This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2017-2018

ENGL 13186-1: "That is Nature?"

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Instructor: John Sitter

The question, “What is nature?” has never been more important than now, during what one environmental thinker describes as “the most crucial decades in the history of the human species on earth.” This seminar will put our environmental moment in a larger context by exploring versions and visions of the natural world embodied in works of literature from the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Natural imagery and landscapes inform many of the greatest works of literary art. Through study and discussion of poems, novels, and environmental non-fiction, we will consider the role of nature (or Nature) in art and its rich range of imaginative meanings, from Edenic escape to ecological responsibility. Since seminars proceed through collaborative conversation, participation will be important. Students will be responsible for introducing class discussion once or twice during the term, fortnightly short papers, and midterm and final examinations.