Syllabus for English 111 (section 2) Hypertext and Literary Theory

Professor Landow (office: 209 Horace-Mann; e-mail:; office hours: 10.30-12:00, Tuesday and Thursday. Class meets in the Multimedia Lab classroom 9:00-10:20 PM, Tuesday, Thursday, with an occasional hypertext lab in 265 CIT or the Multimedia Lab Wednesdays 7:00-10:00 PM.

Note 1: Since CIS no longer maintains the Storyspace server, we'll have to work out some other way for you to get various unpublished Storyspace readings. If I can't get a CD-ROM burned, you can get me Zip cartridges, which I'll load for you. As a practical matter, everyone should obtain their own Zip cartridge.

Note 2: Check this on-line reading list at the beginning of each week since assignments may change or be reordered.

Classweb: Cyberspace, Hypertext and Critical Theory

Week 1 (7 and 9 September). Digital Textuality and Digital Images. (1) some preliminary definitions; (2) digital vs. analogue media; (3) electronic and print

Reading: ; Explore World Wide Web. Jason Williams, Zoe (Director); Macromedia Director Webs from RISD: Checker, Dadagian, Fung, and other projects. Begin exploring the hypertext and related sections of the Cyberspace and Critical Theory Web as well as other World Wide Web resources. Take a look at Christy Sheffield Sanford's Safara in the Beginning

Recommended additional reading : William Mitchell, City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn; Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital.

Week 2 (14 and 16 September). Hypertext: an Introduction

(1) hypertext systems; (2) Convergences -- Derrida, Bakhtin, Barthes.

Reading: Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapters 1 and 2. The place of hypertext in the history of textuality; or textuality and technology. Reading: Bush, "As We May Think" [P]; Adelman and Kahn's animation of the Memex Literary Theory Web (Storyspace); and Fanuele, "Hypergraft" (Storyspace).

Recommended additional reading: Ong, Orality and Literacy [R], McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy [R]; Jakob Nielsen, Multimedia and Hyperyext: The Internet and Beyond.

Week 3 (21 and 23 September). Self and Author

Reading: Foucault, "Authors and Writers" [P]; Barthes, "What is an Author?" [P]; Hypertext 2.0, chapter 4; Ikai, "Electronic Zen;" Lars Hubrich's "Killing Me" in Cyberspace Web.

Writing assignment: e-mail one-page single-spaced discussion piece comparing Barthes and Foucault on authorship to me by 6 PM Monday, 20 September.

Recommended additional reading: Michael Di Bianco, Memory, Inc.

Friday, 24 September: Brief Storyspace exercise due: create a Storyspace web with (a) three kinds of links and (b) 10 lexias about any aspect of hypertext and literary theory.

Week 4 (28 and 30 September) The Act of Reading, Active Reading.

Reading: Barthes, S/Z; Kim, "Grains of Sand;" Adam Wenger, Adam's Bookstore; Mamousette and Flowers sections in Hypertext and Literary Theory Web (Storyspace).

Writing assignment: e-mail one-page single-spaced discussion piece concerning S/Z to me by 6 PM Monday, 28 September.

Week 5 (5 and 7 October) Bakhtin, Theorist of Multivocality and the Open Text.

Reading: Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics [R], xxxi-ix, 5-46, and The Dialogic Imagination [R], "Introduction," 3-83, 259-422. David Yun's Subway Story; Ho Lin, The Multivocal Man (Storyspace).

Weeks 6 and 7 (12 through 21 October). Reconceiving and Reconfiguring the Text.

Reading: Derrida, Dissemination; Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapter 2. Jonathan Green, Message in a Bottle; Roy Perlis, An Evening at Roy's. (SSp webs).

Writing assignment: e-mail one-page single-spaced discussion piece concerning Dissemination to me by 6 PM Monday, 19 October.

This project, which consists of two related exercises, involves creating (1) a substantial Storyspace web that explicates, challenges, critiques, or in some way relates to the theory of Derrida and at least one of the other theorists we have read. It may take the form of nonfiction, fiction, or a combination of the two; (2) an html version of the Storyspace web.

Week 8 (26 and 28 October). Reconfiguring Writing: the Rhetoric of Hypermedia, and Writing with Images

Reading: Landow, "Reconfiguring Writing" (Chapter 5 in Hypertext 2.0); Limarys Caraballo, Guyaba and Cream Cheese; Arlene Kim, Picture Book, Jane Park, Food for Thought; "Growing up Digerate" in Cyberspace web. Chapter by Ulmer in Hyper/Text/Theory. Schachner, Author's Tale (Storyspace).

Recommended additional reading: Gregory Ulmer, Teletheory; Mark C. Taylor and Esa Saarinen, Imagologies: Media Philosophy.

Friday 29 October: Midterm assignment due.

Week 9 (2 and 4 November). Hypertext as lens, or using (the experience of reading with) hypertext to read print (I): Calvino

Reading: Calvino, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler . . ..

Week 10 (9 and 11 November) Hypertext as lens, or using (the experience of reading with) hypertext to read print (II): Tennyson

Tennyson, In Memoriam; In Memoriam web (Storyspace).

Week 11 (16 and 18 November) Hypertext Fiction

Reading: Michael Joyce, Afternoon; Michael Joyce, "Siren Shapes: Exploratory and Constructive Hypertexts" [P]; Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapter 6. "Reconfiguring Narrative;" chapters by Liestøland Douglas in Landow, Hyper/Text/Theory.

Writing assignment: e-mail one-page single-spaced discussion piece concerning Afternoon to me by 6 PM Monday, 15 November.

Week 12 (23 November through 2 December). Hypertext Fiction

Reading Jackson, Patchwork Girl; Tom McHarg. The Hit Man Web and Ultramondane. Sections on Patchwork Girl in the class web.

[Reading Period begins 6 December; last day of classes: 10 December.]

Week 13 (7 December). Hypertext as Rhizome: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari; Rhizomatic Hypertext Fiction: Moulthrop

Reading: Deleuze and Guattari, Plateaus (selections); Landow, Hypertext 2.0. chapter 9; Meyer, Plateaus; (SSp webs);

Reading: Stuart Moulthrop, Victory Garden and "Rhizome and Resistance: Hypertext and the Dreams of a New Culture, " in Hyper/Text/Theory; Hakim Bey, TAZ.

9 December: Final project due. It can be scholarly, critical, theoretical, creative, experimental, or all of the preceeding and must investigate some aspect of a major theorist or theoretical issue in relation to hypertext. This project might take the form of a demonstration of the ways hypertext illuminates theory. Conversely, it might show how theory illuminates this new information technology or the new textuality that it produces.

Anyone wanting to create a final project involving either of the academic websites Prof. landow manages -- the Victorian and Postcolonial Webs should see him early enough to begin such a project.

Related Resources

Some Websites of Interest

Items followed by P can be found in packet obtainable from East Side Copy; those followed by R are on reserve; other readings appear either solely in electronic form or in electronic versions that supplement (tricky word!) print ones. Recommended additional readings are intended primarily for those who already know the assigned reading or who want places to begin for exercises or for the final project.

Available from Brown bookstore

Available in packet from East Side Copy

Cyberspace Web Hypertext