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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

English (ENGL)

ENGL 424 (ENVST 424) Creative Writing and the Natural World (3) Creative writing workshop focused on the environment and related issues.

ENGL (ENVST) 424 Creative Writing and the Natural World (3)

American literature includes a long and rich tradition of writing that focuses on the natural world. From the oral stories of indigenous people to the journals of the first European settlers, many have looked for a way to understand their own place in the world based upon their relationship to the earth and its creatures. While Puritans often discerned the pleasure or wrath of God in the environmental changes they experienced, Transcendentalists like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson sought out moments of spiritual enlightenment by immersing themselves in the natural order. More recently, such poets as Galway Kinnell, James Wright, and Robert Bly have attempted to connect with the depths of collective unconsciousness by exploring the natural world, while others, like Mary Oliver, Dan Gerber, Jim Harrison, Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry, have used transcendental thought and melded it with Christian and Buddhist insights. Still others, like Gary Paul Nabhan, Rachel Carson, and Alison Hawthorne Deming have brought science to bear upon the riches that nature, art, and scientific exploration may offer when joined in the pursuit of a deeper understanding of, and relationship with, the natural world. This course will acquaint students with the tradition of American nature writing, as well as contemporary nature writing, in the genres of nonfiction, poetry and fiction. Students will be introduced to issues of style, philosophy, and content, as they produce their own essays, poems, and stories. The course culminates in the production of a portfolio of nature writing. Much of this work will begin in class with specific assignments, which will include field work, and feedback from other students in the class. As a workshop course in creative writing, the emphasis will be upon the production of literary texts that interact with the natural world and upon the revision of those texts.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2011
Prerequisite: ENGL 050 orENVST 100

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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