ENG 191: Reading Literature: Science, Technology, and Nature
This course examines literature as a response to scientific, technological, and ecological change and considers how new discoveries inspire new visions in literature. The course features literary works that contextualize past understandings of Nature, the environment, and scientific and technological advances; interpret and critique changes happening in the present; and imagine the changes that might occur in the future. As part of our focus, we will consider literature from the past and present that addresses the impact of scientific, technological, and ecological changes. For example, we’ll read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) alongside the recent graphic series Destroyer (2018), which reimagines Shelley’s original novel against the backdrop of nanotechnology and the Black Lives Matter movement. We will read nature writing from the Romantic period (1785-1837), an era in which writers turned to Nature as a source of inspiration and solace, and pair it with recent works in environmental humanities, specifically the role of literature in an age of climate change. Students should leave the course with a broad understanding of how literary production responds to scientific, technological, and ecological changes over time.