This course analyzes the constellation of images and sensations conjured up by the terms "jungle" and "desert," which are opposite but equally extreme. We will explore European adventure tales and travelogues, contemporary non-Western novels, children's books, and films in a quest to understand the imaginative power of these landscapes.
Through our readings of such a wide range of texts, we will ask questions such as, What do these landscapes signify? How do descriptions of landscape convey a sense of individual and collective identity? What psychological terrain is explored when writing about extreme landscapes? And, finally, how do we each see ourselves in relation to landscape? What is our own version of an "extreme" landscape?