In this course, students will learn about and experiment with new ways of approaching novels via the “digital humanities.” Digital humanities means many things, but for our purposes, it emphasizes the use of digital tools and spaces to create new ways of reading and writing about a literary form (the novel) that was the dominant entertainment platform, so to speak, of the nineteenth century.
Three novellas by Herman Melville are our “primary texts,” but these texts–amazing though they are–are really only the specimens for our experiments: the subtitle of the course is “doing things with novels,” and we will indeed do things other than merely reading novels and writing about them. Together we will build things and share them, with each other and the broader public: we will produce an audiobook of Bartleby, the Scrivener, create an annotated version of Benito Cereno, and “play” Billy Budd by taking on the roles of various characters in and around the text via the Ivanhoe theme in WordPress.
By the end of the course, students will have learned new skills and, more importantly, new ways of thinking about what novels can be and do in an era when reading increasingly happens on interconnected screens.
Course requirements: rigorous reading, informal writing (on a course blog), enthusiastic participation, participation in group digital projects and a final essay or project.
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