Course Description

This course is devoted to a close reading and discussion of Peter Taylor's short story masterpiece "The Old Forest" and the novel for which he was awarded the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, "A Summons to Memphis." Robert Penn Warren said Taylor was one of the "real, and probably enduring masters of the short story." Yet he is still not widely read, a situation that a long-time book critic for the "Washington Post" called "an unfathomable mystery." Perhaps Taylor’s readership will grow, since in 2017 the Library of America published a set of his works. Taylor, who died in 1994, mostly wrote about Upper South gentry living during the early and mid 20th century, the setting for the two works we will discuss. Their underlying messages, however, transcend regionalism. The class will find his lucid writing style can often deceive us about a deeper meaning. As author Ann Beattie said about Taylor’s stories, the "surfaces are no more to be trusted than the first ice on a lake." . | Facilitated discussion.
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Section Title
Peter Taylor, Master Storyteller
Online - Zoom
1:30PM to 2:45PM
May 17, 2021 to Jun 14, 2021
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Virtual Classroom  
Course Fees
Section Notes

Please note: Students are to read the short story "The Old Forest" before the first class. It can be found in various books, any edition of which is fine. To facilitate references to the text during class meetings, all students should obtain the Vintage Books edition of "A Summons to Memphis."

Required reading: Peter Taylor, A Summons to Memphis (9780375701177) Peter Taylor, The Old Forest and Other Stories (9780312146955)