wharton, Edith (1999) Ethan Frome Cambridge 0521645298


This module is at CQFW Level 6