Course Description: In this course we will explore a selection of literature written in or about the Pacific Northwest. Water is one thematic focus of the course because it is arguably an important character, perhaps even the main character, of so much of the literature coming out of the region. Through our readings and discussions, we will determine if such a thematic focus is indeed appropriate for this body of literature, or if it is only arbitrary. These thematic explorations will help us to determine whether there is actually a discernable literature of the Pacific Northwest, defined by certain boundaries and criteria, or if the literature of the region defies categorization. In our reading of a selection of short fiction, poetry, essays, and other writings, we will attempt to achieve the following goals:
- Know and appreciate some of the many authors who write in, and are influenced by, the Pacific Northwest;
- Understand how water and other thematic devices shape art, life, industry, and spirituality;
- Achieve consensus (or at least a productive debate!) about whether there is a uniquely discernible northwestern identity that is made apparent in literature;
- Determine whether principles of literary regionalism can help us to identify a distinctive, coherent body of northwestern literature.