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BA with a concentration in Literature

The Literature concentration provides students with an in-depth background in British and American literature and a foundation in the methods and practices of literary studies. By taking courses in a variety of literary periods and genres, English majors concentrating in literature gain rich exposure to literary history and to the texts, movements, authors, and cultural forces that constitute it. In addition, students are trained in analysis and interpretation, the uses of literary theory, and the complex organizational and verbal skills involved in critical writing.

In fulfilling the requirements of the concentration, students study literary subjects ranging from Chaucer to Toni Morrison; Shakespeare to the Romantic poets; Milton; Donne; and their contemporaries to contemporary drama. Special topics courses are regularly offered in areas such as Lewis Carroll and nonsense literature; Arthurian legends; and race, gender, and cultural studies.

The literature concentration offers extensive training in critical thinking, advanced reading and analysis, and oral and written communication. It also addresses questions of artistic production, textuality, culture, values, and communication. For these and other reasons, literature has proved an excellent concentration for students planning careers in law, education, publishing, journal and magazine writing, research, evaluation, advertising, library science, public relations, business, and public service.

Concentration Requirements

All students concentrating in literature take the Colloquium in Literature (English 376), an introduction to literary studies, close reading, and the theoretical lenses through which literary texts can be viewed (for example, feminist theory, psychoanalytic criticism, new historicism). Students also take literature courses from a range of designated periods as described below.

  • English 376 or 377 (should be taken at the beginning of the major).
  • One course in pre-1800 literature: 301, 321, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 431.
  • One course in American literature: 331, 332, 333, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 441, 442, 443, 444.
  • One additional literature course: 301, 302, 321, 331, 332, 333, 335, 336, 339, 351, 381, 384, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 419, 420, 421, 422, 423, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, 441, 442, 443, 444, 451, 452, 453, 454, 456, 459, 479, 480, 481, 482, 483, 486, 490, 491, 492.
  • One upper-division English elective.

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