ENG 287, "The Digital Text"

This website grew out of the Spring 2012 and Fall 2013 sessions of ENG287, "The Digital Text," taught by Adam Hammond at the University of Toronto. Below is the course description for these two sections of the course:

Ours is the first generation to study literature in the digital age. E-books are outselling paperbacks; online scholarly databases are superseding library stacks; new works are being composed, distributed, and consumed electronically. How fundamental is this shift toward digitization? How does it affect the nature of the literary text, and how does it impact our work as readers and critics?

This course explores the interpretive and creative possibilities opened up by the shift from print to digital forms, as well as the social consequences of this transition. We will use computer-assisted analysis and visualization 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. 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. By analyzing digital-born forms such as webcomics, hypertext, interactive fiction, flash poetry, and video games, we will question how such texts alter the role of the reader, change the nature of narrative, and affect the task of interpretation.

Students will gain hands-on experience with and develop skills in quantitative textual analysis and text encoding. Students will participate in the production of a TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) edition of a section of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, which will be developed into a website entitled The Brown Stocking. No programming experience is required.