Professor Julia Evergreen KeeferMajor Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Writers
New York University
How do humans write about their environment?
How does geography mold politics, war, racism, and cultural evolution?
How does personification of rocks, trees, seas, and streams affect rhetorical devices and reader-response criticism?
How can a desert, river or a mountain change a story?
How do human versus natural disasters impact the dramatic structure and narrative sequencing?
Forest, Farms, and Rivers
The Heart of Darkness and Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
How to Survive as an Adjunct Professor by Wrestling by Julia Keefer
The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Snow, Rocks and Mountains
The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow and Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk
Garden in the Dunes and (Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit) by Leslie Marmon Silko
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
The Alexandrian Quartet by Laurence Durrell (You can just read one unless this is your project)
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
God Dies by the Nile by Nawal el Saadawi
Voices from the Other World (required) and Three Novels of Ancient Egypt (optional) by Naguib Mahfouz
Optional reference books: The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram and Norton's Anthology of Nature Writing
Note that the purpose of the course is to introduce you to a vast buffet of global literature, provoke interesting debate and discussion, sharpen your tools of close reading and critical analysis, and then let you focus on only 3-4 works of your choice for your special project.
May 12: Introduction to course, reading list, theme, criticism, and elements of close textual analysis.
May 19: Rivers, Trees, and Jungles. Discuss the Heart of Darkness. Read Gordimer and Keefer.
September 24: Discuss The Conservationist by Gordimer and how nature and the Hudson River influence Keefer's book. Lecture on Narrative Styles. Read Hemingway and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
October 1 : Compare Things Fall Apart to The Conservationist and The Heart of Darkness. Snow, Rocks, and Mountains. The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Read Pamuk.
October 8: Discuss Snow and Istanbul. Lecture on Pamuk. Read Proust and Silko.
October 15: Gardens: Civilized and Natural. Discuss Gardens in the Dunes and Swann's Way. Read Black Water.
October 22: Midterm. Close Textual Analysis and Improvised Nature Writing due. Presentations, discussion, and lecture.Discuss Black Water. Read Woolf.
October 29: Seas and Poisonous Waters. Discuss The Waves. Read Coelho.
November 5: Deserts: Discuss The Alchemist.Lecture on Ordinary/Special World Campbell mythology journey. Read Mahfouz.
November 12: Three Novels of Ancient Eygpt and Voices from the Other World. Lecture on Mahfouz. Read El Saadawi.
November 17: God Dies by the Nile. Read The Alexandrian Quartet.
December 3: Nature films and improvisational writing. Rough drafts of final due. Discuss The Alexandrian Quartet.
December 10: Nature films and improvisational writing.
December 17: Final papers due. Global Food Fest and Nature Appreciation Party.
Natural Conquest by Phan L. Xi
Mother, Lover, Whore? by DaMond Taylor
The belief that thinking beings are part of a vast physical order can awaken a kind
of awe, wonder, even natural piety. The reflection which moves us is that thought,
feeling, moral aspirations, all the intellectual and spiritual heights of human
achievement, emerge out of the depths of a vast physical universe which is itself,
over most of its measureless extent, lifeless, utterly insensitive to our purposes,
pursuing its path by inexorable necessity.
This course will focus on the evolution of attitudes toward nature, especially as
they have been both reflected in and influenced by writers from Thoreau to the present. Among the
topics to be considered will be the recognition of mountains and deserts as sublime landscapes; the
significance of hunting; and the growing prominence of Native American, Arabic, and Asian natural
values within American literature in English.
The books and poems ask how a human knows when sickness has set in. What is healthy?
Discussing the books, we'll trace relationships between physical sickness, psychological sickness,
and spiritual sickness.
We'll talk about how greed and selfishness, rampant consumerism, and mindless materialism can cause sickness..
We'll also ask whether nature is morally neutral, and what this means. Are humans morally neutral, for instance, in their
scientific dealings with the physical world, as they ravage the environment for anything that fulfills their fantasies or greed?
Late Harvest: Rural American Writing . Ed. David R. Pichaske. Paragon House, 1991.
Wendell Berry. The Memory of Old Jack . HBJ, 1974.
Mary Oliver. American Primitive . Little Brown, 1983.
Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . Harper Perennial, 1974.
Leslie Marmon Silko. Ceremony. Penguin, 1977.
Gary Snyder. Turtle Island. New Directions, 1974.
Edward O. Wilson, Biophilia
Scott Slovic and Terrell Dixon, Being in
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (Ballantine)
Barry Lopez, Crossing Open Ground (Random House)
Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Houghton
Scott Russell Sanders, Staying Put (Beacon)
Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild (North Point)
Walt Whitman: "Song of Myself" and other Leaves of Grass such as
"Inscriptions", "Starting from Paumanok"
Glotfelty, Cheryll and Harold Fromm, Ecocriticism Reader
Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American Mind
Thoreau, Henry David. Walking and Walden
Muir, John. The Mountains of California
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac
Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire
Oliver, Mary. New and Selected Poems
Berry, Wendell. Collected Poems 1957-1982
Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and
the Formation of Culture
Garb, Yaakov Jerome. "Perspective or Escape? Ecofeminist Musings on
Contemporary Earth Imagery." Reweaving the World: The Emergence of
Ecofeminism. Ed. Irene Diamond and Gloria Feman Orenstein
Garber, Frederick. Thoreau's Fable of Inscribing
Griffin, Susan. "A Collaborative Intelligence." The Eros of Everyday Life:
Essays on Ecology, Gender and Society
Meinig, D. W. "The Beholding Eye: Ten Versions of the Same Scene." The Interpretation
of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays. Ed. D. W. Meinig
Ryden, Kent C. "Of Maps and Minds: The Invisible Landscape." Mapping the
Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place.
