One of the best was to study any body of literature is by way of master practitioners of the craft of writing. These writers emphasize the role played by nonhuman nature in a wide range of human activity. They also interrogate the ways that human interactions with nature (plants, animals, geology, landscapes) have affected human life and the natural world. Some of these authors have environmentalist or preservationist agendas at times; others are more interested in the philosophical and cultural implications of human understanding of and impact on the natural environment. We will set their literary works in dialogue with scientists and nature writers of the past two centuries and will examine the current importance (as well as the controversial aspects) of their wide-ranging ideas.