Curso 2020/2021

1. Datos de la asignatura

(Fecha última modificación: 22-07-20 12:05)
Optativa 3º y 4º
Segundo cuatrimestre
Filología Inglesa
Plataforma Virtual

Campus Virtual de la Universidad de Salamanca

Datos del profesorado

María Mercedes Peñalba García
Filología Inglesa
Filología Inglesa
Fac. Filología
1.9 (C/ Placentinos, 18)
Horario de tutorías
M. Tu. Wed. 19:00—21:00 (Office hours)
923 294500 Ext. 1754

2. Sentido de la materia en el plan de estudios

Bloque formativo al que pertenece la materia.

Module to which the course contributes: Literature and Culture Program

Papel de la asignatura.

Programs of study to which the module contributes: English & American Literature

Level of the module: Honours     

Category in Major Program: Disciplinary Elective            

Perfil profesional.

The expected and desired learning outcomes at the bachelor’s level include an advanced level of mastery of research skills applied to the written text that will allow students to achieve intellectual maturity as well as an initial experience of active professionalism within academia.

3. Recomendaciones previas

Prerequisite and co-requisite modules:  None        

In addition to the general requirements, students may be expected to demonstrate an effective command of written English and some proficiency in discussing their reading (C1).

4. Objetivo de la asignatura

This course will introduce you to the pleasures of exploring short fiction, and to the challenges of interpreting, confronting, and discovering human experience. A selective survey of the history of the genre will establish the framework for study of writers and works influential in developing this art form within the contexts of important literary movements. Consideration is given to theme and its formulation, choice of protagonists and minor characters, techniques of characterisation, point of view, reflexivity, structure of the narrative, deployment of symbol and image clusters, and questions of rhythm, style, tone, and atmosphere, complemented by the study of critical works. Class time will be devoted heavily to lecture on these occasions, but otherwise will consist of focused discussions of the readings.


By the end of this course, you will:

  1. have a sound understanding of basic narratology, and a good grasp of the significance of narrative theory in broader social contexts
  2. have enhanced your skills in literary and cultural analysis
  3. be able to inter-relate theoretical debate with close textual analysis
  4. be able to appreciate representative short fiction in the English language
  5. be able to recognize important literary elements and figurative language in short stories
  6. be able to appreciate the short story's importance as a literary form
  7. be able to construct and defend a coherent intellectual argument
  8. have a varied experience of the short story

5. Contenidos


Throughout the semester we will analyze stories closely, ‘reading like writers’, while keeping the following questions in mind: Why do writers choose this art form? What devices do writers employ to convey their sense of the world? What styles, structures, and traditions do they inherit or invent? What is the importance of genre in determining our experience of a tale? What can a short story illuminate in its brief narrative wholeness, and how can we, as readers, investigate its rich complexity? Is the short story truly ‘the window on marginalized identities’? You are expected to actively participate in class discussions and expand your critical knowledge and appreciation of the development of this genre. You are also encouraged to view films based on the literary selections to enlarge your perceptions of themes, characters, and settings. Close reading, interpretation and appreciation of stories will be the focus of class discussion, presentations and a short analytical essay. COURSE STRUCTURE A. Introduction to the course: organization, requirements, syllabus. B. Analyzing short stories: narrative point of view; building characters in narrative; descriptions of consciousness; writing our experience of time; comparing writing styles; figurative language. C. The self in its cultural worlds: stories about gender, race and identity. D. A brief history of the short story.

6. Competencias a adquirir

Básicas / Generales.

By the end of the course, you should have: CG1. Demonstrated the ability to present logical and coherent arguments in oral form through class discussion. CG2. Developed skills of analysis which can be applied outside the confines of the module. CG3. Showed ability in presenting ideas in written form through essays and examination. CG4. Learned to appreciate an approach to literature that is multidisciplinary. CG5. Developed an understanding of how narrative theory can contribute to an analysis of your chosen area of research.


By the end of the course, you should feel that you have developed some of the following:

CE1. A heightened sensitivity to different kinds of literary writing and to experiments with the short story.

CE2. A greater understanding of the short story in critical and historical terms: how short stories reflect human experience over time and through different cultures.

CE3. A larger critical vocabulary for thinking, talking and writing about the short story.

CE4. An enhanced capacity to evaluate key literary and theoretical texts: you will be encouraged to think about genre (the form of writing), representation (the rhetoric in which writing conveys experience), and theme (the ideas and issues that writing actualizes).

CE5. A greater appreciation of an author’s work in terms of narrative style and descriptive technique, language, tone or mood, and literary conventions.


Additionally, by the end of the module, you should have acquired some of the following skills: CT1. The ability to develop your research skills in printed and electronic media. CT2. The ability to work closely and collaboratively with members of a small team, and be able to present ideas to the larger group. CT3. The ability to analyze events, movements, groups, and individuals who have shaped and continue to shape American culture, history, and literature. CT4. The ability to develop reasoned arguments, and present them in accessible forms, both orally and in writing, i.e., develop an interpretation of a literary text, collect research from appropriate sources, support the interpretation with evidence, and cite the source material). CT5. The ability to locate critical texts through responsible research and retrieval of information.

7. Metodologías

This is a 4.5-credit course which meets 3 hours a week during the semester. Teaching will consist of a combination of lectures, student and teacher-led seminar presentations, and tutorials. A list of short stories, and the dates on which we will discuss them, will be provided at the beginning of the course. You will be encouraged to develop an understanding of and ability to analyze particular texts, and also to relate them to the wider discussion of the theoretical issues. The seminar work will relate to the specific learning outcomes in 4 and 5. Regular participation in class discussions is absolutely essential to  help hone critical thinking and communication skills.

