Brief Description of Course: The short story has been called “Canada’s most vibrant literary form” and certainly Canadian authors have made an outstanding contribution to the short-story field. This course examines Canadian short fiction written in English since the beginning of the twentieth-century to the present. The short stories selected for analysis reflect a variety of authors, as well as diverse regions, periods, literary styles, and thematic interests. Together, the stories attest to the vitality of the genre in this country and the important role Canadians writers have played in shaping the form.
We will focus on reading individual stories closely, with attention to form and structure, and to relating apparently disparate stories to one another, synthesizing ideas that connect them into a larger short-story literary tradition. Teaching the stories close to chronological order means we can grasp much of the history of literary influence and the growth and development of the genre in Canada within the boundaries of the syllabus. Throughout the term, we will also ask questions about the place of the short story in our literary culture and in our own lives more specifically. How does this genre intersect with issues of identity, gender, region, history, art, and storytelling? What place does this genre occupy in our contemporary culture and what place might it occupy in our own personal reading?
Required Reading: The course pack for English 215 will be available at the University of Toronto Bookstore located at 214 College Street (uoftbookstore.com).
First Three Authors/Texts: Michael Crummey, Harry Robinson, Thomas King.
Method of Instruction: Lecture and discussion.
Method of Evaluation: In-class passage analysis (25%), essay (40%), final exam (35%).