All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the first half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.
This course will look at the tree in Scandinavian literature from its role in Old Norse creation mythology and cosmology to contemporary examinations of the materiality of the book, such as the “Future Library” project, in which books written by prominent authors will be printed on 1,000 trees harvested from Oslo’s Nordmarka in 2114. Along the way, we will examine how literature represents the ways in which humans relate to trees as metaphors, symbols, resources, and historical markers. Texts to be read include parts of the Poetic and Prose Eddas, relevant folktales, poetry by a variety of Scandinavian poets including Hans Børli, Tomas Tranströmer and Inger Christensen, Kerstin Ekman’s crime novel Blackwater, and Erlend Loe’s satire Doppler, as well as presentations of artists and writers whose work considers the relationship between forests, paper, and text. This course will provide students ample room to explore the topic from a variety of angles, and they should be able to find a wide variety of materials to support their research. In addition, the topic provides opportunities for exercises outside the classroom that take advantage of the variety of plant life on the Berkeley campus.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.