HUM 202

Digital Investigation of Literary Naturalism

In this course students use scholarly tools and methods associated with the emerging field of the digital humanities to explore and communicate in a 21st-century fashion about Naturalism, a literary movement that took root in Europe and the United States in the second half of the 19th Century and that continues to flourish today. To begin, students become acquainted with the socio-political and intellectual climate of the Naturalist period. They trace the influence of Darwin, Marx, Herbert Spencer and others on changing beliefs about progress, social responsibility, human motivation, and the purposes of literature and art. They then read fiction and drama by several important practitioners of Naturalism, as well as contemporary reviewers? responses to their works and short critical writings in which the writers themselves explain (or try to explain) what they are doing and why. Included in this group are the dramatist August Strindberg and fiction writers Emile Zola, Stephen Crane, Jack London, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser. The novels and plays serve as the raw material for students? digital-humanities projects. The numerous ?labs??unusual for a Humanities course?give students hands-on experience performing micro- and macro-directed text analytics; building annotated timelines, maps, and network visualizations; and developing and delivering multi-media presentations.