Course Instructor Days Times Room


In English departments, we usually study literary texts in terms of their aesthetic form and semantic content. But what happens when we consider literary works not only as texts with characteristics such as form, genre, and theme but also as concrete, historical practices that take place within a media ecology? What are the relationships not only between “the medium” and “the message,” but also between works of literature and the entire range of communicative possibilities at a particular place and time? How are media and literature part of cultural systems? What effects does the appearance of new media have on literature? What pressures do new media technologies exert on existing literary forms? What new potentials do they open up?

This course will seek to generate and address such questions of the relationships between literature and media. We'll also have a special focus on questions of media sustainability—for instance, on the lifecycles of media, the resources they demand, and the forms of consumption they require or encourage.


Readings may include the following:

Bound, printed texts

• Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy    78-0415281294, Routledge

• Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media    978-0262631594, MIT

• Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams    978-0380010004, Avon

  • William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads

        978-1551116006, Broadview

• Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 2nd ed.    978-0393927931, Norton

• Bram Stoker, Dracula    978-0393970128, Norton

  • Henry James, Turn of the Screw & In the Cage    978-0375757402, Modern Library
  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad    978-0307477477, Anchor

Open Access, online text

  • Johns-Putra, et. al, eds., Literature & Sustainability: Concept, Text & Culture, Manchester

And other texts available online or via eLC