Assignment–spend 5-10 minutes with each of the following examples of “electronic literature” (time permitting). As you explore, consider how you would classify these works. How do they fit into your understanding of literature and art? Are they literary? Are they artistic? Are they cinematic? Do you enjoy them? Do you find them frustrating? What about them makes them so? Comment briefly about one or more of them in the space below. Continue reading “Electronic Literature”→
The dictionary defines “infrastructure” as “the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.” The works of sf we’ve read for today juxtapose human (or human-like, in the case of the “Vegetable Wife”) beings with infrastructural features, such as the mailman man-pillar in “Standing Woman,” who helps deliver the mail even as he transforms into a tree; or the “Vegetable Wife,” who grows like a plant in the main character’s cimmeg farm. Continue reading “Writing Infrastructure”→
The “Exquisite Corpse” game began as a parlor trick in the nineteenth century and became extremely popular within the Surrealist art movement in the early 1900s. Each artist would fold a piece of paper into thirds (or fourths, fifths, or sixths, depending on how many were playing) and sketch a body part of a corpse on one folded section. After a set amount of time, each would pass his work to another artist, who would continue drawing without knowing what the other artists had drawn before or after them. Once the sketch was complete, the artists would unfold their papers to reveal an exquisite corpse.
Reading: Lynn White, Jr: “The historical roots of our ecologic crisis” by Lynn White Jr (in the Ecocriticism Reader)
Prompt: Lynn White’s essay is filled with controversial theses, all of which tend to criticize the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. Read the essay, locate one such assertion, and offer a refutation of it or further support for it in one succinct paragraph. To get full credit you must proofread, cite from the text, and have a coherent argument.
Writing: Graded assignment (Creative).
1-2 pages, free-form. The “Land of Cockaigne” is a natural, utopian paradise that has persisted since antiquity. For this short assignment, describe your own version of the “Cockaigne.”
Prompt: Aristotle’s Poetics, some have argued, is nothing more than a very long recipe or formula for producing works of literature. For this assignment, create your own recipe or formula for the making of successful literature. The form is free, but you must cite and comment upon at least one passage from Aristotle’s Poetics in your paper.
Readings: Tyson, the New Criticism; T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” and “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
Prompt: In “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” Eliot discusses a peculiar anxiety that writers have about their potential for originality and argues that any “new” artistic form necessarily emerges from the past. For this assignment it is your task to locate one contemporary work of art or literature and write one paragraph about its relation to a previous work of art or literature.
Prompt: Now that you have read a variety of fairy tales along with Klages’ introduction to Structuralism, I hope you are beginning to notice distinct narrative patterns within such works. When you isolate the elements that contribute to such a pattern in a text you are focusing on its structural elements. While structuralist theory initially emerged from an analysis of linguistic patterns, such patterns can emerge from any system of signification. For this week’s focus on structuralism, I would like you to do two things:
Create a visualization of one pattern that you identify in one of the fairy tales that we read for class. This pattern can be an illustration of something we’ve discussed or something else entirely. Whichever pattern you identify, however, your task is to make a visual abstraction of it. Think of this as an analog form of “distant reading,” i.e., reading distantly without the help of data visualization software.
Write a paragraph that explains your diagram (1 page max, single-spaced).
The central claim that Donna Haraway makes in her “Manifesto” is that the figure of the cyborg–a portmanteau of the words “cybernetic” and “organism”–offers us a radical new way for to think about what it might mean to be human. The trouble with this, as she acknowledges, is that the cyborg in the popular imagination is usually hyper violent and militarized (think Robocop) or ridiculously over sexualized (think of any number of so-called “pleasure models” from the annals of science fiction). Your assignment today is to try to find an image of the cyborg that brings us closer to the model that Haraway has in mind. Search for about 5 minutes, and, once you’ve located your image, write a short paragraph the explains how, exactly, the image you’ve selected brings us closer to Haraway’s model. Make sure to include a link to the image you’ve found. Write your response in the “leave a reply” box below (or, as always, feel free to email me your response).
Writing Prompt: In his essay on the uncanny, Sigmund Freud describes the strange sensation one experiences when he or she feels both at home and estranged at the same moment. For this assignment it is your task to find one passage in your assigned chapter of Turn of the Screw that engages with any of the ideas that Freud expresses in “The Uncanny” and explicate the connection in one-two paragraphs of cleanly written and well organized analytic prose. Note that you must cite passages from both texts to receive full credit.