20th century short stories

we start on 15 February 2024

6 stories
7 pm CET
6 speaking club meetings

What will you find here?

6 carefully chosen short stories by the greatest English-speaking writers from the 20th century.

This club is for those who already know English quite well. While you are enjoying a fine read and a nice discussion,

your English will progress to another level.

The short story was written by J. D. Salinger. It was published in The New Yorker on April 8, 1950, and was included in Salinger’s Nine Stories two years later.

It tells about a sergeant who met a young girl before being sent into combat in World War II.

“For Esmé—with Love and Squalor” was conceived as a tribute to those Second World War veterans who in their post-war life were suffering from so-called “battle fatigue” – post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The story also tells the general public what many ex-soldiers endured.

Salinger himself served as a non-commissioned officer of intelligence services at the European front – the narrator “Sergeant X” is “suspiciously like Salinger himself”. The story is more than just a personal recollection; rather, it is an effort to offer hope and healing – a healing of which Salinger himself partook.

This modernist short story was written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and was published in The Saturday Evening Post on May 22, 1920. 

It tells about a young girl who lives in the South of the USA and falls in love with a guy from a Northern state. What came out of it?
The story is very symbolic, thought-provoking and leaves room for many interpretations.

This short story was written by John Updike and published in The New Yorker in 1975.

It tells about a couple that have lived all their life together, raised four children and when their relationships fell apart and they decided to separate, it turned out that the main problem was how to tell their children about the divorce.

First published in The New Yorker in 1977, Woody Allen’s hilarious story The Kugelmass Episode portrays a bored, unhappily married, unsatisfied professor of humanities who is looking for an affair… be afraid of what you wish for, it might just come true…

The story was written by James Joyce and published in his 1914 collection Dubliners.

It tells about a teenage boy who falls in love with his friend’s sister. The reader gets instantly immersed into the atmosphere of the city and the emotions of the boy.

Kurt Vonnegut’s “Confido” was considered not suitable for publishing in the 1950s. This short story was too far ahead of their time, very radical and has a darkly ironic tone.

The story deals with Henry, who works for a company that manufactures hearing aids. He accidentally invents a device he thinks is a gateway to fame and money. It’s an earpiece that talks to the listener, like a true companion…

Pop-up boxes

Pop-up boxes with explanations of the words, phrases, and tricky grammar issues.

A downloadable dictionary

A downloadable dictionary and access to a vocabulary learning platform to help you remember new words.

Grammar tips

Also, you’ll get some very useful grammar tips.

Speaking club

When you finish reading a short story, you will get access to the zoom meeting to discuss the text and the related problems.