English 12: Literature and the Environment

Upper School

Grade 12


Credits: .5

Questions about the relationship between humans and the environment have been some of the most essential throughout all of literature, from Tang Dynasty poetry to Greek pastoral to contemporary climate fiction. In our current, pivotal moment, those questions have become increasingly urgent, and in this class students will study those questions, as well as how different writers ask and answer them. Students will read a range of genres, including personal essay, poetry, science fiction, and science writing. Though the course will look back on the tradition of environmental writing, students will spend most of their time with current works.

Possible Texts: World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil; The Essential W.S. Merwin; current issues of Orion Magazine, and Black Nature, ed. Camille Dungy; All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, ed. Johnson and Wilkinson; Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich; and American War by Omar El Akkad.