Dan Brayton
Office
Axinn Center 310
Tel
(802) 443-3264
Email
dbrayton@middlebury.edu

Dan Brayton is a Professor of English and American Literatures and a member of  the Environmental Studies Program. He teaches courses on the literature of the sea, environmental literature, early modern drama (including Shakespeare), utopias and dystopias, regional literature, and world literature. He earned his doctorate at Cornell in 2001 and has published in Publications of the Modern Language Association, English Literary History, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Shakespeare Quarterly, Scribners’ British Writers series, and WoodenBoat. He has also had visiting appointments at Sea Education Association and the Williams-Mystic Program in Maritime Studies and has taught courses on tall ships in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Caribbean. He has served as the Literature, Art, and Music section editor of the journal, Coriolis: the Interdisciplinary Journal of  Maritime Studies. His monograph, Shakespeare’s Ocean: An Ecocritical Exploration (University of Virginia Press 2012) won the Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award, and his co-edited volume Ecocritical Shakespeare (with Lynne Dickson Bruckner) was published in 2011.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021

Requirements

CW, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Encounters With the Wild: Nature, Culture, Poetry (I) (Pre-1800)
Civilization is often defined against wilderness. The two ideas are not exclusive but mutually constitutive, for wilderness and the wild turn out to be central to notions of the civil and the civilized. Poets have long been preoccupied by the boundaries and connections between these ideas. The word "poetry" itself comes from a Greek word for "craft" or "shaping"; thus, poetry implies the shaping of natural elements into an artful whole. In this course we will examine the literary history of this ongoing dialectic by reading and discussing masterpieces of Western literature, from ancient epics to modern poetry and folklore. As we do so we will rethink the craft of poetry, and the role of the poet, in mapping the wild. Readings will include Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, sections of The Bible and Ovid's Metamorphoses, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and poems by Wyatt, Marlowe, Jonson, Donne, Marvell, Pope, and Thompson. (This course counts toward the ENVS Literature focus and the ENVS Environmental Non-Fiction Focus) lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Nature Poetry
Can a poem reframe the relationship between humans and nature? Poets have posed this and similar questions for centuries. Scholars of literature and the environment, or “ecocritics,” ask it anew with reference to ongoing disasters such as global climate change, mass extinction, and new pandemics. In this course we will develop our ecocritical skills by exploring how poems about the human relationship to the biophysical environment can inspire us to rethink our place in the universe. We will read works by such poets as Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Butler Yeats, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Elisabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, Lucia Perillo, and Jorie Graham. (at least one course each in ENAM and ENVS) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.(Formerly ENAM 0103)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Maritime Literature and Culture
Writers have long found the sea to be a cause of wonder and reflection. A mirror for some and a desert for others, the sea has influenced the imaginations of writers throughout history in vastly different ways. In this course we will read a variety of literary works, both fiction and non-fiction, in which the sea acts as the setting, a body of symbolism, an epistemological challenge, and a reason to reflect on the human relationship to nature. Readings will be drawn from the Bible, Homer's Odyssey, Old English Poetry, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Kipling, Conrad, Melville, Hemingway, Walcott, O'Brian, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Shakespeare on Tyranny
Shakespeare wrote a great deal about tyrants and tyranny throughout his career, from the early comedies and history plays to the great tragedies and late romances. Characters whose abuse of power for personal gain wreaks havoc and ultimately leads to their own demise are illustrative and instructive today. In this class we will read and discuss a selection of Shakespeare plays, including Richard III, Julius Caesar, Henry V, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, King Lear, and The Tempest, as well as a selection of historical materials on politics and statecraft. These readings will be supplemented by two modern scholarly books, Tyrant, by the literature scholar Stephen Greenblatt, and On Tyranny, by historian Timothy Snyder. Our main goals will be to hone our critical inquiry skills by close-reading and intensive discussion as well as to strengthen our research and writing skills. Prerequisite: at least one ENGL class. Pre-1800 tag.

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

Requirements

EUR, LIT, PHL

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required. (Formerly ENAM 0500)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term. (Formerly ENAM 0700)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Contested Grounds: U.S. Cultures and Environments
Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have created a complex set of meanings pertaining to the environments (wild, pastoral, urban, marine) in which they live. From European-Native contact to the present, Americans’ various identities, cultures, and beliefs about the bio-physical world have shaped the stories they tell about “nature,” stories that sometimes share common ground, but often create conflicting and contested understandings of human-environment relationships. In this course we will investigate these varied and contested stories from multi-disciplinary perspectives in the humanities—history, literature, and religion--and will include attention to race, class, gender, and environmental justice. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

AMR

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis) or ENVS 0703 (ES Senior Integrated Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Integrated Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment and that meaningfully integrates perspectives, methodologies, and/or approaches from multiple academic divisions (e.g., humanities/arts, natural sciences, social sciences). Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and approval of the Environmental Studies Program. The project, carried out under the co-supervision of two faculty advisors from different academic divisions of whom at least one is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Open to Senior ENVS majors) (Approval Only)

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2022

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Ecopoetry: From Nature to Environment
Can poetry save the world, as some have proposed? Maybe not, yet a poem can reframe our perceptions of the natural world. In this course we will develop our critical thinking and writing skills, as well as our “ecocritical” thinking skills, by exploring how poems about the human relationship to the biophysical environment can inspire us to rethink our place in the universe. We will read works by such poets as Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, Lucia Perillo, Jorie Graham, and Layli Long Soldier. 3hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

Requirements

CW, LIT

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Student must obtain a faculty advisor, complete a Directed Study proposal form, obtain signatures, and submit to the Associate Dean of Academic Operations for approval.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

In this course we will explore the complex dynamics of environmental history, cultural history, and marine conservation on the Monterey Peninsula and environs. Our major focus of study will be the relationships between climate, biophysical environment, and human civilization at key stages of the region’s modern development. We will read and discuss a variety of works by historians, novelists, poets, and scientists on the complex historical dynamics of different regional groups, from the indigenous inhabitants of the region to various settler groups. Emphasis will be placed on the twentieth-century historical context, when the sardine fishery and canneries competed for predominance with tourism. We will go on numerous field trips to such places as the Elkhorn Slough, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos, and Asilomar Beach. Readings will include sections from the following books of local significance: The Death and Life of Monterey Bay, by Palumbi and Sotka, Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Kroeber’s Ishi Between Two Worlds; Chiang’s Shaping the Shoreline; Ulanski’s The California Current, and Ricketts’ Between Pacific Tides. (This course is for students enrolled in the Middlebury Climate Semester Program (January-May) and will be taught on the Monterey campus.) (Approval Only) AMR, HIS, LIT

Terms Taught

Spring 2022 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only, Spring 2023 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

NOTE: This course is only available to students enrolled in the Middlebury California Coast and Climate Semester.

In terms of responding to global warming and forging climate policy, California has emerged as the leading state in this country. In this course we will explore the complex and intertwining cultural and environmental forces and trends that have led to the state’s emergence as a climate leader. We will seek to understand what climate change means to Californians by studying what place and environment have meant to its human inhabitants, grounding our class discussions in the essays by climate activists collected in All We Can Save, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. In addition, we will explore historical and anthropological studies of indigenous, Spanish, Russian, Mexican, and US California as well as novels and poems by Californians John Steinbeck and Robinson Jeffers. This environmental humanities course is intended for students participating in the Middlebury California Climate Semester program.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022 - MIIS, Spring 2023 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Terms Taught

Spring 2022 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog