ENGL467 - Critical and Creative Approaches to Digital Textuality
0101 - Kari Kraus

Prerequisite: One English course in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department. Examines electronic literature and other aspects of the literary world online with a focus on experimental writing with computers. Topics may include digital fiction and storytelling, analysis of literary texts using digital tools, bots, book hacking, flash fiction, narrative in games, and the history of computer-generated writing. No programming experience required.

This course will explore the social, creative, and technological dimensions of digitized and born-digital cultural materials, including literature and games. The syllabus will include Endgame, a collaboration between author James Frey and Google’s Niantic Labs, which requires readers to follow clues and gather information across multiple media to assemble an incomplete narrative, solve puzzles, and discover real-world treasure. Students will also be introduced to what artist and scholar C. T. Funkhouser calls "prehistoric digital poetry": electronic novels, interactive fiction, and computer adventure games produced between 1959 and 1995 before the advent of the World Wide Web. Balancing this survey of born-digital literature, we will also look at emerging methods for analyzing the literary record, including the rise of so-called macroanalytics, which involve the use of computer-assisted methods to discover patterns in large corpora of texts. There are no technical pre-requisites for the course, but we will supplement class readings and discussion with lab exercises.