Prose Fiction

All it took was that first
“Once upon a time.” Once upon a time somebody did or experienced something, and
then that person or another one turned it into a story that began, “Once upon a
time.” Narrative was born. We’ve been telling ourselves stories ever since.


So this semester we’re going
to read some stories that teach us the art of storytelling. In order to talk
about the stories we’ll learn the names and uses of some writers’ tools, such
as the tool called plot and the tool called narrator and the tool called
language, but our main concern will be the finished product: in this course, ten
or so powerful and beautiful stories which invite us to retell and love them.


Course requirements

  • Attendance and
  • Three exams, a
    five-page paper, and a final


Texts (at the University Bookstore)

  • Antoine de
    Saint-Exupéry, Night Flight
  • Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat” and Other Stories
  • Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle” and Other Stories
  • Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies
  • F. Scott
    Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Jorge Luis
    Borges, Collected Fictions
  • Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust
  • Jane Austen, The Annotated Emma
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina