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Das Seminar beginnt in der zweiten Semesterwoche: Dienstag, 19. April 2011.
This course will be devoted to analysing a spectrum of early twentieth-century short fiction including texts by Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Katherine Mansfield.
Through a survey of criticism, participants will learn how the short story form has been defined in competing and often contradictory ways. We will ask in how far the short story is a “modern genre for modern times”, that is, in how far these texts can be read as responses to new conditions of experiencing momentary and fragmentary phenomena. Furthermore, we will discuss the implications of the fact that some of these texts were first published in journals and small magazines.
Narratives such as “The Dead”, the last story in James Joyce’s Dubliners, Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill”, and Virginia Woolf’s “In the Orchard” focus on the complexities of human relationships, on social and political issues, as well as on questions of aesthetic experience. Placing these prose texts in their intellectual, cultural, and aesthetic contexts, we will investigate notions of modernism and the literary canon, as well as questions of class and gender. In our reading of these texts, we will closely analyse narrative techniques – and we will find out whether even one of these stories “ends without any point to it.” (V. Woolf)
A reader with the primary as well as the critical texts will be provided at the beginning of the course. Active participation in class includes a short presentation and a short written assignment before mid-term.
For an introduction to the seminar topic see: Barbara Korte, The Short Story in Britain. A Historical Sketch and Anthology, Tübingen/Basel: A. Francke, 2003. Further short stories from the late 19th and 20th century are assembled in: The Oxford Book of English Short Stories, ed. A. S. Byatt, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.