Fall 2018


The Art of Short Story Reading (55+)

Short fiction, a relatively new art form developed at the end of the 19th century, is a difficult genre that allows the writer only a small space to recreate the fullness and wonder of life. What makes a story tick? What means does an author use to elicit our laughter or tears? By carefully examining stories penned by diverse writers from different parts of the world, we’ll gain some insights.

Writers whose art and biographies we’ll discuss include Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Ingeborg Bachmann, Margaret Lawrence, D.H. Lawrence, Guy de Maupassant, Dino Buzzati and others.

Note: A course pack of readings will be provided.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 6 Marina Sonkina $115.00 0 Join Waitlist

What will I learn?

Week 1: Ancient Israel

One of the greatest collections of short stories in world literature was written as early as the late-8th or 7th century BCE by anonymous authors from ancient Israel. The Book of Judges presents a swift and deft narrative, with vivid characters sketched in a sentence or two. We examine the Samson cycle (Judges 13-16) in the Hebrew Bible.

Weeks 2-3: 19th-Century France

We leap to the 19th century, and the birth of short story as a separate literary genre. Flaubert and his disciple, Maupassant, the unsurpassed masters of short narrative, provide us with insights into the nature and art of their writing. We read A Simple Heart and Letters to Louise Colet (Flaubert) and The Piece of String, Miss Harriet and The Horla (Maupassant).   

Week 4: 20th-Century Austria, England and Italy

In 20th-century Europe, we analyze The Man Who Loved Islands (D.H. Laurence), An Appointment in Samara (W. Somerset Maugham), The Mother (Natalia Ginsburg) and Everything (Ingeborg Bachman).

Week 5: 20th-Century U.S.A.

Crossing the Atlantic to the U.S.A., we examine A Rose for Emily (William Faulkner), Gimpel the Fool (Isaac Bashevis Singer) and A Temporary Matter (Jhumpa Lahiri).  

Week 6: 20th- and 21st-Century Canada

Coming home and up to the present, we interpret Varieties of Exile (Mavis Gallant), Pride (Alice Munro) and Philosophy Lessons (Marina Sonkina).

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

There is required reading for this course.

A course pack of the readings will be provided on the first day of class.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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