Jane Austen and… Twitter?!

One of the interesting sessions at the recent MLA conference explored the use of twitter in the study of literature.  The following offers a summary and references that might inspire some effective approaches to the reading of Pride and Prejudice.

“Twitter and Teaching Literature” (MLA conference, Vancouver, 2015)

In order to examine more closely the role of Twitter in the scholarship and teaching of literary scholars, this panel considered the following questions:

-What tools do we (and our students) need to analyze Twitter adaptations of literary works?

-How can we distinguish good literary writing on Twitter?

-What should the role of Twitter be in the academy? Or, should Twitter have a role in the academy?

-How could Twitter enable literary scholars to reach a more general audience (as Neil deGrasse Tyson does for the sciences)?

-How can we use Twitter responsibly in the classroom, rather than as a distraction or gimmick?

Panelists/Abstracts (2 of the most relevant):

Alexandra Edwards, the transmedia editor for the “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,”
http://www.pemberleydigital.com/the-lizzie-bennet-diaries/
a multi-platform modernized webseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, explored the use of Twitter in literary adaptation. Edwards discussed how a devoted fanbase used the “affinity space” around ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ to learn the intricacies of transmedia storytelling for themselves and go on to launch their own grassroots adaptations of other classic literary works. (and apparently a similar project is in the pipeline for Hamlet. . . .)

Nicole Kenley shared how her introductory literature courses ask students to use Twitter to interact with authors like Joyce Carol Oates,  Margaret Atwood and Susan Bordo. By following these authors, students can interrogate the relationship of their tweets to their fiction or criticism and ultimately tweet the authors with questions.

Kenley has used twitter for several things:
-peer feedback and revising for composition exercises
-twitter for asking questions during class lectures with questions up on screen behind the lecturer
-composing a collaborative sonnet line by line
-producing a supplemental scene for a play.

NB:  you might want to look at the post on Twitter by Kathy Epps.

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