Spring 2023 Undergraduate English Courses

358:262 Literature and the Environment

01  TTH4   CAC   05397   SPELLMEYER   FH-B1

Every day we hear the same old thing about the urgent need to “save the planet,” yet absolutely nothing seems to change.  

As we will see, however, that’s just not true. 

Even as you read these words, writers, artists, and philosophers around the world are hard at work alongside scientists creating a new life-affirming civilization.  And as we will also learn, this movement is building on ideas developed right here in the United States.  

Starting with David Abram’s Spell of the Sensuous, we will retrace a trail that takes us from H. D. Thoreau to Gary Snyder, Annie Dillard, Rebecca Solnit, Carolyn Finney, and, finally, the Native American naturalist Robin Wall Kimmerer. 

The writers we will read have discovered that we can only save the natural world by radically rethinking “the human being.”  Instead of seeing nature as separate, they show us how we can liberate the Nature in ourselves. They might just convince you that when you do, you will feel more real and completely alive than you ever have before.     

Requirements include two papers, a weekly journal, and a final exam.