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    English 226 Focus on Literary Theme, Form or Mode: Call #7568

David Parry

    Spring 2006 Office Number: 391

    T-Th 4:15-5:35 LC11 Office Hours: TTH 3:00-4:00

Course Description

    With the rise of digital literacy, what was once marginal “geek” culture has come to dominate the social landscape. Criticism has ranged from outright dismissal (“nothing has changed”) to hyperbolic (“nothing will ever be the same”). Regardless of where one takes up position along this spectrum, the now ubiquitous potential of the digital text raises two crucial questions: What/How much changes in the digital text? And perhaps more importantly, how does this move to the digital text affect us as readers? In class we will ask these questions (along with a host of others) of a variety of literary texts.

Required Texts:

    -The following texts are available at Mary Jane’s 465-2238

    House of Leaves-Mark Danielewski

    Paper Machines-Jacques Derrida

    Patchwork Girl-Shelley Jackson

    First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game-Noah Wardrip Fruin

-Order on your own, available from Amazon, or any Gaming store

    Deus Ex: Invisible War-Eidos Interactive

Course Reader-Available at Shipmates 458-7758

Course Requirements

    Participation and Attendance (35% of grade)

    Students are expected to come to class on time, prepared, having completed the assigned reading, and ready to contribute their thoughts to class discussions, to listen seriously and respectfully to the thoughts of others, and to participate in all in-class group work and writing activities. I strongly urge you to attend every class, as most of the work for this class is done in class. Only three absences are permitted, and these should be used for illness or emergencies (i.e. this does not mean three absences plus absences for illness etc.). Missing more than three classes will affect your grade. More than five absences will result in failing the class. Falling asleep in class constitutes a cut. If you need to miss class for religious reasons, please speak to me ahead of time. Absences for religious purposes do not count against the permitted number (as long as prior notification is given). Lateness is also unacceptable; if you arrive late to class, you will be marked as absent.

    As part of your class participation grade you will be required to post weekly discussion questions, and in some cases respond to your peers’ postings, on the class discussion forum.

    These should not be simple yes/no questions, but rather questions that prompt further discussion. More information regarding the discussion forum will be discussed in class. The forum can be accessed at through the class website at

Weekly Writing Assignments (20%)

    There will be short written assignments from week to week. These may consist of responses to the text, reviews of other online works, or quizzes at the beginning of class.

Papers (45% of grade)

    There are three major written assignments for this course: a take-home midterm, a four-page paper, and a final paper (which will be an expansion of your first). A student who is unable to meet a deadline for any reason must communicate this before the deadline to

    request an extension. Lateness will result in a lower grade. To pass the course a student must turn in all the required assignments. I am happy to provide feedback on papers in progress; however, I do ask that you provide a copy of the draft at least 24 hours prior to our meeting so that I have time to carefully look over the work. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and will result in an F for the assignment and can result in failing the class.


    This class is graded on an A-E scale.

A Note on Technology

    As this course has at its core questions about technology, we will be expanding our view beyond print/analog-based texts. Thus students should be prepared to engage these digital mediums even when they present themselves as barriers. During the first few weeks some time will be spent in an effort to familiarize students with the various technological/textual formats. While I do not expect students to have technical proficiency, a willingness to learn the techniques necessary to “read” these digital works is a must. If you have any problems

    with the technology (access to computers, etc.) please raise these with me and we can work out a way around them. But this means that often you will need to plan ahead and make sure you have the prerequisites to do the work.

    An email address which you use is required for the class.

Office Hours

    My office is located in HU 391. I have office hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 until 4:00; please feel free to stop by. If those times do not work for you, talk to me after class, or email me, and we can find another time. I am more than willing to spend time out of class to help you with the material.

A Final Note:

    Should any aspect of the class confuse/concern/trouble you, or if you have questions about any of this, please see me.

Schedule of Readings

    thFirst Class-Overview Jan. 24 thBorges, “The Garden of Forking Paths” 26

    Ellison, “Deathbird Stories” (Both in Reader)

     stDerrida, “The Book to Come” and “Word Processor” (Paper Machines) 31 ndMoulthrop, “From Work to Play” (First Person) Feb. 2

    Joyce, “Notes Towards an Unwritten” (online)

     thAarseth, “Nonlinerarity and Literary Theory” (Reader) 7 thHouse of Leaves Foreword-pg. 24 9

     thRyan, “Immersion to Interactivity” 14

    Ryan, “Hypertext: The Functions and Effects” (Reader) thHouse of Leaves pg.24-80 16

     st Feb 21Winter Break rd 23 Winter Break

     th 28 Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (Reader) ndMar. 2 House of Leaves pg. 80-153

     th 7 House of Leaves pg. 153-246 th 9 House of Leaves pg. 246-313

     th 14 Joyce, Twelve Blue (Online) th 16 House of Leaves pg. 313-353 (Start Online Caroline-online)

     st 21 Douglas, “How Do I Stop This Thing” (Reader)

     Rita Raley, “Reveal Codes” (Online) rd 23 House of Leaves pg. 353-408

     th 28 Jackson, Patchwork Girl th 30 House of Leaves pg. 408-490

     thApr. 4 House of Leaves pg. 490-528 th 6 Derrida, “Paper or Me, You Know . . .” (Paper Machine)

     th 11 Spring Break th 13 Spring Break

     th 18 Online Caroline; Paper 1 Due th 20 Online Caroline

     Walker, “How I Was Played by Online Caroline” (First Person)

     th 25 Deus Ex th 27 Deus Ex

     Slocombe, “A “Majestic” Reflexivity” (Reader)

     ndMay 2 Deus Ex

     Zimmerman, “Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games”

     Jenkins, “Game Design as Narrative Architecture” (Both in First Person) th 4 Deus Ex

     Penny, “Representation, Enaction, and the Ethics of Simulation” (First Person)

     Chess, “Playing the Bad Guy” (Reader)

     th 9 Final Papers Due

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