ENGH 513: Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies

ENGH 513-002: Nature Writing
(Fall 2022)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM R

Thompson Hall 1017

Section Information for Fall 2022

            This course offers an overview of nature writing practiced in our country, starting with Walden and ending with a recent iteration of The Best American Science and Nature Writing.  It is meant to give you a chance to read, think about, write about or write in this particular form of creative nonfiction.  

            Nature writing encompasses such a wide range of topics, approaches, and forms—from meditative/philosophical writing to environmental advocacy, from living “in nature” to working with and almost against nature (as in farming or gardening or fighting natural disasters such as wildfires and floods), from literary journalism to polemics to personal narrative.  So the purpose of the course is not to define what nature writing is or to learn how to categorize the work we encounter in journals or books as being or not being “nature writing”—but to ponder the range and the possibilities and to incorporate what we learn into our own writing as a creative writer OR as a scholar/critic.

            The course is meant for MFA students in any genre and for MA students in any genre.  It is assumed that you have had some experience in reading as a writer and/or as a scholar/critic: this means being able to talk and write about what you read in an organized and analytical way.  The approach will be more textual than otherwise—that is to say, we will focus on what we read and look at each work’s structure, imagery, language, narrative and argumentative strategy, and other craft issues (such as the construction of the persona, the handling of chronology, the way each writer incorporates researched material with personal narrative, etc.).  Those of you who have a more theoretical or historical background are encouraged to add those elements to the class discussion and/or to write a final scholarly/critical project that incorporates them.   Books for discussion may include the following: Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk; Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: an Unnatural History of Family and Place; Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction.



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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Intensive study of topics involving literary or other texts such as film, television, opera, and folklore. Notes: May be repeated with permission of department. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 9 credits.
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies
Recommended Prerequisite: 15 credits of advanced undergraduate English courses and permission of department; or baccalaureate degree.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Junior Plus, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lec/Sem #1, Lec/Sem #2, Lec/Sem #3, Lec/Sem #4, Lec/Sem #5, Lec/Sem #6, Lec/Sem #7, Lec/Sem #8, Lec/Sem #9, Lecture
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.