The purpose of this critical introduction is to show your awareness of how your own fiction may be related to the work of prominent theorists and/or practioners in the art. The specific terms of the preface will be highly individualized, of course, and will be worked out along the course of the semester with the instructor. However, all graduate students in the course are required to study these three important essays on the art or history of fiction (made available online or by instructor):
Henry James, The
Art of Fiction
Mikhail Bakhtin, "Epic and the Novel," from The Dialogic Imagination
Eudora Welty, "Place in Fiction"
Other theoretical readings or additional readings in fiction that could help a student situate his or her own writing may develop in discussion with the instructor. The preface may also treat literary and nonliterary influences on the student's work as well as reflection on prominent techniques and themes. The preface should be 8-10 pages in length and follow the same manuscript rules spelled out for other assignments in the course.