Our focus for this course will be upon how literature deals with the environment, i.e., how literary texts represent nature and how they present environmental issues, and why it matters that these issues be represented in this form. How, that is, does where we live and, even more importantly, how we imagine ourselves within the places where we live, affect who we are? How do literary texts affect this understanding? This will not be a course on nature writing or on social science/public policy issues, although our concerns will intersect in numerous ways with both of those perspectives. Instead, we will be studying how particular aesthetic and rhetorical elements get used by different authors to shape our attitudes toward nature and the environment —with “environment” broadly construed as a category that encompasses the whole set of interactions that we as individuals and members of groups have with the physical and social landscapes around us.
The full syllabus is on the Documents page.