Lecture: Reflecting on the Course

As we wrap up the semester, I thought it might be useful to reflect back on where we started this semester by returning to the course introduction, found at the beginning of the syllabus. If you choose to take advantage of the Participation Post make-up work or the Reading Response make-up work or extra credit […]

Lecture: On Hayles’ “The Future of Literature”

Books will not disappear, but neither will they escape the effects of the digital technologies that interpenetrate them. More than a mode of material production (although it is that), digitality has become the textual condition of twenty-first-century literature. — N. Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature, 186 Having presented the general argument of Electronic Literature: New Horizons […]

Lecture: On Hayles’ “Revealing and Transforming”

Through such intermediations, computation evolves into something more than a technical practice, though of course it is also that. It becomes a powerful way to reveal to us the implications of our contemporary situation, creating revelations that work both within and beneath conscious thought. Joining technical practice with artistic creation, computation is revalued into a […]

Lecture: The Oulipo

While we’ve encountered the Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or Oulipo, a number of times already, we take a close look at them this week. Founded in 1960, the Oulipo, which roughly translates as Workshop for Potential Literature, was co-founded by novelist and poet Raymond Queneau and mathematician François Le Lionnais, inspired by their collaboration on Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes (Hundred […]

On Ramsay’s “‘Patacomputing” and “Postconditions”

With the chapter “‘Patacomputing,” Stephan Ramsay returns us the concept of pataphysics (the science of imaginary solutions), which he introduced us to in the second chapter of Reading Machines, “Potential Literature.” If you recall that reading and its corresponding lecture, you’ll remember that Ramsay drew specifically upon C. P. Snow’s 1959 lecture “The Two Cultures and the […]

Lecture: Introduction to Week 12

“In an age when the computer itself has gone from being a cold arbiter of numerical facts to being a platform for social networking and self-expression, we may well wonder whether those new kinds of critical acts are in fact already implicit in the many interfaces that seek only to facilitate thought, self-expression, and community. […]

Lecture: On Hayles’ “Intermediation: From Page to Screen”

In the “Intermediation: From Page to Screen” chapter of  Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary, N. Katherine Hayles introduces the concept of intermediation as a way of understanding the complex interactions taking place between a human reading a work of electronic literature and the text themselves as they are performed by “an intelligent machine” (44). Intermediation, she […]

Lecture: On Price’s “Edition, Project, Database, Archive, Thematic Research Collection”

While Kenneth Price’s purpose for writing “Edition, Project, Database, Archive, Thematic Research Collection: What’s in a Name?” is to propose a new term for describing the kinds of “large-scale, text-based electronic scholarship” (par. 1) now taking place, the article serves a useful purpose in bringing together and exploring various terms we’ve encountered this term. As he […]

Lecture: Introduction to Week 11

“The danger in applying critical models developed for print is that the new possibilities opened for literary creation and interpretation will simply not be seen. Whatever limitations intermediation as a theory may have, its virtue as a critical framework is that it introduces computation into the picture at a fundamental level, making it not an optional […]

Cyberpunk, Pre-, Classic-, and Post-

Our primary focus this week is on the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. It’s neither quite right to say that cyberpunk “emerged” in the early 1980s or to say that it “died off” or “ended” by the mid-1990s.1 We see many of the elements of cyberpunk – the outsider as protagonist; a near-future setting in a media-saturated […]