Literature and Environmental Studies

Literature and Environmental Studies


Choose approximately 40 primary texts across several different periods and genres; other texts may be substituted or added with list-manager’s formal approval.





Aristotle, Politics

Bible, Genesis, selections, e. g., chaps. 1-33, Exodus

Herodotus, all or part

Homer, The Odyssey Books 8-12

Hesiod, Works and Days

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books I and XV

Plato, Timaeus

Pliny the Elder, Natural History, Book VII

Tacitus, Germania and Agricola

Virgil, Eclogues and Georgics



Boccaccio, Decameron, proem

Chaucer, Parliament of Fowls

John Mandeville, Travels

“The Seafarer” and “The Wanderer”

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


16th - 18th Centuries

Bacon, Essays, selections, e. g., “Of Gardens,” “Of Plantations,” and Novum Organum

Browne, Sir Thomas. Hydriotaphia and The Garden of Cyrus

Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)

Camden, William. Britannia, selections

Cowley, Abraham. “Anacreontics,” Essays, selections, e. g. “Of Gardens” and “Of the Dangers of an Honest Man in Much Company,” Plantarum selections, e. g. Books V and VI

Crabbe, George. “The Village” (1783) 

Defoe, Daniel.  Robinson Crusoe

Denham, John. Cooper’s Hill (1642)

Drayton, Michael. Poly-Olbion, selections

Evelyn, John. Fumifugium

Gay, John. Trivia

Herbert, George. selections

Herrick, Robert. selections

Harrison, William. “A Description of England”

Jonson, Ben. “To Penshurst” (1616)

Lanyer, Aemilia. “The Description of Cookham”

de Montaigne, Michel. Essays, selections, e. g. “Of Solitude,” “Of Cannibals,” and “Of Coaches”

More, Thomas. Utopia

Philips, Katherine. selections, incl. “A Country Life”

Milton, John. “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso,” A Masque (Comus), “Lycidas,” Paradise Lost

Pope, Alexander. Pastorals (1709), and “Discourse on Pastoral Poetry” (1717)

Rousseau, Jean Jacques. Reveries of a Solitary Walker (1782)

Shakespeare, As You Like It, King Lear, Midsummer Night’s Dream,

Spenser, Edmund. Shepheardes Calender; Faerie Queene, Books II, VI, and “Mutability Cantos”; View of the Present State of Ireland

Thomson, James. The Seasons

Traherne, Thomas. selections, verse and prose

Vaughan, Henry. selections

 White, Gilbert. A Natural History of Selbourne


19th Century


Selections from Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, ed. Camille Dungy

Clare, John. selections (10 or so lyrics, TBA)

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, selections, e. g. “To a Young Ass” (1794), “The Eolian Harp” (1795), “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” (1797), “Frost at Midnight” (1798), “The Nightingale” (1798), “Dejection: an Ode” (1802), chapters 4 and 12 from Biographia Literaria

Dickinson, Emily, selections, e.g. “The Robin’s my Criterion for Tune,” “The Earth reversed Her Hemispheres,” “Arcturus is his other name,” “Four Trees -- opon a solitary Acre --” 

Hopkins, Gerard Manly. selections

Keats, John, selections, e. g. “Ode to a Nightingale” (c. 1819), “To Autumn” (1820)

Meredith, George, selections

Shelley, Percy Bysshe selections, e. g. “Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude” (1815), “Mont Blanc” (1817), “Ode to the West Wind” (1820), “The Sensitive Plant” (1820), “To a Skylark” (1820), “The Cloud” (1820)

 Whitman, Walt selections, e. g. “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (1856), “Song of Myself” (1882), “This Compost” (1891), “Song of the Redwood-Tree” (1891)

Wordsworth, William selections, e. g. “The Thorn” (1798), “Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey” (1798),“Michael” (1800), “Nutting” (1800), “Three years she grew in sun and shower” (1800), “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” (1807), “I wandered lonely as a Cloud” (1807), “The Ruined Cottage” (1814)

Prose fiction:

de Burton, Maria Ruiz, The Squatter and the Don (1885) 

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre, Shirley

Chesnutt, “Po’ Sandy,” “The Goophered Grapevine” 

Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South

Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)

Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of Pointed Firs (1896)

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein

Prose non-fiction:

Cooper, Susan Fennimore. Rural Hours

Darwin, Charles. ch. IV “Natural Selection,” from The Origin of Species (1859)

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Nature” (1836)

Engels, Friedrich. “Introduction,” “The Great Towns,” and “The Agricultural Proletariat” from The Conditions of the Working Class (1845), Dialectic of Nature?