The course will be assessed by the following four pieces of work taken together:

Student-led presentations (25% of grade)

You may be asked to make a presentation at some time in the semester. You will be given guidance on what to do and on what is expected from a presentation. It should be presented from notes, not read from a prepared, written script (30 mins. approx.). The presentation will demonstrate in concise form your ability to unite literary and theoretical readings of a text, to raise questions about the text and place it within its historical and critical context. In giving your presentations, and in responding to the presentations of other members of the class, you will be expected to make your own judgments, apply aesthetic and critical terms with precision, and present your view in the form of a coherent argument.

Discussion sessions (15% of grade)

This assessment task is intended to allow students to develop skills in collaborative research and articulate their own critical position in spoken form. It will enhance understanding of the methods of analysis and thinking specific to the study of short fiction.

Analytical research paper (2,500 words, 25% of grade)

The essay topic will be taken from a list provided by the tutor. It will constitute a sustained research-based argument, showing evidence of all the module’s aims and learning outcomes.

Final examination (25% of grade)

The final examination will consist of short identification questions and excerpts from the required readings on our syllabus.

8. Previsión de Técnicas (Estrategias) Docentes

9. Recursos

Libros de consulta para el alumno.

Copies of the class syllabus, course handouts and several short readings will be available to download on Studium. The anthology we will be using, The Short Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, 8th edition, 2011 (ISBN 978-0-312-59623-1) is edited by Ann Charters.

Recommended texts

March-Russell, Paul. The Short Story. An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

May, Charles. “I am Your Brother”. Short Story Studies. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.

Cox, Ailsa. Writing Short Stories. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Otras referencias bibliográficas, electrónicas o cualquier otro tipo de recurso.

Indicative Secondary Reading

Bendixen, Alfred, and Nagel, James (Eds.). A Companion to the American Short Story. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Boddy, Kasia. The American Short Story since 1950. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

Gerlarch,  John.  Toward  the  End.  Closure  and  Structure  in  the  American  Short  Story. Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1985.

Hanson, Clare. Short Stories and Short Fictions, 1880-1890. London: Macmillan, 1985.

          . Re-reading the Short Story. London: Macmillan, 1989.

Hunter,  Adrian.  The  Cambridge  Introduction  to  the  Short  Story  in  English.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Iftekharrudin,  Farhat.  The  Postmodern  Short  Story:  Forms  and  Issues.  Westport,  CT: Greenwood, 2003.

Iftekharrudin, Farhat et al. (Eds.). Postmodern Approaches to the Short Story. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003.

Lohafer, Susan. Coming to Terms with the Short Story. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana University Press, 1983.

          . Reading for Storyness. Preclosure Theory, Empirical Poetics, and Culture in the Short Story. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 2003.

Lohafer, Susan, and Clarey, Jo Ellyn (Eds.). Short Story at a Crossroads. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

Lounsberry, Barbara, et al. (Eds.). The Tales We Tell: Perspectives on the Short Story. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood P, 1998.

Malcolm, Cheryl Alexander, and Malcolm, David (Eds.). A Companion to the British and Irish Short Story. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

May, Charles. The Short Story. The reality of Artifice. New York and London: Routledge, 2002 [1995].

May, Charles (Ed.). The New Short Story Theories. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1994.

Scofield,  Martin.  The  Cambridge  Introduction  to  the  American  Short  Story.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Winther,  Per,  et  al.  (Eds.).  The  Art  of  Brevity.  Excursions  in  Short  Fiction  Theory  and Analysis. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2004.

Electronic Resources

The Short Story Library – American Literature  http://www.americanliterature.com/sstitleindex.html Bibliomania: Short Stories  http://www.bibliomania.com/0/5/frameset.html

The Voice of the Shuttle  http://vos.ucsb.edu/

Perspectives in American Literature  http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/table.html The Online Books Page  http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/

Annotated Author Links  http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/litlinks/Pages/Main.aspx

10. Evaluación

Consideraciones generales.

Committed participation in class and self-motivated personal research is essential for this course. Your performance will be measured in a variety of ways, including some or all of the following: in-class presentations,  take-home essays (analytical research papers),  tutorial discussions (seminar work), and a final examination.

Criterios de evaluación.

A student’s course grade will be determined by five factors:

  • Attendance and Informed Class Participation: 10%
  • Oral Presentation: 25%
  • Seminar work: 15%
  • Essay: 25%
  • Final examination: 25%

Instrumentos de evaluación.

Teacher-made rubric for oral presentation, analytical essay, and tutorial discussion. Grading is based on a standard point system where each assignment is worth a set amount of points (depending on the assignment’s weight and value to the course), which contributes to an overall course total:

MH = 95-100% (A+)

Sb. = 90-94% (A)

Not.= 75-89% (B)

Ap. = 60-74% (C)

Susp.= 0-59% (D)

Recomendaciones para la evaluación.

In order to pass this course, students must make a serious attempt at ALL assessment tasks

Recomendaciones para la recuperación.

Written feedback on assessed coursework. Verbal feedback on presentations and nonassessed coursework.

12. Adenda. Metodologías Docentes y Evaluación de Competencias

13. Adenda. Plan de Contingencia ante la situación de emergencia