Online Games Literature, New Media, and Narrative with Jay Clayton

Hi, I’m Jay Clayton, Professor of English
at Vanderbilt University. This spring we’ll begin an exciting adventure, the exploration
of the connections between literature and online gaming. What do games like World of
Warcraft have to do with the great literature of the Western canon? How does Peter Jackson’s
film of The Lord of the Rings rework stories and images and themes that reach back centuries
before J.R.R. Tolkien? The games we’ll be studying in this class are called MMOs, Massively Multiplayer
Online games. The most famous one is World of Warcraft, but we’ll be studying the Lord
of the Rings online. The reason for this is simple: The Lord of the Rings allows us to
study what happens when you take a story from a book and move it to a film and then to an
online game. Seeing the contrast among these forms teaches us important principles about
narrative. It helps us understand stories and characters, action, plot, adventure on
a very different level when we can see the changes that must take place to do it in two
hours for a film or two months for an online game. I’ve been teaching this course for a
decade at Vanderbilt University. Now, I’m excited for the opportunity to teach this
course for you.

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