Reading Squared

Martin Gliserman (English)

This seminar will show you precisely how we read between the lines, and, will enable you to do so.  We will examine a classic American novel of the 20th Century—The Great Gatsby—to see how a writer builds a set of characters and a story—and we will do so one chapter at a time. The seminar proposes ways to read narratives to find their core significance by looking at the complex web of word families.  We use words constantly, but don’t pause to appreciate their complexity. The course will introduce students to words, and to using computer software that helps us read texts and derive complex understandings of how they are built and how they come to mean.  The seminar meetings will initially focus on reading the novel, and developing ways to talk about words, and then becoming familiar with the software, and then exploring the text itself. The work we will be doing in the seminar is directly related to an ongoing research project on a group of one hundred novels written between 1719 and 1997.  The project, teXtRays, investigates networks of meaning in literary novels and does so at micro and macro levels—it is looking for large patterns about all the novels, but it is also looking at fine details within individual texts. The pedagogical aim of the course is to demystify some of the processes of making meaning.  See and

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 67 index 09686