The literature major is designed to give students an understanding and appreciation of our literary heritage, and to allow them to develop and pursue their personal literary interests. Literature is a humanistic discipline that emphasizes close observation and analysis, imaginative response, thinking in a broad intellectual and historical context, and the skills of speech and writing. Literature majors thrive in many professions, but the skills we emphasize translate most directly into careers in law, government, business, advertising, journalism, education, and entertainment.
The major consists of a two-course survey of the principal writers of British literature, usually taken in the sophomore year; an intensive course in the history of literary criticism, usually taken in the junior year; one course focusing on the work of a single British or American author; one course in American literature; and a set of four electives, two unrestricted and two distributed by period. Literature majors should have an advisor in the department, or regularly consult with a member of the department as they are planning their courses.
The Literature department is strongly committed to helping students improve their writing. All first-year students take FWS 010 CM, a one-semester course in composition and literary analysis, or an approved alternative.