Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Electronic Literature (Online)

ENGL 074.936
instructor(s):

Is there a fundamental difference between literature on the page and literature on the screen? This course will help you to answer that question by introducing you to the emergent literary genre of electronic literature. Strictly speaking, e-literature must be created on a computer (born-digital), and readable only on a computer. This is because e-literature tends to employ hyperlinks, interactive virtual environments, and/or multimedia. In its innovative understanding of what a “text” can be, e-literature offers a unique set of problems for readers. For example, some e-literature can only be viewed on certain platforms, e-literature often does not exist in a static form, and it is often necessary to examine code in order to fully understand a work. This course seeks to demystify the genre of e-literature by introducing you to a range of e-literatures, including hypertext fiction, interactive literature, screen literature and computer-generated texts. To help us understand these texts, we will read works by media theorists such as N. Katherine Hayles and Lev Manovich. No prior knowledge of electronic literature is required and all course materials will be made available online.