Engl 565 American Genre: Short Story Cycles

Fall Semester 2005

MWF 10:00-10:50, Grubbs 312

Instructor: Dr. Kathleen L. Nichols


  • Purposes of the Course:

This course will study American short story cycles (sometimes called composite novels) consisting of a sequence of stories which can be read independently but which, together, form a larger composite whole due to various kinds of interlinks between the separate stories. The selected texts will illustrate the development of this unusual genre from the Nineteenth Century to the present and include women and minority writers of the genre.

  • Required Textbooks
  • Herman Melville, The Piazza Tales (Northwestern UP)
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories (Signet Penguin)
  • Charles Waddell Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman (Penguin)
  • Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (Bantam)
  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner)
  • Flannery O'Connor, Three by Flannery O'Connor: Wise Blood; The Violent Bear It Away; Everything That Rises Must Converge (Signet Penguin)
  • John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse (Anchor Doubleday)
  • Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (Vintage Knopf)
  • Gerald Vizenor, Landfill Meditation: Crossblood Stories (Wesleyan UP)

  • Grading
  • 2 Literary Analysis Papers, 4 pp. each (40%--20% each). See directions.
  • 3 Take-home Essay Exams (60%--20% each)
  • Graduate credit only: 1 outside fiction collection, plus paper 6-10 pp.

All major assignments must be completed to pass the course.

You may e-mail papers to me at knichols11@cox.net, but make sure they are attached as a .doc file.

  • Late Work Policy

Late papers will be graded down one letter grade for each day they are late.

Missed exams must be made up just as soon as possible. See me immediately when you return to class.

  • Absence Policy

Regular attendance is required. Everyone has four pre-excused absences for those difficult times in life that interfere with class attendance, so you do not need to clear absences with me, but it is a good idea to check with me (or a classmate) to make sure an assignment was not changed while you were gone. Students who miss more than four classes may be dropped from the roster for "excessive absences."

NOTE: Students who regularly arrive 10-15 minutes late or want to leave class 15-20 minutes early have a very disruptive effect on the rest of the class. See me BEFORE CLASS if you have some special problems, but arriving late/leaving early will usually count as an ABSENCE.

  • Plagiarism Policy

I strongly support the policies of the English Department and the University on plagiarism. Undocumented use of someone else's material (including "borrowing" their language or their ideas) will result in an F on the paper or for the course--or worse for the most egregious cases.

See me if you have questions about what is or is not plagiarism. I'm always happy to help students who are making a good-faith effort to do things right.

  • Course Web Pages

You can quickly access our online syllabus by typing in one of the following addresses:

You can also access my home page (which links to all my web pages) by going to the PSU home page and then typing "Nichols Home Page" in the "PSU Search" box (top of page).

  • Instructor's Office Hours

Office: Grubbs Hall 450

Office Hours: MWF 11:00-11:50; 1:00-2:00

TTh 11:00-11:30; 2:00-3:00; or by appt.

E-mail: knichols11@cox.net

Background design by NK Designs