H. D. Thoreau, Walden (Penguin)
John Muir, The Mountains of California (Penguin)
Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain (Penguin)
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (Oxford)
William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses (Random House)
Gary Snyder, Turtle Island (New Directions)
A. R. Ammons, Selected Poems (Norton)
Mary Oliver, House of Light (Beacon)
John McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid (1971)
H. St. J. de Crevecoeur, Letters From an American Farmer (1782)
Lewis & Clark, Journals (1804-1806)
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (1968)
John McPhee, The Control of Nature (1989)
Edward Abbey, The Monkeywrench Gang (1975)
Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge 1991)
Anne Matthews, Where the Buffalo Roam (1992)
Wendell Berry, A Place on Earth (1983)
The Norton Book of Nature Writing (Finch & Elder, Norton, 1990)
White Silk and Black Tar (Spencer, Bergamont Books, 1990)
Alaska Quarterly Review: Alaska Native writers
(Vol. 4, No. 3 & 4)
Mississippi Solo (Harris, Harper & Row,)
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place (Williams,)
Lorraine Anderson (ed.), Sisters of the Earth
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Craig Lesley, Winterkill
Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge
Crevecoeur. Letters from an American Farmer, 1782; Sketches of Eighteenth
Century America: More Letters from an American Farmer. Ed. Albert E.
Stone. New York: Penguin, 1981.
Henry David Thoreau. The Natural History Essays.
Sarah Orne Jewett. Country of the Pointed Firs.
Willa Cather. Death Comes for the Archbishop.
William Faulkner. Go Down, Moses.
Aldo Leopold. A Sand County Almanac.
Loren Eiseley. The Immense Journey.
Rachel Carson. Silent Spring.
Wendell Berry. Home Economics.
Lewis Thomas. The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher.
This Incomparable Land . Thomas Lyon, ed. Penguin
A Sand County Almanac . Aldo Leopold. Ballantine.
[Walden . Henry David Thoreau.
Lyon, Thomas J. (Ed.) - This Incomperable Lande
Hawthorne - Young Goodman Brown and Other Stories
Leopold - A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation from Round River
London - The Call of the Wild
Chekhov - The Cherry Orchard
(Faulkner) Six Great Modern Novels
Nelson - Primis: Literature and the Environment
The Pastoral Tradition
"To Sir Robert Wroth" (Ben Jonson)
"The Praises of a Countrie Life" (Jonson)
"To Penshurst" (Jonson)
Passage in Letters from an American Farmer
"Agrarian Values in an Urban Society: The
Ruhr Country" Virginia Forests , Winter 1991
Film: The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
The Land Ethic
A Sand County Almanac with Essays on Conservation
"An Indian at the Burial-place of His Fathers"
( W. C. Bryant)
"The Ohio," The Ornithological Biography
(J. J. Audubon)
"The Rhodora" (R. W. Emerson)
"Apparently with No Surprise" (E. Dickinson)
January 26 Stewardship
Film: Timber on the Move
Virginia Wildlife (Stewards of the Land: A Special
Edition), December 1992
"Inscription for an Entrance to a Wood" (Bryant)
"The Forest Theatre Presents 'Trees Don't Live Forever,'"
Virginia Forests , Fall 1994
Moss Always Grows on the North Side of Trees: Forestry
and Wildlife Myths (VDF)
"Three Models of Forest Management in the Pacific
Northwest," Virginia Forests , Winter 1994
Film: Ready for Harvest and Forests: A Growing Concern
Literature, Art and the Land
Walden (H. D. Thoreau)
Explication by Small Groups
"The Snow-Storm" (R. W. Emerson)
"Snowflakes" (H. W. Longfellow)
"The April Snow" (Jones Very)
"To a Locomotive in Winter" (Walt Whitman)
O Pioneers! (Willa Cather)
The Holy Season: Walking in the Wild (Al Stewart)
"The Holy Season," "Under the Sycamore Leaf"
"Insured," "Sunday Morning Deer," "Arbutus,"
"Deptford Pinks," "The Deer Meadow," "A
Winter Ode," "Winter Fox," "Dulcimer Song,"
"Lesson in Biology,""The New Mule," "Into My
Explication by Small Groups
"The Cattle in Their Summer Pastures"
"Morning of Snow"
"In the Kingdom at Yellow Mountain"
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard)
Reading the Landscape
A Gathering of Old Men (Ernest Gaines)
Deliverance (James Dickey)
Robert Frost's poems
Poetry by Lamartine
La Nouvelle Heloise by Jean Jacques Rousseau
The Sand Child by Tahar Ben Jalloun
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Thames River: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Nile: Adrift on the Nile by Naguib Mahfouz
Hudson River: How to Survive as an Adjunct Professor by Julia Keefer
Africa: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Forests, Jungles, Trees