Beyond Literary Landscapes—Survivalism

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column focuses on the lesser-known genre of Survivalism in literature.

Survivalism can also be seen in cinema, television series, music, as well as video games.  It is believed to have originally been influenced by fears of nuclear crisis during the Cold War.

Examples of Survivalist authors include William Golding, Stephen King, Ayn Rand, and Waubgeshig Rice.


Examples of Survivalism in literature include Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Stand by Stephen King, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice.


These novels are set throughout the United States, northern Canada, and Great Britain.


These works take place during the 19, 20, and 21-centuries.


These novels may be of interest to AU students who would like to learn more about protagonists defeating all odds to survive in a harsh world, as well as the human condition under extreme duress.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Survivalism are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in ENGL 460: The Ecological Imagination, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “considers topics such as climate justice, wilderness, birds, metaphor, technology, the limitations of language and imagination, environmental racism and inequities, Indigenous representations of the environment, decolonization, the Anthropocene, pandemics, hope, grief, and visions of the future.”  (Please note that this course requires several prerequisites, including ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays.  Students are also encouraged to take an intermediate English course.)  Happy reading!