Can fiction teach us how to live? This study offers a fresh take on the North American short story, exploring how the genre has engaged in the construction and circulation of 'life knowledge'. Echoing the resurgence of short story scholarship in recent years, it thus contributes to the growing field of 'literature and knowledge' studies. Drawing on stories from the late 19th century to the present by authors such as Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eudora Welty, Junot Díaz, and Alice Munro, Michael Basseler examines how knowledge about life and how to live it is generically constituted and, vice versa, how literary genres such as the short story are embedded in broader cultural frameworks of knowledge production.
Michael Basseler (Dr. habil.), born in 1976, works as Academic Manager at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at the University of Gießen. His research focuses on US-American literature and culture as well as literary and cultural theory, especially the study of narrative, African American literature, and the short story. His current project deals with the concept of resilience from a literary and cultural perspective.