Digital Humanities in the Teaching of Narrative

  • Suzanne Keen
Part of the Teaching the New English book series (TENEEN)


In this chapter I distill some of the benefits that can be realized in the undergraduate literature classroom by replacing one or more traditional writing assignments with group (crowd-sourced) or individual projects employing Digital Humanities (DH) techniques of analysis, visualization and interpretation of narrative. I describe a modest mapping exercise in a course about London novels, with a frank account of the start-up effort required and the surprising cognitive gains realized by its incorporation into a traditional English syllabus. In a brief account of a pedagogically focused Digital Humanities Initiative at a small liberal arts college, I show how undergraduates gain a digital skill set and more acute engagement with narrative texts by participating in Text Encoding Initiative markup of a digital edition of a medieval epic poem. I refer to colleagues’ DH projects, for example involving undergraduate students in research that maps characters’ movements in space, leading to new interpretations of canonical texts. The centerpiece of the chapter shares an original discovery about the sources and influences on Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent that came out of DH pedagogy.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Keen
    • 1
  1. 1.Washington and Lee UniversityLexingtonUSA

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