English 242 E Reading Prose Fiction: Short Fiction and our Global Cultural Mosaic
The primary objective of this course is to establish an interactive classroom community to look hard at the way we read stories and their impact on the lives of readers, writers and their societies.
We will exchange in conversation and in writing our experiences of stories that have shaped the short story, an art form dating back to ancient times, yet as pervasive and influential in the lives and times of its readers over many centuries as cinema, animation, computer games and social media are in our own.
Particularly since the 19th century, stories from many societies and times have, through print and translation, had far reaching distribution within and across world cultures. The short story, and short story collections of tales going back to ancient times, offer windows on culture, sensibility and personal conduct. Along the way the craft of organizing and reflecting on human experience through fiction surged in influence, as print media, popular literacy, the magazine and book trades created mass and global readerships. The short story, serialized stories and novels began to be freely available, inexpensive and popular. In the process, they became mirrors which readers held up to themselves and their own times, even as they engaged the times and places of others.