Reading List 12: Theories of Literature and the Environment

Faculty Committee: Ken Hiltner, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Melody Jue, Tess Shewry

All materials are digitized and available online, consult with Staff Graduate Adviser.

1. The Emergence of Environmental Thinking


1.      Bible, Genesis I-IV

2.      Virgil, Eclogues I, IV, & V; Georgics I

3.      Francis Bacon, New Atlantis (1624)

4.      Alexander Pope, Windsor Forest (1713)

5.      Jean Jacques Rousseau, from A Dissertation on the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind (1755)

6.      Oliver Goldsmith, “The Deserted Village” (1770)

7.      Immanuel Kant, 71-74, from The Third Critique (of judgment) (1790)

8.      John Clare, from The Village Minstrel and Other Poems (1821)

9.      William Wordsworth, selections from The Prelude (1850)

10.  Henry David Thoreau, “Economy,” “The Pond in Winter,” from Walden (1854)

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

12.  George P. Marsh, Chapter 1, “Introducing,” from The Earth as Modified by Human Action (1874)

13.  Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology,” from The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (1949, trans. William Lovitt, 1977), and “Building, Dwelling, Thinking,” from Poetry, Language, Thought (trans. Albert Hofstadter, 1971)

14.  Hannah Arendt, “Labor, Work, Action,” (1964, from The Portable Hannah Arendt 2000)

15.  Leo Marx, “Sleepy Hollow, 1844,” from The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (1964)

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

17.  Jonathan Bate, Chapter 2, “The Economy of Nature,” from Romantic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition (1991)

18.  Terry Gifford, “Three Kinds of Pastoral,” from Pastoral (1999)

19.  Robert N. Watson, Introduction and Chapter 3, from Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance (2007)


2. Ecocriticism and Modern Environmentalism


20.  Aldo Leopold, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” “The Conservation Aesthetic,” “The Land Ethic,” from A Sand County Almanac (1949)

21.  Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

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

23.  Ed Abbey, “Industrial Tourism and the National Parks,” from Desert Solitaire (1968)

24.  Yi-Fu Tuan, Chapter 8, “Topophilia and Environment,” from Topophilia (1974)

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

26.  Bill McKibben, “The End of Nature,” from The End of Nature (1989)

27.  Arne Naess, “The Deep Ecological Movement,” from Philosophical Inquiry (1986) and “The Deep Ecology ‘Eight Points’ Revisited,” from Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century (1995)

28.  Leslie Marmon Silko, “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination,” from The Ecocriticism Reader (1996)

29.  Cheryll Glotfelty, “Literary Studies in an Age of Environmental Crisis,” from The Ecocriticism Reader (1996)

30.  Richard Kerridge, “Environmentalism and Ecocriticism,” in The Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism (2006)

31.  Lawrence Buell, Introduction and Chapter 3, “Representing the Environment,” from The Environmental Imagination (1995); “Toxic Discourse,” from Critical Inquiry (1999)

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

33.  Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” (1986), from The Ecocriticism Reader (1996)

34.  Michael Pollan, “Weeds,” from Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education (1991); “The Feedlot: Making Meat,” from Omnivore's Dilemma (2006)

35.  E. O. Wilson, “Bernhardsdorp,” from Biophilia  (1984)

36.  Robert Bullard, Chapter 2, “Race, Class, and the Politics of Place,” from Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality (1990)

37.  Dana Philips, “Expostulations and Replies,” from The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America (2003)


3. Futures: Posthumanism, Risk, and Global Environmental Justice


38.  Donna Haraway,  “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth-Century,” from Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991); “Cyborgs to Companion Species: Reconfiguring Kinship in Technoscience,” from Chasing Technoscience: Matrix for Materiality (2003)

39.  N. Katherine Hayles, Chapters 1 and 11, from How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (1999)

40.  Giorgio Agamben, Part III from Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1998)

41.  Temple Grandin, “Animal Feelings,” from Animals in Translation (2004)

42.  Carey Wolfe, “Learning from Temple Grandin: Animal Studies, Disability Studies, and Who Comes after the Subject,” from What is Posthumanism? (2009)

43.  Vandana Shiva, Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2, from Biopiracy (1999)

44.  Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” from Critical Inquiry (2009)

45.  Greg Garrard, “How Queer Is Green?,” from Configurations  (2010)

46.  David Harvey, “Notes Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development,” from Spaces of Global Capitalism: A Theory of Uneven Geographical Development (2006)

47.  Ursula Heise, “Introduction” and “From the Blue Planet to Google Earth,” from Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (2008)

48.  Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley, “Introduction: Towards an Aesthetics of the Earth,” from Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment (2011)

49.  Paul Outka, “Introduction: The Sublime and the Traumatic,” from Race and Nature from Transcendentalism to the Harlem Renaissance (2008)

50.  Bruno Latour, Part I: “Crisis” and Part II: “Constitution,” from We Have Never Been Modern

51.  Ramachandra Guha, “Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique,” from Environmental Ethics (1989)

52.  Joan Martinez-Alier, “Currents of Environmentalism,” from The Environmentalism of the Poor (2002)

53.  Timothy Morton, “Thinking Ecology: The Mesh, the Strange Stranger, and the Beautiful Soul,” from Collapse (2010); “Queer Ecology,” from PMLA (2010)

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

55.  Anna Tsing, “Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species,” from Party Writing for Donna Haraway!

56.  Michael Ziser and Julie Sze, “Climate Change, Environmental Aesthetics, and Global Environmental Justice Cultural Studies,” from Discourse (2007)

57.  Ulrich Beck, Chapters 1 and 2, from Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (1986; trans. 1992)

58.  Rebecca Solnit, “Diary” on the BP Blowout, from London Review of Books (2010)

59.  Peter Van Wyck, “Waste,” from Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and the Nuclear Threat (2005)

Revised 10/2012