ENGL378R Storytelling with Code
This course is a gentle introduction to the Python programming language for writers and artists.
In June 1964, Rudd Fleming, professor of literature at the University of Maryland, was interviewed by The Washington Post about a new collection of sensational verse. What piqued his interest—and that of readers across America—were the unusual circumstances of literary production: this peculiar corpus of English poetry, you see, was authored not by a human, but by a machine. Offering what may be the earliest known example of an academic critique of computer-generated literature for the mainstream press, Fleming planted an early flag for storytelling with code at the University of Maryland.
This course is a gentle introduction to the Python programming language for writers and artists. Designed to complement the close reading and creative writing skills honed in your English courses, it foregrounds creative coding and literary datasets, such as gothic novels and science fiction short stories. Over the course of the semester, you’ll develop a critical practice that uses code to analyze and visualize literary texts and a creative practice that harnesses code to produce interactive fiction, computer-generated poetry, and digital narratives. We’ll also experiment with other novel forms of collaboration with the computer, such as using an AI-generated passage of text as the seed for a more conventionally authored short story; or writing a poem that contains lines and stanzas scored either ridiculously high or low by sentiment algorithms. There are no technical prerequisites for ENGL378R; all you need are curiosity, a sense of wonder, and a willingness to play and experiment with code.
0101 - Kari Kraus
Schedule of Classes
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