Eng 122EN, Fall 2006

Ecocriticism and the Writing of Nature

This course is an ecological survey of Western literature. In much the same way that feminist critics are interested in literary representations of gender and women, ecological critics (or simply “ecocritics”) explore how nature and the natural world are imagined through literary texts. As with changing perceptions of gender, such literary representations are not only generated by particular cultures; they play a significant role in generating those cultures. Thus if we wish to understand contemporary America’s attitude toward the environment, its literary history is an excellent place to start. While authors such as Thoreau and Wordsworth may first come to mind in this context, literary responses to environmental concerns are as old as the issues themselves. Deforestation, air pollution, endangered species, wetland loss, animal rights, and rampant consumerism have all been appearing as controversial issues in Western literature for thousands of years. Starting with an excerpt from one of the West’s earliest texts, The Myth of Gilgamesh, this course will explore the often-ignored literary history of the natural world.

“Please rate the overall quality of the instructor’s teaching”

Average rating: 4.9 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ I actually enjoyed the course a great deal and didn’t miss a single lecture.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great teacher, able to spur on discussion.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great attitude and joy to have as an instructor. Not all of the readings were in my taste, but a very good class nonetheless.

♣♣♣♣♣ One of the best classes I’ve taken in 3 years at UCSB, definitely best professor. Very helpful in office hours, and lectures really explain the readings. Don’t change. I plan on taking more classes with you.

♣♣♣♣♣ Best instructor I have had at UCSB.

♣♣♣♣♣ Instructor very caring and patient with students. Made course material interesting. Would definitely take another course with this instructor.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very helpful, interesting lectures and good tests. Very understanding.

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent class, fair grading, good lectures. Overall, a great class and wonderful professor. He renewed my faith in the English Department at UCSB.

♣♣♣♣♣ This is a really good class. Interesting and thought provoking. Hiltner is a good teacher. Hard to read 2 books in 2 weeks though.

♣♣♣♣♣ Hiltner was amazing! I will jump at the chance to take any course with him in the future. He showed genuine interest in our ideas and curiosity, made himself readily available for discussion outside of class. Great discussion – he is intelligent and speaks with clarity.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very interesting, fresh information. Presented in an exciting, relevant way. Perfect amount of work and readings. Went above normal standards to get to know students and to teach effectively. Interesting lecturer. Fair grader. Overall, a very valuable course, taught in an interesting and accessible way. People were sad when instructor left on the last day of lecture!

♣♣♣♣♣ Very helpful, went out of his way to make sure people knew what was going on. Easy to talk to. Good discussions. Fair tests/papers.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this course. All material read in an ecocriticism view was very interesting and thought provoking. I learned so much and feel more conscious about my surroundings, environment and literature. Professor Hiltner was excellent and I very much appreciate his kindness, help an great attitude in class!

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this class. It had a good combination of literary focus as well as information and learning on a new subject. I appreciate the instructor’s teaching methods and dedication to accommodating his students; he obviously cares a lot about his students’ education and that is a rare, precious quality. I also found his lecturing interesting.

♣♣♣♣♣ This course was so interesting it was fun! I was so into the course ideas and concepts that I didn’t want to do any other courses’ work as it would take my time away from this, more important class. And when I was writing for another class, the ideas of this class would make up lots of the content in relation to the other class’ concepts. Thanks and see you next quarter, Professor Hiltner!

♣♣♣♣ A really fun class with interesting material. You have a great command of the subject.

♣♣♣♣ Hiltner is an exceptional professor. He is thorough and very knowledgeable, and always willing to explain or discuss with the students. His explanations of the material were good, but I strongly feel that the material itself could have been much more interesting or intriguing. The readings were so focused on pre-modern times that the course became less compelling than he was capable of making it.

♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is a good teacher, yet I felt he employed group discussion mode too often. I feel it would have been more efficient to be taught the concepts on the discussion sheets as a class and then break into groups to talk about it. His method, I felt, had made the students more the teacher.

Unrated. Ken Hiltner is very nice and knowledgeable – always willing to help and is available for office hours.

Unrated. He was awesome! Very enthusiastic and made the material interesting. Enjoyed him very much. He also gave me good criticism.

Unrated. Professor Hiltner is very helpful and clear. Although I found the tests and readings very difficult but he put them in simple words and made us understand them. I’m very satisfied with him.