- Code ENGL6021
- Unit Value 6 units
This course invites you to engage closely with works of fiction and non-fiction that exemplify and experiment with ‘nature’ and ‘retreat’ as concepts central to American aesthetics. You will be introduced to theories about both ‘nature’ and ‘retreat’, while exploring aesthetic and philosophical experiments with these concepts. You will read the canonical works of nineteenth-century writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Frederick Douglass alongside a variety of twentieth- and twenty-first fiction and non-fiction. In doing so, you will both critically analyse and creatively experiment with words, images and other elements central to how past and present thinkers have conceptualised such topics as being, time, place, self & community, solitude & solace, freedom and the divine while taking a critical stance on issues such as capitalist production and consumption, technological change, war trauma, climate and more.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- define concepts such as ‘nature’ and ‘retreat’ while critically and/or creatively experimenting with how to write and speak about these concepts;
- develop in-depth analysis and hone skills in high-level argumentation based on theorising and conceptualising ideas of ‘nature’ and ‘retreat’; and
- develop a sophisticated critical, comparative and theoretical stance on how specific American texts both represent and shape general ideas concerning ‘nature’ and ‘retreat’.
- critical and/or creative concept exercise (20 minutes per weekly in-class written exercise) (25) [LO 1,2,3]
- short written exercise (1500 words) (25) [LO 1,2,3]
- major comparative essay (3000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed texts may include:
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Penguin, based on original 1855 edition)
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Herman Melville, ‘Bartley the Scrivener’
Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018)
Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods (2017)
Leave No Trace (2017; director Debra Granik)
As per prescribed texts
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|3431||17 Feb 2025||24 Feb 2025||31 Mar 2025||23 May 2025||In Person||N/A|