Master Class – A story collection is almost always at cross-purposes with itself. Individual stories have to stand on their own, but at the same time, the collection itself must pursue some kind of coherence. We want it to read not as a miscellany, but as book. Put another way: we want a hedgehog as well as a fox.
How do we make it both? How do the stories in any given book resonate with, speak to, off-set, or otherwise justify their living together under the same spine. We'll look at the traditional collection, the collection of linked stories, and the themed anthology to try to figure out how they succeed and where they stumble (if in fact they do). For the written component of this class, you'll be proposing your own themed anthology for which you will write a short (three pages) introduction which explores the theme, plus a provisional table of contents consisting of the stories that in a perfect and rights-blind publishing universe you would choose to anthologize. Or, if you prefer, you may take any volume of Collected Stories, and "make" a Selected Stories from it. In this case, the introduction should make the argument for your selection. You'll have the opportunity to discuss your projects in class, and discuss strategies that will hopefully be useful for organizing your own work.