Constructing Nature

Constructing Nature - Richard Jenseth - 9780132908757 - Biology - Ecology/Environmental Science (95)
Allyn & Bacon
Richard Jenseth / Edward E. Lotto  
Total pages
January 1996
Related Titles

Product detail

Title no longer available


Appropriate for freshman composition and all level college English courses that include readings on nature and cultural studies. It may also be used for introductory courses in Environmental Studies and Environmental Politics.

A reader on nature that presents substantial, complex readings within the context of American culture. Assignment sequences have been provided to help students learn to write on a single subject from a variety of perspectives.


  • the reading selections are organized chronologically and focus exclusively on the concept of nature in America. Students thus can see how nature has been viewed historically, from the time of the exploration of the new world to the present day.
  • substantial, intellectually challenging reading selections are complete in themselves or are major sections of longer works. These selections provide a rich context context for students' reading and help them fully explore the topics presented.
  • a major section on the current environment movement allows students to connect their academic work with what is happening in the world right now.
  • informal writing activities following reading selections ensure careful reading and facilitate classroom discussion.
  • assignment sequences at the end of the book ask students to use different selections in writing about the same topic from a variety of perspectives. These sequences help students think critically and make connections among the ideas developed in different selections.

Table of Contents

1. “New World” Encounters: Late Fifteenth to Early Nineteenth Century.

Christopher Columbus, from theDigest of Columbus's Log-Book on His First Voyage. Bartolome de Las Casas, from The Devastation of the Indies. Thomas Jefferson, from Notes on the State of Virginia. J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, from Letters from an American Farmer. William Bartram, from The Travels of William Bartram. John James Audubon, from Audubon and His Journals. William Cullen Bryant, "Sonnet- to an American Painter Departing for Europe", "The Yellow Violet"

2. Nature, Self, and Spirit: Mid and Late Nineteenth Century.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Nature. Nathaniel Hawthorne, from The Scarlet Letter. Henry David Thoreau, from Walden. Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass. Emily Dickinson, There's a Certain Slant of Light. The Brain is wider than the Sky. Isabella L. Bird, from A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. Sarah Orne Jewett, The White Heron.

3. Contesting the Uses of Nature: Early and Middle Twentieth Century.

Theodore Roosevelt, Wilderness Reserves: Yellowstone Park. Gifford Pinchot, fromThe Fight for Conservation. John Burroughs, The Spell of Yosemite. Aldo Leopold, The River of the Mother of God. The Land Ethic. Rachel Carson, from Silent Spring.

4. Constructing Nature in Words: Recent Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction.

Jack Kerouac, Alone on a Mountaintop. N. Scott Momaday, from The Way to Rainy Mountain. Edward Abbey, from The Monkey Wrench Gang. Norman Machlean, form A River Runs Through It. Annie Dillard, Living Like Weasels. Leslie Marmon Silko, Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination. Gretel Ehrlich, This Autumn Morning. Sandra Alcosser, Approaching August. Dana Giola, Rough Country. William Matthews, Names. Mary Oliver, Sleeping in the Forest.

5. Responses to the Current Environmental Crisis.

Ernest Callenbach, from Ecotopia. Al Gore, Environmentalism of the Spirit. Paula Diperna, Truth vs. Facts. Barry Lopez, Renegotiating the contracts. John McPhee, from Encounters with the Archdruid. Carolyn Merchant, The Global Ecological Crisis. P.J. O'Rourke, The Green House Affect. Michael Pollan, The Idea of a Garden. Rik Scarce, Raid on Reykjavik.

Assignment Sequences.

Sequence One: The Intrinsic Value of Nature. Sequence Two: Reflecting upon Individual Encounters with Nature. Sequence Three: The Influence of Nature. Sequence Four: Constructing Nature Locally. Sequence Five: The Control Nature.