Malthus, Thomas. Essay on the Principle of Population 

Marsh, George P.  ch. 1, “Introduction” from Man and Nature; or, The Earth as Modified by Human Action (1864-1885)

Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or Life in the Woods (1854), “Walking” (1862)

Turner, Frederick Jackson. “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1893) 

Wordsworth, Dorothy. Journals


20th Century and Contemporary


Ammons, A.R. selections, e. g. “So I Said I am Ezra” (1955), “Corsons Inlet” (1965), “Gravelly Run” (1965), “Laser” (1970), “Love Song” (1970), “Small Song” (1970), “The City Limits” (1971), “Easter Morning” (1981), “Motion’s Holding” (1987), “Strip,” “Hymn,” “Prodigal,” “One:Many,” “Terminus,” “Eyesight,” “The Wide Land,” GARBAGE(1992)

Braithwaite, Kamau. Shar: Hurricane Poem (1990) (+ selections) 

Brooks, Gwendolyn.

Clifton, Lucille. Good News About the Earth 

Dungy, Camille. Trophic Cascade. 

Frost, Robert. selections, e. g. “Mending Wall” (1914), “After Apple-Picking,” (1914), “The Wood-Pile” (1914), “Hyla Brook” (1916), “The Oven Bird” (1916), “Birches” (1916), “Putting in the Seed” (1916), “Out, Out—” (1916), “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1923), “To Earthward” (1923), “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things” (1923), “Tree at My Window” (1928), “Design” (1936), “The Most of It” (1942), “Never Again Would Birds’ Song Be the Same” (1942), “The Gift Outright” (1942)

Gay, Ross. Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude. 

Harjo, Joy selections, e. g. “She Had Some Horses” (1983), “Deer Dancer” (1990), “Mourning Song” (1994), “Insomnia and the Seven Steps to Grace” (1994), “The Path to the Milky Way Leads through Los Angeles” (2000) Gary Snyder, Turtle Island (1974)

Heaney, Seamus selections

Hughes, Ted selections

Walcott, Derek. selections

Wallace Stevens, selections

Thomas, Edward. selections, verse & prose

Wright, Charles. China Trace (1977)


Prose fiction:

Austin, Mary. Land of Little Rain (1903)

du Bois, Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) 

Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower

---. Parable of the Talents

Cather, Willa. O Pioneers! (1913)

 Coetzee, J.M.Foe. The Lives of Animals (1999)

Faulkner, William. Go Down, Moses (1942)

Ghosh, Amitav. The Hungry Tide (2005)

Ghosh, Gun Island

Hebila, Helon. Oil on Water

Kang, Han. The Vegetarian 

Kincaid, Jamaica, A Small Place

---. My Garden Book

Hogan, Linda. Solar Storms. (1995?) 

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. (1937) 

Indiana, Rita. Tentacle (2015) 

Leguin, Ursula. The Word for World Is Forest

London, Jack “To Build a Fire” (1908)

Ozeki, Ruth. My Year of Meats (1998)

---. A Tale for the Time Being (2013) 

Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping (1980)

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony (1977)

Sinha, Indra. Animal’s People (2007) 

Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus (1995) 

Yamashita, Karen Tei. Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990)


Prose non-fiction:

Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire (1968)

Berry, Wendell. “The Unsettling of America,” “The Body and the Earth,” “The Idea of a Local Economy,” from The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry (2002)

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring (1962)

Cronon, William. “Introduction and “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” from Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (1995)

Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974)

Douglas, William. O. dissent, “Sierra Club v. Morton” (1972)

Hardin, Garrett. “The Tragedy of the Commons” (1968)

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants (2013)  

