English 10, Introduction to Literary Study Course website: www.lisaswanstrom.net/english10.htm

(Literature & Culture of Information Emphasis)

Enrollment Code 15420

Time: TR, 5:00- 6:40p.m.

Location: HSSB 1206;

on-line forum:



Lisa Swanstrom, Instructor swanstro@hotmail.com

phone: (805.231.4809)

Office Hours: T,R 3:30-4:30

Office: Phelps 6330


“I haven't lost my mind; it's backed up on tape somewhere.”



Data Made Flesh or Flesh Turned Code? Issues of Identity in the Digital Age

In addition to providing a general introduction to literary study, this course will seek and explore connections between literature and technology, with special emphasis paid to issues of identity in the Age of Information. Through a close reading of a broad range of literary forms, including comic books, novels, short fiction, poetry, and hyper-linked meta-texts, we will consider the role technology plays in our conception of human being, as well as how our conception of human being shapes and influences our technology. In light of this guiding consideration, we will discuss and question techno-textual representations and manifestations of things such as memory, gender, information, science, consciousness, and embodiment.

Note: If you are a student with a disability and would like to discuss special academic accommodations, please contact me by e-mail or during office hours.

Required Texts:

Bradbury, Ray. The Illustrated Man

Gibson, William. Neuromancer

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels

Course Reader (Available at the UCSB Bookstore)

Grade Breakdown:

Participation (physical) 10 %

Participation (virtual) 5

Periodic Response Papers (1 page, single-spaced) & Quizzes 15

Web Project (no prior knowledge of web-weaving required!)10

Presentation(s) (your choice of two texts to show and tell) 10

Mid-term (paper 1, 6-9 pages, typed & double-spaced) 25

Final (paper 2, 6-9 pages, typed & double-spaced) 25

Late papers will be penalized a full letter grade for each day past due. You are, however, allowed to turn in one late paper, no questions asked, within a week of the original deadline. This does not apply for the final paper.

Attendance: Since this class will offer frequent opportunities for in-class writing, peer revision, and group discussion, attendance is mandatory. It is generally not possible to make up missed class work.

Plagiarism Warning: Materials submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student’s own efforts. Any act of academic dishonesty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.


Note: syllabus is provisional and subject to change.


Week 1

Writing & Technology as Cure and Curse


Introduction to the class

Homework: sign into the class forum; read Plato, McLuhan, & Clowes for Thursday; all texts on reserve at library.



Plato’s Phaedrus (available on-line: http://eserver.org/philosophy/plato/phaedrus.txt)

Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage (excerpt, in reader)

Daniel Clowes’ 8-Ball # 23. The Death-Ray (on reserve at library)

Homework: sign into the class forum. read Freud, Kafka, and Bradbury for Tuesday

Suggested reading: Viola


Weeks 2 & 3

The Technology of Memory



Freud’s “A Note Upon the Mystic Writing Pad” (in reader)

Kafka “In the Penal Colony” (available on-line: http://www.adam16mr.org/kafka.txt)

Selections from Bradbury’s Illustrated Man: the Prologue and “The Veldt”

Suggested reading: Viola’s “Will There Be Condominiums in Cyberspace?” (in reader)

Homework: start reading Neuromancer



Response 1 due.

Film: Christopher Nolan’s Memento

Homework: read Foucault, Rilke, Ellison, and Vonnegut for Tuesday; continue reading Neuromancer

Suggested reading: Deleuze

Suggested reading: Tsutsui

Weeks 4 & 5

Literature & Technology of Surveillance



Foucault’s “Panopticism” (in reader)

Harlan Ellison’s “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” (in reader)

Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” (in reader)

Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Panther” (in reader)

Suggested reading: Gilles Deleuze’s “Postscript on Control Societies” (in reader)

Suggested reading: Yasutaka Tsutsui’s “Standing Woman” (in reader)

Homework: read Swift and Holub for Thursday; continue reading Neuromancer



Response 2 due.


Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (excerpts from Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Balnibari & Laputa)

Miroslav Holub’s “In the Microscope” (in reader)

Homework: read Baudrillard, Coleridge, and Bradbury for Tuesday; continue reading Neuromancer

Suggested reading: de Bord

Suggested reading: Heidegger

Week 6

Society of Mind(s): Gender, Self-Perception, and Virtual Communities


Game Day: Adventure Quest, Kaboom! The LamdaMoo, etc.

Homework: finish reading Lux, Caroll, Turkle, Pham, Minsky, Burns, Semonides for Thursday




Sherry Turkle’s “Cyberspace and Identity” (in reader)

Alex Pham’s “Boy, You Fight Like a Girl” (in reader)

Marvin Minsky’s “Society of Mind” (excerpt, in reader)

Thomas Lux’s “The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently,” (in reader)

Robert Burns’ “To a Louse” (in reader)

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” & [Humpty Dumpty’s Explication of Jabberwocky] (in reader)

Semonides of Amorgos’ Greek Lyric “An Essay on Woman” (in reader)

Homework: read Amis, Shelley, cummings, Emmet, and Nelson

Suggested reading: David Hume’s “Abstract on the Treatise on Human Nature” (available online: http://www.class.uidaho.edu/mickelsen/texts/Hume%20%20-%20Abstract.htm)


Weeks 7 & 8

Gardens of Forking (Hypertext) Paths


Response 4 due.


Theodor N. Nelson’s “Proposal for a Universal Electronic Publishing System and Archive” (in reader)

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandius” (in reader)

Martin Amis’ “ Denton’s Death”

e.e. cummings’ “ r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r ,” (available on-line: http://www.poets.org/poems/poems.cfm?prmID=1184)

William Emmet’s “Typewriter,” (available on-line: http://transcriptions.english.ucsb.edu/MA/Williams-typewriter.gif)

Homework: read Borges, Zeno’s paradox, Holub, Bloomfield (on-line), Return to the Cave of Time, Hughes; Consider: the structure of Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man

Suggested reading: “Death and the Compass”




Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” (in reader)

Miroslav Holub’s poem “The Minotaur on Love” (in reader)

Zeno’s Paradox (available on-line: http://www.mathacademy.com/pr/prime/articles/zeno_tort/index.asp)

Return to the Cave of Time, Choose Your Own Adventure #50 (on reserve)

Lisa Bloomfield and Rod Val Moore’s cybertext “Two Brothers” http://www.drunkenboat.com/db6/ (on-line)

Langston Hughes’ poem “Garden” (in reader)

Suggested reading: Jorge Luis Borges’ “Death and the Compass” (in reader)

Homework: read Haraway, Monkey Versus Robot, Flaming Lips

Weeks 9 & 10

Simulation, Spectacle, Cyberspace


Response 3 due.


William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Suggested reading: Lev Manovich’s “Principles of New Media” (in reader)

Suggested reading: Nicola Nixon’s “Cyberpunk” (in reader)

Homework: start reading Lux, Turkle, Pham, Minsky, Burns, Semonides for Thursday. Continue working on rough draft.

Suggested reading: Hume


Discussion: Neuromancer, Continued

Homework: continue reading Lux, Turkle, Pham, Minsky, Burns, Semonides for next Thursday.

Suggested reading: Hume; Nixon

Finish rough draft of mid-term paper for Thursday. E-mail me your draft by Wednesday night for Peer Review.

Rough Draft Workshop in Leadbetter Lab

Rough draft of Paper 1 due.

Discussion: Neuromancer, Continued

Peer Review

Homework: final paper due on Tuesday