Overstories: Telling the Lives of Trees

Subject code


Course Number



L. Nayder

Course Long Title

Overstories: Telling the Lives of Trees


Who tells the stories of trees, how do they tell them, and why? How are the lives and voices of forests captured and constructed? Students in this course address these questions by examining a range of novels, histories, and scientific studies focused on trees and forests, and by constructing their own narratives -- fictional and/or historical -- about their lives with trees, including those on the Bates campus and in the surrounding community. They consider how trees and forests have been identified by writers as models for human beings and human communities. Students hear from those who work with trees, including foresters and arborists, and consider the ways in which the lives of trees and those of human beings are intertwined. Readings include Richard Powers, The Overstory; John Fowles, The Tree; Lauren Oakes, In Search of the Canary Tree; and Peter Wohlleben, The Secret Lives of Trees. Prerequisite(s): ENVR 205 or one 100-level English course.

Writing Credit

No writing credit

Departmental Course Attributes - Major/Minor Requirements

(English: Post-1800)

INDS Program Relationship

IDES - ENVR Program