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The keywords listed below are terms that we have discussed in some form or keep returning to in our discussions and readings. In your own critical reading and writing, it makes sense to focus on some keywords: that the author is using to make the argument; that you can use (as you write and revise) to focus in on your argument and the narrative. These are ways that we in the world of intellectual writing and academic culture tell our stories. And we know from Thoreau and others, though especially from Thoreau, that the senses of the words we use matter in the world.

You might also think of these, updated for digital reference, as a list of “tags.” You can use this for self-evaluation: by the end of the course, how well do you grasp these terms? And before the end of the course, you can use the keywords you don’t grasp or understand to add to your to-do list and discuss with me in conference.

  • Analogy
    • Berry, “Solving for Pattern”; Thoreau, Emerson…
  • Animal Liberation
    • Peter Singer (related concept: equal consideration)
  • Anthropomorphism
    • Thoreau (Walden as earth’s eye)
  • Anthropocene
    • Nixon; Thoreau?
  • Anthropocentric
    • Leopold; Buell
  • Biotic Community
    • Leopold
  • Complexity(Intricacy)
    • Dillard
  • Context
    • Berry
  • Culture, cultural, cultivation
    • various discussions
  • Deep Ecology
    • related topic: Gaia Theory
    • David Abram, (Annie Dillard, Thoreau?)
  • Deliberate: living, reading, writing
    • Thoreau, Walden
  • Ecocentric
    • Buell
  • Ecology/ecological
    • numerous discussions
  • Ecocriticism (vs. environmental criticism)

    • Buell, Future of Environmental Criticism
  • Ekphrasis
    • Dillard: ekphrasis or ecphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, ‘out’ and ‘speak’ respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name.
    • A related rhetorical concept: enargia–vivid, energetic composition.
  • Energy Circuit
    • Leopold
  • Environmentality
    • Buell
  • Environmental Ethics, Environmental Justice
    • Buell; ; Nixon; Singer and Mason
  • Environmental History
    • Leopold, Cronon
  • Environmental Humanities
    • Buell, Nixon
  • Epitome
    • Thoreau (“Spring”)
  • Extravagance
    • Thoreau
  • Fecundity
    • Dillard
  • Fractal
  • Husbandry
  • Irony
    • Thoreau, Berry
  • Land Ethic
    • Leopold
  • Love
    • Burroughs, Berry
  • Metaphor
    • Thoreau: earth’s eye
    • Buell: book of nature/fine print
  • Metonymy

    • Thoreau, Walden: small Waldens
  • More-than-human
    • Abram, “Ecology of Magic”
  • Mythology
    • Thoreau
  • Nature, natural
    • various discussion
  • Nature Writing (vs. environmental writing)
    • Buell, Future of Environmental Criticism
  • Organic
    • Berry, “Solving for Pattern”
  • Pastoral
    • Thoreau, Walden; Buell
  • Pattern(vs. problem)
    • Berry
  • Phenomenology (Perception)
    • Abram, “The Ecology of Magic”
  • Place, Space, and Non-Place
    • Buell, FEC
    • Dillard
  • Postructural Thought/Theory
    • Buell (FEC, p. 10): links between postructural thought and ecology
    • decentering, deconstruction of binary thinking
  • Reinhabitation
    • Buell, FEC
    • Berry
  • Sauntering
    • Thoreau, “Walking”
  • Seeing
    • Burroughs, “The Art of Seeing Things”
    • Dillard
  • Specificity
    • Dillard
  • Sublime
    • Emerson, Muir, Dillard, Cronon
  • Synaesthesia
    • Dillard
  • Texture
    • Dillard
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    • Abrams, Momaday, Silko

Some important critical works mentioned or discussed:

  • David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Language and Perception in a More-than-Human World
  • Buell, The Environmental Imagination [one of the first ecocritical readings of American environmental literature, focusing around Thoreau]; The Future of Environmental Criticism
  • Cameron, Writing Nature [arguing for Thoreau’s journal over Walden]
  • Cavell, The Senses of Walden [Walden as American philosophy, singificant in every word]
  • Johnson, Passions for Nature [Susan Cooper and Thoreau’s later work vs the Romantic/metaphor of nature in Emerson and earlier Thoreau]
  • Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor
  • Marx, The Machine in the Garden [on the pastoral in American literature, including Thoreau’s version in Walden]
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