Monday, November 15, 2010

Charles May’s blog: Reading the Short Story

Charles May is an Emeritus Professor at California State University. He's taught English literature and published widely in the field for over 40 years but of more interest to me is the fact that he has been reading, reviewing and critiquing, and teaching people how to read, short stories for many years.

His blog on short stories and how to read them ( is a delight for anyone interested in reading and/or writing short fiction.

His posts are clear, easy to understand, informed and insightful. His knowledge about, and love of the short story form - in contrast to the novel - shines through each post; his archive is a treasure of explanation, opinion, critique and inquiry about the work of new as well as established/famous writers.

To get a flavour of the kind of issues May likes to discuss you might try reading a post from Monday 13th 2009 entitled, Robert Boswell, Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards and the half-known world - its not that I agree with everything he says, just that I'm pleased someone out there bothers to raise issues, ask questions and share their knowledge and expertise about short stories.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Trisha,

    I recently spent time looking at Charles May's blog while writing an academic paper - agree that it's great. I really liked one post he made where he talked about the reader journey in a short story:

    ‘You begin moving confidently along as if you were living in the real world... Events in such stories may seem to be... everyday reality, but at any moment, with a subtle shift, events unfold that can only happen in the world of wish or fear. However, by this time, you have been so gradually captured by the rhythm and tone of the story’s language that you will accept anything...’

    Love the idea of a 'world of wish or fear'!