LIT 6934 (FALL 2018)

LIT 6934 (sect. 903)
“Workshop of Filthy Creation”
Digital Humanities Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Literature
FALL 2018
TUES. 6:30-9:15pm
CPR 257
Professor Steven Jones
CPR 303
Office hours: T, 3:00-5:00pm; TH, 12:30-2:30pm (and other times by appointment)

The title of this graduate seminar is taken from Mary Shelley’s science fiction novel, Frankenstein, published 200 years ago. In this course we’ll study the novel in detail and use its text and others as a series of case studies in order to explore Digital Humanities approaches to literature—electronic editions, multimodal storytelling, text analysis and visualization, data-rich mapping, etc. We’ll also read a number of other nineteenth-century British writings that address what we now call technology, including Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley, a selection of Romantic poetry, and ballads and songs by and about the original Luddites, nineteenth-century industrial workers who organized in resistance to the mechanization of their own workshops.

This seminar will apply to the study of nineteenth-century British literature a range of specific DH tools and methods, including :

  • digitization and the curation of archives
  • text markup and electronic editing
  • text mining, data analysis, and data visualization
  • maps and humanities-oriented geospatial techniques
  • the use of digital platforms for multimodal composition and publication

As a result of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand—critically and in context—a collection of key nineteenth-century British novels and poems
  • explore issues surrounding digital humanities when it comes to literature studies
  • experiment with the application of a range of specific DH methods and tools
  • use a digital platform to produce a multimodal essay

Please adhere to the USF Graduate Student Policy, found here:

Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) in order to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request. Student responsibilities:

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MA Lit cultural-critical studies
MA Lit elective
MA R/C 1-2 other electives
MFA elective (5 courses)
PhD Lit theory-rich course
Non-core course for Graduate Certificate in DH

Requirements include the application of DH tools and techniques, demonstrated in two class presentations, and a final multimodal essay on an online platform. The seminar will be coordinated with USF’s joining of the worldwide commemoration of the anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein in 1818, including a screening of The Bride of Frankenstein (September 10) and a public “Frankenreads” event on Halloween. Grades will be distributed approximately as follows:

Class participation . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Regular online writing . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Demo-presentations with discussion . . . . 40%
Final multimodal essay, published online . . 40%

Demo-presentations will involve choosing a digital tool or platform and applying it to the readings for that week (using additional texts as necessary), then presenting the results of the experiment for 10-15 minutes, followed by brief class discussion. So for example you might present on a key scene in the novel Shirley using a few selected visualizations from Voyant tools to highlight interesting linguistic features of the scene in relation to the novel as a whole. Or, to imagine anther example, you might demonstrate—by writing actual XML—the difficulty of applying TEI markup to an anonymous Luddite ballad.

The final multimodal essay will be on either (1) key affordances and constraints of a particular DH tool/approach as illustrated by textual examples from the syllabus or related nineteenth-century literature; or (2) some aspect of a particular nineteenth-century literary text or set of texts brought into focus for critical analysis by DH tools/platforms. In each case, you’ll consult and cite appropriate critical and theoretical works. The result will take advantage of digital publication’s affordances, its ability to include images, video, audio, interactive graphs and visualizations, and other media, and to integrate these with written text as part of the essay’s rhetoric. Weekly writing on an online platform will allow you to develop the essay gradually over the course of the semester.

Juxta Commons:
Mozilla Introduction to HTML:
The Programming Historian lessons:

As part of our examination of the digital forms of texts, we’ll explore various electronic editions of all the texts on the syllabus, even those we’re reading in paper editions.

To purchase:
Brontë, Charlotte. Shirley (Penguin Classics)
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein (Broadview Edition)
Shelley, Mary. The Last Man (Oxford World Classics)

Digital, open-access:
British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism (Romantic Circles):
Luddite literature:
Peake, Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein (Romantic Circles):
Romantic poetry and other writings (Byron, Burns, Elliott, Hunt, Keats, Shelley, Smith, Wordsworth):
Shelley, Frankenstein (Romantic Circles):
Shelley, The Last Man (Romantic Circles):
Sykes and Walker, Ben O’Bill’s, The Luddite: A Yorkshire Tale:

(subject to revision before August 20, 2018)
21 introductions; visit from Barbara Lewis, USF Library, on DH tools
28 Luddite literature (Anon.: Letter “from Robin Hood’s Cave,” “Cropper’s Song,” “Horsfall’s Mill,” “General Ludd’s Triumph”; Taylor: “Distress of the Poor”; Byron: letter to Holland, speech to the House of Lords, “Song for the Luddites,” “Ode To the Framers of the Frame Bill”)

4 Romantic poetry (Keats: “To one who has been long in city pent,” “Robin Hood”; Hunt: “How Robin and His Outlaws Lived in the Woods”; Byron: “Prometheus”)
11 Frankenstein
18 Jacqueline Wernimont lecture on Numbered Lives
25 Frankenstein

2 Presumption, other adaptations (Bride of Frankenstein screening 9/10)
9 Romantic poetry (P.B. Shelley: “Song: to the Men of England,” “England in 1819,” “The Masque of Anarchy”)
16 British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism
23 The Last Man; Byron: “Darkness”; Smith: Sonnet XLIV
30 The Last Man; P.B. Shelley: “Letter to Maria Gisborne” (Frankenreads event, all day 10/31)

6 Shirley
13 Shirley
20 Ben O’Bill’s; Wordsworth: “On the Projected Kendal and Windermere Railway,” “Steamboats, Viaducts, and Railways”
27 presentations of final multimodal essays