Short stories are quick bursts of storytelling, which, much like a short film or a music video, capture an intense burst of feeling, a fleeting mood, a scene of transformation. Or else, you might say they operate like slow motion: they arrest a moment or slice of time, they attend to its nuances and the forces that buffer it, and they ask us to attend to them with extra care. Short stories often show how moments that might appear very ordinary to most of us can in fact be momentous, utterly transformative, for somebody. In this, for modern, humdrum, everyday lives, they can provide a kind of modernist sublime. In this class, we will read a cross-section of short stories, from classic to contemporary, from America and the world.


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