Wo(men) in the Landscape: Reconsidered Themes of Humanity and Nature in 19th and 20th Century Literature
This course is designed to help students become engaged, proficient readers and writers through a comparative approach to literature. Our readings will focus upon the human-environmental dynamic from both romantic and contemporary ecological perspectives, with particular, though not exclusive, emphasis upon feminine representation, subjectivity, and experience in nature and its counterpart, society. We will examine the relationship between nature, social formation, emotional and physical vulnerability, and the inhabited environment. Through our readings we will consider precedents and inherent problems in the romantic idea of Man in harmony with nature, particularly with regard to such significant influences as pre- and post-industrialism, Darwinian thought, colonialism, and war. In what ways, for instance, do female, as well as less traditionally susceptible male protagonists, influence or alter our perceptions of humanity in the changing natural environment, both yesterday and today? Supplementary readings will include writings from the field of ecocriticism, including feminist and psychological perspectives, with small amounts of physical and cultural anthropology (Jane Goodall and Mary Douglas, for example) thrown into the mix. Classroom time will focus upon close reading and discussion of the texts, weekly intensive, workshop-style writing laboratories, group and peer editing. You will produce three short papers and two group oral presentations during the quarter.
Claire de Duras, Ourika (John Fowles, trans. 1995); George Sand, Indiana (Sylvia Raphael, trans. 2001); Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders (1998); Kazuo Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills (1990); Margaret Atwood, Surfacing (1998) Short stories will include the work of Flannery O'Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, and Sherwood Anderson, among others.
Student learning goals
Students will learn requirements and skills of analytic writing involving one or several literary texts.
How to develop individual paragraphs and structure beginnings, middles, and ends, to create a cohesive, articulate essay.
How to edit your own essays and work with others to improve drafts.
How to read closely, compare, and interpret a variety of texts.
How to develop and articulate ideas through writing.
How to become more comfortable discussing interpretations, ideas and questions in a classroom setting.