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Thematic Clusters


Modern Mythologies

These authors invoke ancient myth, fairy tale, and legend into modern frameworks for thematic and aesthetic purposes.

  • Nathanael Hawthorne “Rappacini’s Daughter”
  • Katherine Mansfield “The Garden Party”
  • Karen Russell “Vampires in the Lemon Grove”
  • Bruno Schulz “Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass”
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald “Babylon Revisited”
  • Sheila Watson “Antigone”
  • Leon Rooke “The Bolt of White Cloth”
  • Alistair Macleod “As Birds Bring Forth the Sun”
  • Angela Carter “In the Company of Wolves”
  • Maxine Hong Kingston “On Mortality”
  • Thomas King “The One About Coyote Going West”
  • Louise Erdrich “Fleur”

Politicized Fictions

These authors focus on problematic social and political structures, particularly with regard to classist, racial and/or ethnic tensions.

  • Elena Poniatowska “The Night Visitor”
  • Austin Clarke “Leaving This Island Place”
  • Thomas King “The One About Coyote Going West”
  • Richard Wright “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald “Babylon Revisited”
  • William Faulkner “Pantaloon in Black”
  • Flannery O’Connor “Revelation”
  • Chinua Achebe “Civil Peace”
  • Nadine Gordimer “Is There Nowhere Else We Can Meet?”
  • Woody Allen “The Kugelmass Episode”
  • Maxine Hong Kingston “On Morality”
  • Emma Lee Warrior “Compatriots”
  • Thomas King “The One About Coyote Going West”
  • Dionne Brand “Photograph”
  • Anne Enright “Yesterday’s Weather”
  • George Saunders “Victory Lap”
  • Don DeLillo “Baader-Meinhof”
  • Edwidge Danticat “Between the Pool and the Gardenias”
  • Louise Erdrich “Fleur”
  • Tobias Wolff “Casualty”

Religion, Worship and Radical Belief Systems

  • Flannery O’Connor “Revelation”
  • Robert Stone “Misere”
  • Marie-Claire Blais “The Foresaken”
  • Maxine Hong Kingston “On Morality”

Women’s Experience

These authors write narratives of womanhood or employ strong feminist and/or distinct feminine perspectives to discuss the role of women in their respective societies.

  • James Joyce “The Dead”
  • Kate Chopin “Beyond the Bayou”
  • Sara Jeannette Duncan “The Pool in the Desert”
  • Katherine Mansfield “The Garden Party”
  • Sheila Watson “Antigone”
  • Tillie Olsen “I Stand Here Ironing”
  • Doris Lessing “A Man and Two Women”
  • Mavis Gallant “In Youth Is Pleasure” “Voices Lost in Snow”
  • William Trevor “The Piano Tuner’s Wives
  • Nadine Gordimer “Is There Nowhere Else We Can Meet?”
  • Toni Morrison “Recitatif”
  • Alice Munro “Fits” “Open Secrets”
  • Elena Poniatowska “The Night Visitor”
  • Angela Carter “The Company of Wolves”
  • Sandra Birdsell “The Wednesday Circle”
  • Barbara Gowdy “We So Seldom Look On Love”
  • Elizabeth Hay “The Friend”
  • Louise Erdrich “Fleur”
  • George Saunders “Victory Lap”
  • Sarah Hall “She Murdered Mortal He”
  • Don DeLillo “Baader-Meinhof”
  • Anne Enright “Yesterday’s Weather”
  • Karen Russell “Vampires in the Lemon Grove”
  • Edwidge Danticat “Between the Pool and the Gardenias”
  • Sherman Alexie “This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona”

Freudian Psychoanalytic Criticism

  • Edgar Allen Poe “The Fall of the House of Usher”
  • Albert Camus “The Guest”
  • D.H. Lawrence “The Prussian Officer”
  • James Joyce “The Dead” “Encounters”
  • Bruno Schulz “Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass”
  • Woody Allen “The Kugelmass Episode”
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald “Babylon Revisited”
  • Mavis Gallant “In Youth Is Pleasure” “Voices Lost in Snow”
  • Samuel Becket “Imagination Dead Imagine”
  • Robert Stone “Miserere”
  • Anne Enright “ Yesterday’s Weather”

Stories in Conversation

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald “Babylon Revisited” // Ernest Hemingway “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” [The expatriate experience]
  • Gustav Flaubert // Henry James [Emerging realism]
  • Alistair MacLeod // Gabriel Garcia Marquez [The birth of the story]
  • Margaret Atwood “Death By Landscape” // Jane Urquhart “The Death of Robert Browning” [Nature, environment, and the death of the artist]
  • Hawthorne “Rappacini’s Daughter” // Karen Russell “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” [Gardens and the representation of nature]
  • D.H. Lawrence // Katherine Mansfield [Utopia]

The Pictorial: Paintings, Drawings, and Photography in Short Fiction

  • Bruno Schulz “Sanitorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass”
  • John Berger “Islington”
  • Don DeLillo “Baader-Meinhof”
  • Margaret Atwood “Death by Landscape”
  • Dionne Brand “Photograph”
  • Jane Urquhart “The Death of Robert Browning”

Postmodern Diaspora

  • Austin Clarke “Leaving This Island Place”
  • Josef Skvorecky “panta rei”
  • Dionne Brand “Photograph”
  • Anita Desai “Surface Textures”
  • Chinua Achebe “Civil Peace”
  • Maxine Hong Kingston “On Morality”
  • Emma Lee Warrior “Compatriots”