English 630TT: The Technology of Textuality
This class will examine how meaning is derived both from the materiality of the text and from the part it plays in social situations. We will focus on texts from two periods during the Middle Ages, the Anglo-Saxon period (roughly 500-1100) and the fourteenth century, looking at how these texts were written and read, and how their meanings relate to the technologies and performances by which they were produced. In the process, we will consider the impact of the transition from oral to scribal culture and from memory to written record on the categories we call ‘literature’ and ‘information’. This will be a demanding course, and students should be willing to engage with the original language and script of medieval texts. We will be looking at manuscript facsimiles online, so regular internet access is essential. As part of our examination of the technology of textuality, we will be reflecting on the means by which modern digital texts are produced. The creation of web pages and the learning of some basic HTML will be a required part of the course.
Students in this course will:
- Gain an understanding of the ramifications of considering the materiality of medieval manuscript and modern digital texts.
- Acquire familiarity with medieval scribal culture and a range of medieval literary texts.
- Gain an understanding of the relationship between the technology of texts and their social functions.
- Learn to produce a basic web page.
- Acquire an introductory understanding of some techniques for using technology to study literature and the digital humanities.