Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG287H1S L0101

ENG287H1S  L0101 MW 2-5
The Digital Text 

Instructor: 
Erin Piotrowski
Office Location: 
Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA
Email: 
erin.piotrowski@mail.utoronto.ca

Brief Description of Course: What happens to literature and its study when text moves from page to screen? This classwill focus on using digital tools to enhance and deepen traditional ways of reading andanalyzing texts. We will use computer-assisted analysis to ask new questions aboutliterature and to provide statistical grounds for answers to older questions—and we willlearn how to integrate our findings meaningfully into our writing. Students will gainhands-on experience with quantitative textual analysis and digitization. No programmingexperience is required.This class will also consider the emerging genre of ‘electronic literature’–that is, literatureproduced with and experienced on a computing device. By studying the technicalfoundations for the production of digital texts, we will learn how the encoding of literarytexts affects the questions we can ask of them. We will analyze digital-born forms such ashypertext, interactive fiction, flash poetry, and video games, and we will question howsuch texts alter the role of the reader, change the nature of narrative, and affect the taskof interpretation.

Required Reading: Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Nicholas Carr, “The Library of Utopia,”Jennifer Egan, Black Box, Caitlin Fisher, Circle ,Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage, The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0.

Method of Evaluation: TBA.

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