Main 300 and
Dr. Robert Fletcher
will introduce you to the ways in which technoculture
has 1) become the subject of literary representation, and 2) begun to change
"literature" in its very forms. In other words, we'll look at
how computers and network culture are now often both the subjects and media
chosen by imaginative writers. We'll read fiction about cyberspace, view
a film about androids, navigate a multimedia text about
DISCLAIMER: I am neither a scholar of sci fi nor a computer geek. Why, you may then ask, am I teaching this course? Well, I started getting interested in the form of hypertext (electronically linked text) and how it was affecting reading and writing about six years ago; people writing about that subject tend also to philosophize and imagine in broader terms how technology is affecting human (or "posthuman") existence. So this course is modeled on those by scholars in the field (such as Rita Raley and Alan Liu) to reflect in different ways on the implications of living in a wired world.
M 8/25: Introduction. Deena Larsen's flash poem "Intruder"
W 8/27: A Bit of Prehistory
Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” (Atlantic Monthly July 1945) (Focus on sections 6, 7, and 8; merely skim the rest.)
Robert Coover, “The End of Books” (from The New York Times Book Review
Geoffrey Batchen, "Spectres of Cyberspace," Afterimage 23.3 (1995): 6-7 (BB)
Marie-Laure Ryan, from Introduction to Cyberspace Textuality (
F 8/29: "The Tradition
Excerpts on "Interactive Fiction" from Jay David Bolter's Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print (2nd ed., 2001) (handout or on reserve)
Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths” (1941), “Funes, His Memory” (1944), and “The Book of Sand” (1975) (all at BB), plus the hypertext version of the last story assembled by Maximus Clarke
Your first message should be posted to the electronic discussion board by class time today.
M 9/1: Labor Day. Begin reading Moulthrop's
W 9/3: Hypertext and
Robert Kendall, “Writing for the New Millenium: The Birth of Electronic Literature”
J. Yellowlees Douglas, “What Hypertexts Can Do That Print Narratives Cannot” (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader—click here to get it if you don’t have it.)
F 9/5: Stuart Moulthrop,
M 9/8: Meet in
W 9/10 and F 9/12:
M 9/15: Meet in
W 9/17 and F 9/19: Shelly Jackson, Patchwork Girl
M 9/22: Meet in
W 9/24: Patchwork Girl
F 9/26: Patchwork Girl
M 9/29: Meet in
Response essay on Victory Garden (written in Storyspace) due today.
W 10/1: Gibson's Burning Chrome.
F 10/3: Gibson's Burning
Gareth Branwyn's "The Radio Days of Cyberspace."
M 10/6: Meet in
Lance Olsen, "Virtual Termites: A Hypotextual Technomutant Explo(it)ration of William Gibson and the Electronic Beyond(s). Style 29.2 (1995): 287. Access by searching phrase "virtual termites" in EBSCOHost database.
N. Katherine Hayles, "Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers"
Listen to NPR segment on information markets; read article on Information Markets by Robin Hanson.
W 10/8 and F 10/10: Film: Blade Runner: The Director's Cut
M 10/13: Fall Break
W 10/15: Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
W 10/22: A
Bit More Theory/Criticism
Espen Aarseth, “Chapter 1: Ergodic Literature,” from Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature
Nick Montfort, "Cybertext Killed the Hypertext Star." (review of Aarseth's book) Electronic Book Review 11
Stephanie Strickland’s “Reader’s Guide” to E-lit genres
Optional: Markuu Eskelinen, “Cybertext Theory and Literary Studies, A User’s Manual” Electronic Book Review 12
F 10/31: Coverley,
Plus the following:
Coverley, “Califia—Historical Notes”
Jaishree Odin, “Unraveling the Tapestry of Califia: A Journey to Re-member History” (EBR 12)
Carolyn Guertin, “Anamnesis and Amnesia: The Cyberfeminist Archive in M.D. Coverley's Califia”
M 11/3: Meet in
New Media Poetry and Other Multimedia Forms on the WWW
Reading: Michael Joyce, "New Readers for New Stories" from Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture (2000) (BB or on reserve)
We'll look together at a couple of sites and then I'll turn you loose to find your own favorite examples of literature on the WWW.
A couple of resources:
Electronic Literature Organization Directory
Deena Larsen's Addicts Attic
Poems that Go
Plus, see the webliography of online sources I provide.