Digital Literature (Engl 391, Fall 2008)

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Abstract (in English): 

What happens to literature and its study when text moves from page to screen? This course examines works of digital literature (literature created on the computer to be read on the computer) to understand how this emergent literary form affects the way we read, study, and understand literature. The course situates digital literature within literary history, examining connections to print hypertextual narrative, concrete poetry, OULIPO constraint-driven experiments, and other lineages. However, we also consider digital literature as a new form whose art “object” possesses computer-driven aesthetics— such as speed, animation, and multimodal semiotics— that produce decisively different literary effects and reading practices.

We will examine a varied collection of digital literature and genres including hypertext, interactive fiction, and kinetic poetry by such writers as Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, Erik Loyer, Jason Nelson, and Judd Morrissey. Our study will be bolstered by readings in theory and criticism by Katherine Hayles, Janet Murray, Lev Manovich, and others. Moving between creative and critical works in print and digital formats, we will strive to understand the state of this new literary field and its relation to print literature and traditional methods of literary study.

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Meri Alexandra Raita