Michael Anthony Esparza
ENGL 10106 The American Story Cycle
In this course, we will examine the short story “cycle,” a textual form which is structured as a collection of shorter narratives but expresses a certain interconnectedness (by way of common themes, characters, settings, etc.) between the stories that compels us to treat the work as somehow “whole.” In our discussions of these works, I aim to: explore the relationship between the generic unit of the story cycle and literary movements like American literary regionalism/”local color” fiction, the Harlem Renaissance, and Southern Gothic; delineate the popular-aesthetic mandates of the post-Reconstruction publishing industry in the US; and interrogate the ascendancy and prestige of the category of “the Modernist Novel” relative to short fiction in the early 20th century. Possible authors include: Eudora Welty, Jean Toomer, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Chesnutt, Mary Hunter Austin.