Ecocritical Lit.: Nature, Ecology and the Literary Imagination
“Nature is perhaps the most complex word in the language,” says Raymond Williams in his influential book Keywords. This course explores the many meanings of “nature” as well as the assumptions, anxieties, and aspirations attached to such terms as “environment,” “ecology,” “conservation,” “resource,” “climate,” and “sustainability.” This is not a course in environmental literature per se, but rather an exploration of how language and literature engages with and shapes our relations to and our understandings of the natural world. We will consider both the ways literature--especially the poetry and fiction of the nineteenth century--contributes to present ecology-breaking worldviews, as well as how reading and writing differently is a necessary part of the struggle to refigure our relationship to the natural world. 2 papers, 1 final project, twice-weekly online discussion posts, and conspicuous in-class engagement.