Last week, I taught a three hour class on Nordic electronic literature into our first year undergraduate course DIKULT103: Digital Genres: Digital Art, Electronic Literature and Computer Games. The course is taught in English, and we usually have about 40 students where 10-15 are exchange students. Rather appallingly, we haven’t really taught Nordic electronic literature in the course, so this year we remedied that. Here’s the lesson plan.

We’re using Hans Kristian Rustad’s excellent book Digital litteratur: en innføring for students who read Norwegian and his article A Short History of Electronic Literature and Communities in the Nordic Countries for those who don’t. A video of Hans Kristian Rustad presenting the paper is available too).

First I talked about Scandinavian electronic literature in general, and presented a small selection of works:

  • Tor Åge Bringsværds “Faen“, both in its paper original and versions remediated for the Web. I have borrowed the physical “envelope novel” from the library so we could really see how it was originally created, and I discovered that there’s a scanned version at the National Library, so we can read it online too, although the feel is quite different compared to the original loose leaf version.
  • Skogly, Morten. Bokstavlek. Not dated. 
  • Anne Bang Steinsvik. 2002. I mellom tiden. (ELMCIP)
  • Some examples of iPad literature from Haandholdt.
  • AfsnitP

Because the course is taught in English I split the class into groups to more deeply explore works that were only available in Norwegian or another Nordic language, and groups that would explore works with English language translations. The first two are in Norwegian and Swedish respectively as well as in English, so suited for groups of exchange students:

The Scandinavian-language-only works were.

Some of the groups were quite large, so I split them into two and asked one group to report on the themes and narratives in the work and the other to report on the use of the medium. I gave the students 45 minutes to work on this, and I had already asked them to read the works in advance of the class.

The presentations in the last hour of the class were great. Students presented the works well and had interesting points to make. Definitely a productive class session.


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