At turns inspiring and terrifying, the wilderness has long played a central role in literature, and, in this course, we will explore how writers both reflect and construct the wilderness in their texts. Readings will span genres ranging from poetry to science fiction to film and feature works by a diverse group of writers including William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Jack London, Rachel Carson, and Annie Dillard, to name only a few. In the process, we will also concentrate on improving our skills of literary analysis. Reading well requires a great deal of work and attention: it demands self-reflection, as well as a knowledge of forms and genres of literature and a familiarity with some of the historical, political, and social concerns that underlie texts. Effectively expressing our ideas about what we read is also critical, so writing and discussion will be major components of this course. Work will include two formal essays, a mid-term and final exam, as well as quizzes and short reading responses.