analyze how they represent nature and make a case for the extent to which they are “environmentally oriented” (to

analyze how they represent nature and make a case for the
extent to which they are “environmentally oriented” (to borrow Buell’s phrase). The primary site of your analysis
should be a text or collection of texts from one of the 19th or early 20th century writers we’ve encountered thus
far in the course: Emerson, Cooper, Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Muir, Burroughs, Albery Whitman, McClellan,
Dunbar, Dunbar-Nelson, and Austin. (Please note that the critical texts we’ve read—the Merchant, the Buell, the
Purdy, the Schulz, the Stewart, etc.—are not options, nor is the Kimmerer [given that hers is a contemporary
text].)
Admittedly, we may have different ideas about what it means for a text or writer to be “environmentally
oriented,” and we might even debate whether a text can (or should!) be entirely ecocentric. (After all, despite his
four highly specific criteria, even Buell admits that it’s near impossible for a text to meet all his measures for an
“environmentally oriented text.”) Given this, I’m far less interested in seeing you make absolutist claims about
whether or not this literature is “environmental” than in your more nuanced understanding of the writer or text’s
perspectives on the natural world—exploring both the writer’s achievements and their blind-spots. I’m interested
in what you see as the defining features of the writer’s representation of nature, and in what you understand to
be the implications of those representations.