Over the past few decades, concern for the environment has pushed nature into the forefront of our thought. However, many of the various ways that we think about nature—as unforgiving wilderness, a stern but loving mother, a majestic stranger, a domesticated garden, and an economic opportunity—have their origin in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this course, we will focus closely on a small, but representative group of eighteenth and nineteenth century British and American texts. Using these texts as a starting point, students will develop their own body of academic writing about the various ways that literature shapes how we think about nature. Our readings also include a number of rigorous theoretical texts, and pieces on the practice of good academic writing. Assignments are designed to develop academic argumentation through literary analysis, although the goal will be to develop argumentative skills that also apply to fields other than literary studies. Students will write four short assignments, three formal papers, and an in-depth revision, for a total of about 30 pages of polished writing.