Department of English

University of Toronto


ENG287H1S  L0101 TR10-1
The Digital Text

Instructor: Erin Piotrowski

Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA


Brief Description of Course: What happens to literature and its study when text moves from page to screen? This class will focus on using digital tools to enhance and deepen traditional ways of reading and analyzing texts. We will use computer-assisted analysis to ask new questions about literature and to provide statistical grounds for answers to older questions—and we will learn how to integrate our findings meaningfully into our writing. Students will gain hands-on experience with quantitative textual analysis and digitization. No programming experience is required.

This class will also consider the emerging genre of ‘electronic literature’–that is, literature produced with and experienced on a computing device. By studying the technical foundations for the production of digital texts, we will learn how the encoding of literary texts affects the questions we can ask of them. We will analyze digital-born forms such as hypertext, interactive fiction, flash poetry, and video games, and we will question how such texts alter the role of the reader, change the nature of narrative, and affect the task of interpretation.

Required Reading: Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”; Nicholas Carr, “The Library of Utopia”; Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad; Michael Joyce, Twelve Blue; Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage; The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0.

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA.

Method of Evaluation: TBA.

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