Christian Howard (University of Virginia) authored a post that was cross posted on the Washington and Lee Digital Humanities blog and the Scholar’s Lab Blog at the University of Virginia in which he describes a collaboration with Taylor Walle (Washington and Lee University) in the English 232 class, “Frantic and Sickly, Idle and Extravagant: The Gothic Novel, 1764-2002.” Their collaboration centered on exploring distinctions between ‘highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’ literature. Howard integrated his work on post-press literature on platforms like Twitter into the class
The students were particularly interested in the interactivity and changing role of the reader/user demanded by digital literature. One student observed that the physical reactions to print literature and interactive digital literature are different in that interactivity heightens the physical response, especially during moments of shock or horror (if you want to experience this yourself, check out the webcomic “Bongcheon-Dong Ghost”). Another student speculated that it might be precisely because of these visceral reactions that such digital literature is relegated to “horror” or “popular” genres rather than being considered “serious” literature.
After the class was over, Taylor expressed her enthusiasm for the material and medial considerations that this foray into the digital had on her class. I know I certainly enjoyed the lively and insightful conversation that emerged from this unlikely pairing of the gothic and the digital, and I am excited to think more about the developing and emerging genres inspired by these new literary forms!