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The Call of the Wild

ENGL 102.601

Fulfills Arts & Letters Sector (All Classes)

[Formerly ENGL 083]


Jack London’s novel, published in 1903, was tremendously popular—but it was not alone. It was written in a climate of intense interest in the U.S. wilderness; only a few decades earlier Yellowstone had been established as the world's first national park. While some attempted to memorialize the wild in writing, others hunted for specimens to display in the new museums of natural history in New York and D.C. All, however, feared the wilderness was in danger and in need of protection. This class will chart a history of conservation in the United States, with an emphasis on the turn of the century, to consider the lasting appeal the wilderness has had as a site of economic and cultural capital, and the various ways people have sought to sustain it. We will read works by Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Theodore Roosevelt, John Burroughs, Sarah Orne Jewett, Jack London, Sarah Winnemucca, and Willa Cather. This class will focus on analytical reasoning skills and argumentation, both written and oral. Looking at a range of material, from novels to newspapers, we will experiment with different genres of persuasive writing. Class requirements include weekly blog posts, several short papers and one final long paper.

fulfills requirements
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major