Discussing short stories

Are these stories a form of armchair time-travel? We begin our journey in 1706, with Daniel Defoe, and finish it with Anthony Trollope, in 1864, discussing one, possibly two, stories per session from The Penguin Book of the British Short Story Volume 1. Selected by Philip Hensher.

In his General Introduction to the anthology Hensher asks a question that will be key for us too, ‘What is a short story’? More importantly, we’ll be thinking about the way these stories work for 21st century readers. The anthology provides us with an interesting range of writers. Some may be familiar because their novels continue to be published. How will their short fiction compare? Does it provide a good introduction to their work? What about the writers in the collection who have largely disappeared from view? Hensher says that the stories we’ll study ‘are not, in the modern sense, short stories. But they bear in a vital, animating way on the short story’s historical development’. Will we agree? How close is the connection between our world and theirs?

Details for the anthology – Hardback: ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0141395990 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0141395999    Paperback: ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 014139600 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0141396002

Course Details

This course finished on 12 July 2023