FSEM: Writing Ecology: Literature and Environment

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Archive for January, 2008

Susan Fennimore Cooper and Emerson

After reading the selections from Susan Fennimore Cooper (James Fennimore Cooper’s daughter (author of _Last of the Mohicans_) and Ralph Waldo Emerson, think over and respond to the following questions in your blog by class time on Tuesday:

As Cooper and Emerson were writing during a similar time period as Thoreau, how does their perspective on nature and humans relationship to the non-human differ or complement Thoreau’s perspective from Walden? In what ways do you think Emerson and Thoreau might disagree/agree? What does Emerson say about working the land and about being “solitary”?

Did Susan Fennimore Cooper write merely for “the writer’s (her own) amusement, as she states in the Preface to Rural Hours? How do you think her perspective on nature and the use/abuse of resources would have been received in 1850? Do you think that her being a woman writer affected the critical reception of the work? What does she say about wilderness, and the history of the land (in relation to both native americans and old growth forests)?


For Tuesday:  After reading up through “Solitude” (page 208), and the selection from Glen Love (available on Blackboard under course documents, “week 2”, think though and answer the following questions in the blog:

How does Thoreau’s description of the non-human world fit into Cronon’s discussion of wilderness?  Do you agree with Cronon that Thoreau demonstrates a “stern loneliness” in his experience of “wilderness”, at Walden Pond?  Does he find “wildness” there (without leaving civilization far behind)?  How is “reading” part of Thoreau’s experience at Walden Pond?  What kind of perspective does Thoreau gain in his semi-isolation from society at Walden Pond?

Response to William Cronon: “The Trouble with Wilderness”

How does the reading either go along with or differ from your past notions of nature and the role of humans in its destruction? Have you had “wilderness” experiences such as the ones that Cronon mentions in his article? What does “wilderness” mean to you? Do you agree with Cronon’s presentation of the concept of “wilderness”? What are some of the possible consequences of conserving wilderness spaces in the Third World (or in the US)?


Tell us a bit about yourself: where did you grow up?  What are your interests (academically and personally)?  Why did you sign up for this freshman seminar?  With the first semester down, how has your experience at UMW been so far?

Register your blog address here

After you have created your blog, please register your blog address here: Dr. Larochelle’s Freshman Seminar, Spring 2008.