As we make sense of what we read, we construe meaning using the ancient cultural technique of interpretation. Only rarely do we actually reflect this process: what are the means that help us understand literary texts? How does interpretation work? And how has our increasing use of e-books and tablets changed the way we read and interpret literature?
This free online course addresses these key questions as it introduces you to a variety of ways of interpreting literary texts. We will look into time-tested methods such as close reading. We shall also address more recent, computer-assisted practices such as distant reading.
Do we read differently on e-books, tablets and mobiles?
You will learn about the professional reading practices used by literary scholars. But we will also probe the benefits and limitations of the screen-based reading all of us perform every day as we move from hyperlink to hyperlink.
Along the way, we will inquire into the materiality of texts, asking ourselves what difference it makes whether we encounter a poem, play or novel as an e-book, paperback, hardback or manuscript.
While we will take a modern American poem as our tutor text, you will encounter a great variety of literary texts and forms. We will also visit the rich library holdings of the University of Basel, one of the world’s 50 oldest universities.
Join us in this treasure hunt for meaning
Through the course, you will become acquainted with established, professional reading practices as well as newer, computer-driven reading techniques. To help you understand the revolutionary nature of more recent, digital ways of reading and analysing texts such as hyper reading, social reading, and distant reading, you will also be given a solid introduction to more established techniques such as close reading and historical contextualisation.
As you reflect and discuss your own reading processes, you will get a cutting-edge introduction to what it means to read literature in the digital age.
You will learn how to uncover the hidden treasures in literary texts, including a well-known poem by Ezra Pound, and follow the educator as he chases the clues pointing to a mysterious connection between this American poet and Basel.