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Course Catalog

European Masters of the Short Story  

This course is designed to give you an overview of some of the European masters of the short story of the late 19th and 20th centuries. We’ll begin the class with “A Misfortune” by Russian Anton Chekhov, hailed the greatest short-story writer of all times and credited by many contemporary writers for being a main source of inspiration. Next, we’ll read Danish author Karen Blixen’s “The Immortal Story,” which Orson Welles turned into a movie in 1968. Like many women of the 19th and 20th centuries, Blixen often wrote under a pen name (Isak Dinesen) Irish writer James Joyce’s “The Sisters” will be the focus of Week 3. We’ll then discuss Anais Nin’s “The Mouse.” Nin, famous for her diaries, began to write in her native Spanish, then switched to English once she moved to NYC. On Week V, we’ll read a short story by famous Italian author, Italo Calvino, whom you may not know. French writer Colette, the first woman of letters to be given a state funeral, will conclude this class with her story “The Hidden Woman.” Each week will center on one specific story. In order to foster as lively and candid an exchange as possible, each session will first involve a group discussion based on study questions available in advance. Participants will be asked to analyze the story in terms of style, themes, point of view, etc. Typically, this interaction takes over an hour. I will then provide additional information on each authors' life and work, through video and/or radio clips whenever available. Week by Week Outline: 1. Anton Chekhov, “A Misfortune” 2. Isaak Dinesen/Karen Blixen “The Immortal Story” 3. James Joyce, “The Sisters,” 4. Anais Nin, “The Mouse” 5. Italo Calvino, “The Enchanted Garden” 6. Colette, “The Hidden Woman”


This class is not available at this time.