The practice of writing works using the universes and characters of already established authors--Fanfiction--is a recent cultural phenomenon, beginning with Kirk/Spock slash of the 1970s and fueled by 21st century technologies that have enabled fans to appropriate, extend, and transform beloved characters and plots. The output is staggering: as of March 2017, Fanfiction.net alone holds 761,000 Harry Potter stories, and fanfiction writers have become best-selling authors (Cassandra Clare, E.L. James). Yet centuries of adaptation and appropriate permeate the Western canon, from Homer's stock phrases to Shakespeare's work with sources such as the Decameron and Holinshed's Chronicles.
ENG 375 will explore the world of fanfiction, from past iterations to the present extensive array of fanfiction. We will consider common tropes in fanfiction, such as fanon/canon, gender swapping, shipping, and transgressive pairings of many kinds, and investigate how social media enables empowered, creative fandom. The author may be "dead," in Barthes' estimation, yet h/she/zer are also very much alive and writing.
Fulfills the Innovation requirement of the English major.
Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing & Rhetoric requirement.