Do you like to mark up your books (even if your teachers tell you not to)? Then you are already writing about literature. This class will explore what writing about literature is like for authors themselves. Through the ways they borrow stories and genres, writers reflect surprisingly on the creative process itself. Examples include:

  • William Shakespeare lifting from Arthur Brooke’s verse narrative in writing Romeo and Juliet;
  • Mary Shelley reshaping epic, scripture, science nonfiction, and her husband’s poems to make Frankenstein;
  • Herman Melville adapting an entertaining travel book into a Gothic novella in Benito Cereno;
  • Alison Bechdel rewriting Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in her graphic novel Fun Home.

Assignments and group projects will allow students to explore the writing process using Annotation Studio, a digital annotation tool developed in MIT’s HyperStudio. Writing in margins strongly encouraged.