---. Gathering Moss

Lovejoy, Arthur. “Some Meanings of ‘Nature’” (1935) and “Nature as Aesthetic Norm” (1927) 

Muir, John. “God’s First Temples: How Shall We Preserve Our Forests?” (1876), “The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West” (1898), My First Summer in the Sierra (1911)

Gifford Pinchot, introduction and chapters 1-4 from The Fight for Conservation (1910) s

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (1949)

Savoy, Lauret. Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape (2015) 

Walcott, Derek. “The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory” 

White, Jr., Lynn. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” (1967)



Castaway (2000)

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts 


Ecocriticism and the Environmental Humanities (select six of the following):

Articles and Monographs:  

Bennett, Joshua. Being Property Once Myself (2019)  

Whyte, Kyle. “Settler Colonialism, Ecology, and Environmental Injustice” (+ many other essays) (2018) 

Heise, Ursula. Imagining Extinction (2017)  

Posmentier, Sonya. Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Literature (2017)  

Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016) 

Haraway, Donna. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chlthulucene (2016) 

Taylor, Jesse Oak. The Sky of Our Manufacture: The London Fog in British Literature from Dickens to Woolf (2016)  

Ybarra, Priscilla Solis, Writing the Goodlife: Mexican American Literature and the Environment (2016) 

Tsing, Anna. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015)   

Purdy, Jedidiah. After Nature:A Politics for the Anthropocene (2015)  

Adamson, Joni. “Cosmovisions: Environmental Justice, Transnational American Studies, and Indigenous Literature” (2014)  

Finney, Carolyn. Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (2014)  

Kilcup, Karen. Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment and Ethics in American Women’s Environmental Writing 1781-1924 (2013) 

LeMenager, Stephanie. Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century (2013)  

Kohn, Eduardo. How Forests Think: An Anthropology Beyond the Human (2013)

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism: The New Critical Idiom (2011) 

Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (2011) 

Alaimo, Stacy. Bodily Natures: Science, Environment and the Material Self (2010)  

Chakrabarty, Dipesh. The Climate of History: Four Theses (2009) 

Heise, Ursula. Sense of Place, Sense of Planet (2008)  

Morton, Timothy. Ecology Without Nature (2007)  

Heise, Ursula. “Globality, Difference, and the International Turn in Ecocriticism” (2013); “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Ecocriticism” (2006) 

McKittrick, Katherine. Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle (2006) 

Latour, Bruno. “Why Political Ecology has to Let Go of Nature” (2004)  

Carson, Allen “Environmental Aesthetics,” from Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture (2000) 

Buell, Lawrence. Writing for an Endangered World and The Environmental Imagination (1995) 

Schiebinger, Londa. Nature’s Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science (1995)  

Leslie, Michael et al., Culture and Cultivation in Early Modern England: Writing and the Land (1992) 

Bullard, Robert. Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality (1990) 

Kolodny, Annette. The Lay of the Land and The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Experience of the American Frontiers, 1630-1860 (1984) 

Merchant, Carolyn.  “Nature as Female,” from The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution (1980) 

Comito, Terry. The Idea of the Garden in the Renaissance (1978) 

Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden: technology and the pastoral ideal in America (1964) 

Naess, Arne “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement” (1973) 

Pollan, Michael. Second Nature 

Prest, John. The Garden of Eden: The Botanic Garden and the Re-Creation of Paradise 

Ruffin, Kimberly. Black on Earth: African American Ecoliterary Traditions (2010)  

Silko, Leslie Marmon. “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination” (1986) 

Turner, James. The Politics of Landscape: Rural Scenery and Society in English Poetry, 1630-1660 (1979) 

Williams, Raymond chapters 1-5, from The Country and the City (1973), “Nature” and “Culture,” from Keywords (1976) 

Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation (1975) 

Edited collections:  

Disability Studies and the Environmental Humanities. Ed. Sarah Jaquette Ray, Jay Sibara, Stacy Alaimo. (2017) 

Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment. Ed. Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley. (2011)  

Caribbean Literature and the Environment: Between Nature and Culture. Ed. Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Renée Gosson, George B. Handley (2005)  

Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial. Ed. Wald, Vasquez, Ybarra, Ray.