This course has concessions available

Great European Short Stories – Online

An opportunity to get to read the best short stories by modern European writers - in a single course. Well be asking ourselves the question, What makes a short story great? Each week we will read several stories by a master of the genre from Maupassant to Thomas Mann, to Camus, Nabokov and Calvino.

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

The course is open to anyone with an interest in literature. No previous knowledge of the topic is required.

What does this course cover

These are some of the writers and their stories we will be reading
Maupassant: Boule de Suif
Flaubert: A Simple Life
Thomas Mann: Death in Venice
Joseph Conrad : Heart of Darkness
Vladimir Nabokov: Spring in Fialta
Albert Camus: The Adulterous Wife
Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

At the end of the course you should be able to
' Recognise recurring themes in the short story genre
' Relate these to the wider world of modern literature
' Feel confident enough to explore further study of related fiction on your own

What will it be like

The course will be run online using Zoom for the live class sessions and either the Moodle page for the course or some other system for the distribution of the electronic resources for the session sitting alongside this. Although there will be some adjustments that need to be made for the online version of this course, we will aim to keep the experience as close as possible to that of a face to face course taught in the Centre.

The course is an interactive mixture of tutor exposition and class discussion. Videos and clips will also be shown and discussed.

What else do you need to buy or do

The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:

You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.

You can participate in class sessions through the use of a computer, laptop, tablet or other similar internet enabled device. Please note that if you only have access to a smartphone, you will be able to attend the class sessions and participate in them but you will find it more difficult to benefit from the full range of materials and activities involved in the course if this is your only means of connection.

Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session and that as far as possible that you can keep this space quite and clear of interruption so that you can concentrate on what is happening in the class.

By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may occasionally be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes but any such recordings will not be made available to anyone outside of the Mary Ward Centre organisation without us asking you again for further permission to do so.

Almost all these stories are available online, but it may be necessary to buy or borrow a few texts. Most can be bought cheaply, often secondhand, from bookselling websites. The texts that you are likely to need to have are:

Thomas Mann - Death in Venice
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Albery Camus - Exile and Kingdom

An extensive range of wider reading and links to other resources will also be provided through the Moodle website for the course.
Apart from the reading material, you should bring with pens, notepaper and file in which to store handouts and other course materials.

What this course could lead to

' A real appreciation of the European short story genre
' Further study of literature at Mary Ward or elsewhere

mwc logo

I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’