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Publisher's Summary

While short stories exist in traditions all over the world, American short stories are a genre all their own. Emerging from the clash of cultures - and the collision of oral and print traditions - that began during the arrival of European settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries, the short works that emerged have served many functions. They have entertained, certainly, but they have also helped foster identity, shape morality, and build the foundations of the American mythos for nearly four centuries.

Whether you want to write short stories, simply want better insight as a reader, or even if you are looking for a new lens through which to view American history, the 24 rich and informative lectures of Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Writers and Readers will show you the ins and outs of this infinitely adaptable - and intrinsically American - literary form. Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black of St. Mary’s College of Maryland guides you through the technical aspects of the short story, while also digging deep into the history of the form in the United States. Along the way, you will discover why the short story became so deeply connected to American identity and how it continues to evolve alongside the nation itself.

The “great American novel” is often the lofty goal of writers who want to achieve literary immortality. But from the opening sentence to the lingering denouement, American short stories can both capture the world as it is and help envision what could be. Each is unique, and yet each is a part of a larger chronicle: the story of America.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 The Great Courses (P)2019 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Writers and Readers

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    3 out of 5 stars

-sigh-

Polite applause for the craft, torn by obnoxious claps of wokeism. Very trite and nacissistic.

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  • New Man
  • 06-24-21

A Particular View

The presenter of this course appears to have very clear ideas about the distinction between ‘high’ character-driven literary fiction and ‘low’ plot-driven genre fiction’. As a reader of both, who appreciates both, I found the constant judgemental language quite off-putting. It became unbearable around the halfway point. I’ve rated it 3 stars because I did find early parts interesting, including how male writers of realism used this type of cultural snobbery towards mainly female sentimental writers in order to ensure that the more masculine, less emotional realism became the desirable style. If you’re looking for a course to tell you which stories to like and which to dislike in order to be part of a literary in-group, this course delivers that well.