English 40 - Winter, 2016

Introductory Topics in Literature

    Topic: Natural Disasters: an Introduction to Literature on the Ecological Crisis

Class Information

Instructor: Glazner, Greg
CRN: 43584
Time: MWF 11:00-11:50
Location: 206 Olson


    This course is an introduction to literature written under the pressures of the
    environmental crisis. The emphasis is on 21st century nonfiction, fiction, and
    poetry. Some 20th century work is included as well. Extensive reading of works
    by Elizabeth Kolbert, Don DeLillo, Ann Pancake, Kevin Brockmeier, Carl Phillips,
    Dana Levin, Arthur Sze, Ross Gay, Jon Davis, David Baker, Camille Dungy, and
    others will be involved.

    Key questions include the following: What are some of the parameters of the
    environmental crisis? How is “imaginative” writing affected by the crisis? What
    ways of addressing the situation are implied or made explicit by the texts? How
    do style and technique give power to literary works written in the face of

    While this is a lecture course, discussion will be an important component.
    Periodically, smaller discussion groups will deliberate and bring their findings
    to the full class. In-class Skype interviews with a number of authors whose work
    we will be reading will add immediacy to the course content.


    Daily quizzes and assignments 45%
    Attendance, work done in smaller group discussion 10%
    A midterm paper 15%
    An “outside event” paper 10%
    A final paper 20%


    Web Links and PDFs—non-fiction, fiction, and poetry
    The Kenyon Review (May - June 20-2015), available in e-version
    White Noise, Don DeLillo
    California, Edan Lipucki
    Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, Ann Pancake