English R1B

Reading and Composition: Literature and the Environment

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2007 Jhoanna Infante
MWF 1-2 203 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Wordsworth, W. and Coleridge, S.T.: Lyrical Ballads

Blake, W.: Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Hardy, T.: The Return of the Native

Course Reader "


"Industrialization transformed the landscape of nineteenth century Britain. Poets and novelists of this period often expressed, to use Thomas Hardy�s words, the �ache of modernism�: they longed for a simpler time in which human beings lived according to the rhythms of nature. In this course, we will investigate whether or not these authors should be thought of as early environmentalists. We will consider the following questions: How did they imagine, remember, or reconstruct the past? Did their sense of themselves as �belated,� or �beyond history,� limit the transformative potential of their works? Is a fearful and antagonistic relationship to nature a basic and ineradicable part of the Western psyche and its literature? Does eco-criticism, which attempts to recover the ecological consciousness of this period, provide convincing readings of these texts, or are these texts too deeply implicated in the project of dominating and exploiting nature? Reading includes poetry by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Blake, and Hardy; prose by Wordsworth and Shelley; one novel by Hardy; and literary criticism, including excerpts from Keith Thomas� Man and the Natural World, Jonathan Bate�s Romantic Ecology and Song of the Earth, and Don Gifford�s The Farther Shore. During the latter weeks of the class, students will be required to identify a research topic and seek out other relevant primary and/or critical texts.

In this course, students will develop skills in composition, argumentation, and scholarly research. The writing requirement includes two essays, each eight or more pages in length, as well as multiple revisions and, in the case of the second essay, written evidence of research, including an annotated bibliography and footnotes. The curriculum emphasizes a multi-stage writing process that includes close reading, discussion, pre-writing, drafting, workshops, panel presentations, and revision. "

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