ENG215H1F - L9901

The Canadian Short Story


(ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS) Tuesday 11 am - 1 pm and Thursday 11 am - 12 pm

Instructor Information

Dr. Sarah Caskey

E-mail: sarah.caskey@utoronto.ca

Course Description

The short story is a demanding and exhilarating art form. As the Canadian literary critic W. H. New observes, it “calls upon its readers to perceive the breadth of vision that is condensed into a small compass.” Canadian writers have made outstanding contributions to the genre and 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 periods, regions, literary styles, thematic interests, and experimentation within the genre. 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 seemingly 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 explore the place of the short story in Canadian literary culture and its intersection with issues including identity, storytelling, and art.

Required Readings

  • Course readings will be made available on the Quercus course page through the Library Reading List.

First Three Authors/Texts

  • Michael Crummey
  • Harry Robinson
  • Thomas King

Methods of Evaluation

  • Passage Analysis (25%)
  • Essay (40%)
  • Final Assignment (25%)
  • Participation (10%)