109年第2學期-0156 文討：探索短篇小說 課程資訊
|Discussion questions and presentation||20||One turn at leading class discussion with questions prepared the week|
|Midterm essay||20||Critical essay on Chekhov|
|Final essay||20||Critical comparative essay|
Students are expected to achieve the following objectives by the end of the course:
1. To understand qualities of short fiction, especially the short story, as distinct from the novel.
2. To recognize elements of modernity in short fiction since Chekhov.
3. To improve their critical reading and speaking about modern fiction.
4. To improve their essay writing skills.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) did not invent the short story in its modern form, but in his incredibly productive career he help perfect it and remains one of the most widely-read short-story writers in the world. Chekhov began writing as a medical student in Moscow (1879-1884) while also supporting his entire family (as he did for his entire, brief, life). The genre was thus perfectly suited to his needs as a busy doctor, but one who cared for his art. Typically, his gift was to create an immediate problem – without foregrounding – for his characters, and then building the story to a moment of sudden insight. This awareness – this discovery – was instantaneous, and might be available to a central character, the reader, the narrator – or to all, at once. It is this moment of discovery that we shall attempt to investigate for ourselves, and define it, or describe it, to the best of our abilities.
In the second half of the semester we will read a selection of stories by later writers concentrating especially on those who were influenced by Chekhov or whose works bears remarkable and provocative comparisons to his. Most of these stories are “realistic,” in a sense Chekhov would have accepted and understood, but a few stretch the limits of “reality,” as Chekhov also most certainly did on occasion.