603-103-MQ, The Good, the Bad, and the Weird: Morality and Modernity in Short Fiction
A good part of life is strange – and no less strange in the stories we tell. Beginning with Kleist's fantastical critique in “Earthquake in Chile” and finishing with Saunders' apocalyptic satire in “Sea Oak,” this course will trace the “moral” trajectory of the “weird” and ask: what do stories do to come to terms with the absurdities of life? In what way do the fictions we tell—from the tall tale, to the awkward romance, to the ghost story—use the unusual as a means to assess our place in the universe? Looking to both the fantastical mundane and to magical realism (and its many precursors) we will discuss the moral landscape of the “weird.”