Week 9: Algorithmic and Appropriative Writing

This week we’ll be looking at appropriative writing, fanfiction, and other forms which make explicit use of the ideas and words of others. In talking about these works, we’ll look at a lot of examples from the history of “experimental” writing and examine how techniques developed over the last century are given new life in digital media.


Assigned Reading

It’s Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It’s ‘Repurposing.’ Kenneth Goldsmith (also of note: “Authenticity Obsession, or Conceptualism as Minstrel Show” by Ken Chen and “Kenneth Goldsmith Says He Is an Outlaw” by CAConrad.)

Bronwen Thomas. 2011. “What Is Fanfiction and Why Are People Saying Such Nice Things about It??” Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 3. University of Nebraska Press:1–24. https://doi.org/10.5250/storyworlds.3.2011.0001. [Available through the Bath Spa Library Website.]

The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin. William S. Burroughs

Additional Reading

The Ecstasy of Influence. Jonathan Lethem

Tradition and the Individual Talent. T.S. Elliot

“One hundred million million poems.” (“Cent mille milliards de poèmes”) Raymond Queneau. About the work.

The Two. Nick Montfort

Opened Captions. About Open Captions.

From Instrumental Texts to Textual Instruments. Two examples of textual instruments here.

John Cage on Wikipedia.

Vito Acconci

Language is a Virus (site dedicated to text generation with lots of online text manipulation tools)

Even More