This mini-unit is aimed at introducing literature and some basic knowledge of literary methods to students in disciplines outside of literature, including those outside the humanities. It stimulates students to reflect on their own position as individual subjects in their environment, and on the values and emotions that are part of every interaction with it. Educators may discuss, and encourage students to think critically about a type of naïve realism that assumes literary texts must abide by ecological, biological or other physical processes in the real world, or are of better quality when they do. It is important that students leave this unit with the understanding that natural science knowledge and literary studies knowledge are achieved, produced and expressed in different ways, and science and literature should be judged by their own, methodologically and epistemologically different and equally valuable standards. We recommend that educators teaching this unit consult colleagues in a language and literature department, if this is not their own discipline.
Suggested secondary readings:
Buell, Lawrence. “Introduction” from The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1995. 1-27.
Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. London: Routledge, 2004.
Glotfelty, Cheryll. “Introduction: Literary Studies in an Age of Environmental Crisis.” The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996. xv-xxxvii.
Larson, Brendon M.H. “The Ethics of Scientific Language About the Environment.” The Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics. Eds Alwin F. Fill and Hermine Penz. New York and London: Routledge, 2018. 367-377.
Lönngren, Ann-Sofie. “Metaphor, Metonymy, More-Than-Anthropocentric. The Animal That Therefore I Read (and Follow).” The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature. Eds. Susan McHugh, Robert McKay and John Miller. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 37-50.
Ritson, Katie and Eveline de Smalen. “Imagining the Anthropocene with the Wadden Sea.” Maritime Studies 20 (2021): 293-303.
de Smalen, Eveline. “Sandpipers and the art of letting go: narratives of conservation in the Wadden Sea.” Arcadia: Explorations in Environmental History. 9 (2021): n.p.
Trexler, Adam. Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel in a Time of Climate Change. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.
Weil, Kari. “Why Animal Studies Now?” Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now? New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
Suggested primary readings:
NL (DE, DK) Heijmans, Toine. Op zee. Amsterdam: Pluim, 2011.
NL (EN) Leeflang, Ed. “De drieteenstrandloper.” n.d. Poetry International Archives. Accessed 7 Feb. 2022.
DE Neudecker, Christiane. Sommernovelle. Munich: Luchterhand, 2015.
DK Vik, Kjersti. Mandø. Aschehoug: Oslo, 2009.