Art and Nature

Expressing Ideas through Landscape

Literary Landscapes

How can authors evoke landscape in their writing? How does landscape affect a written narrative?

Landscapes Depicted in Writing

Writers create a sense of place for their readers. This sense of place affects how readers experience the story. Many writers use their real-life experiences in nature to create the setting for their stories. This means they interact with landscapes using multiple senses (including sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) and use words to share what they observe. Each author experiences nature differently, and these unique experiences are reflected in their work.

Explore how different authors have evoked landscape in their writing. How do you think these writers were inspired by natural landscapes? What techniques did they use to guide their observations of these landscapes? How did they incorporate landscape into their writing?

Bring It Together

Once you have explored the nature-inspired writings above, consider the following activities:

  • Act it out. Choose one of the written works above. How would you turn this text into a performance? How can you translate the setting to your performance?

  • Personify the landscape. Write a diary entry from the perspective of one of the mountains, trees, streams, or other geological features in one of the written works above.

  • Create a two-dimensional artwork of one of the landscapes in the writing. How can you translate the setting of the story to your two-dimensional artwork?

  • Write a letter to one of the authors.

    • Tell them how you think their use of setting affects the narrative of their work.

    • Tell them what you think they did well when creating the setting.

    • Tell them what you think they could do to improve their description of the setting.

  • Ask them questions. What do you wonder about their process for describing landscapes?

  • Choose one of the landscapes from the writings and write your own story set in the landscape. How is your narrative similar to the author’s story? How is your narrative different? What new details can you bring to the landscape to make it your own?