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Genre Fundamentals: Fiction

Program(s): Undergraduate Courses, Summer College

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of narrative fiction. Together, we will ask: what are the basics of complex storytelling? what are its conventions and deviations? We will explore concepts and analytical tools for reading and interpreting fiction, paying particular attention to the relationship between narrative, time, and event; the role of narrative in shaping both personal and collective identity; the relationship between allegorical and realist modes of representation; and the status of fiction and of fictional characters. We will ask such questions as: what makes a piece of writing a “story” or a “novel”? Is every story a narrative? Is all narrative fiction? Is all fiction narrative? What is a literary character? What is the relationship between character and plot? What sorts of ethical questions, or dilemmas, does narrative fiction raise? In order to get a grip on such questions, will consider texts from a different time periods, with widely varied approaches to the form. Authors will most likely include Herman Melville, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Ali Smith, Carmen Maria Machado, among others.

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

11th Grade
12th Grade
Undergrad / Grad


Undergraduate Courses
Summer College

Start Date

June 21

End Date

July 09

Class Details

Primary Instructor

Heather Keenleyside

Academic Interest

Humanities (e.g., arts, philosophy)
Writing and Literature

Class Specifics

Course Code

ENGL 10709 91

Class Day(s)

Mon Wed Fri

Class Duration (CST)


12:30 P.M.


Session I

Course Length

3 weeks