The river may be the geographic feature of the earth that speaks to us most deeply. It divides and it connects; it is what takes us to things and away from things. And it comes naturally to us to find some metaphor for human experience in the strength or flow or velocity of a river, to find the familiar in the sight of two rivers peaceably merging, or to imagine a kinship in the way one river pours itself into another. The course would investigate the river in literature as a place of search; solitude; community; industry; escape; and transformation and renewal. Reading would include work by, among others, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad, Norman Maclean.