English - Elective 1, topic 3: Literatures of the Environment: Eco-Criticism in the Anthropocene

Course content

This course introduces students to literatures of the environment both through an examination of the critical field of eco-criticism and primary literary works of the environment from an Anglo-American perspective. Primary texts may include poetry and essays from the British Romantic movement (1800-30); excerpts from the scientific writings of Alexander Von Humboldt and Charles Darwin (1810-60); travel writing such as Sophia Hawthorne’s Cuba Journal (1835); essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1840s); literary non-fiction by Henry David Thoreau, including Walden (1854); poems by Celia Thaxter (1880s); works by twentieth century nature writers such as Wendall Berry and Annie Dillard; foundational environmental texts by Rachel Carson and Bill McKibben, including Silent Spring (1962) and “The End of Nature” (1989); and contemporary journalism including Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild, 1996), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 2006) and Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything, 2014).


Throughout the semester, we will consider how literary representations of the environment reflect changing ideas about humankind’s place in the world. We will also gain an overview of eco-criticism as a growing field in literary studies, from its roots in environmental writing in the 1980s to its contemporary expansion into related fields such as animal studies and posthumanism.



7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • English
  • 204,75