ELCS6033 - The Short Story of Modernism
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: James Agar
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2,000 words each.
This module will look at selected texts from three writers of short stories, all of which were written in the period commonly characterised by literary modernism. Two of the collections are by renowned European writers (Kafka and Joyce) and include major canonical texts of the European tradition (such as ‘The Metamorphosis’ and ‘The Dead’). The third writer is Horacio Quiroga, a Uruguayan who wrote under the dual influences of Latin American ‘modernismo’ and US short story writer Edgar Allan Poe.
stories will be considered for their own literary worth and thematic
interest, but the module will also consider how the writers manipulate
and refine the art of the short story as a genre in order to address, in
short form, some of the major socio-political and aesthetic issues of
their time. We will also consider what challenges the genre of the short
story presents to its readers. The module will include extensive small
group discussion work and individual student presentations.
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Cask of Amontillado’
- Franz Kafka, 'Stories 1904-1924' (Abacus) ['Sämtliche Erzählungen' (Fischer)]
- James Joyce, 'Dubliners' (any edition)
- Horacio Quiroga, selections of short stories provided in photocopies, sold at cost or on Moodle via pdf files ['Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte' (Losada)]
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Dominic Head, 'The Modernist Short Story' (Cambridge: CUP, 1992)
- Ian Reid, 'The Short Story' (1977)
- Ritchie Robertson, 'Kafka. A Very Short Introduction' (2004)
- Harold Bloom, ed., 'James Joyce’s Dubliners' (1988)
- Margaret Seyers Peden, ed., 'The Latin American Short Story: A Critical History' (1983)