What exactly do you do in college as an English Lit major?

For example, what books do you read, or are exptected to read, and what kind of papers or assignments do you do?

Thanks in advance!

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  • JY
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Do you mean British lit, or just as an English major with a focus on literature? As an English major you take a few classics courses - mythology, Biblical lit, Aneid, Oddesy, Divine Comedy, stuff like that; as well as some fundamentals of literature courses where you study different genres and styles and devices. Then you typically take a few British Lit and American Lit courses where you read Dickens and Austen and Hawthorne and Crane and the like. You'll take some poetry classes and most schools require a seminar focusing on a particular author. I did mine on Chaucer, but you can do Shakespeare, Woolf, whatever they offer. Then you get to do electives where you can pick literature from a particular time period or country, or women's lit, or something like that, and to me those were the most fun.

    There is a LOT of reading, obviously, and a lot of writing. It is not uncommon to have a paper due every week, sometimes multiple papers. You analyze works, pick apart plot and characters; try to figure out why the author said this, or what he thought about that; you find themes in works and obsess about them; you write opinion pieces, and a lot of the time, you read criticism and compare the critics' reactions to your own, or to that of other critics. You write 16 page papers about medieval religious poetry, then read them 10 years later and wonder how the hell you ever pulled it off.

  • 1 decade ago

    Depends on the type of track you take and your school.

    My secondary major is in British Literature, so I'm expected to take things like an English literature survey (either early period or modern period) and Shakespeare. My school is fairly lenient on the electives. One of my courses is called Medieval Celtic Literatures. I've also have taken a class on detective literature as well and another on the works of Bram Stoker.

    Reading and coursework also depends on the teacher. One of my general classes was called Critical Approaches to Literature. People in the other class were expected to read 9 books that focused on American authors. My class had the Medieval and Gothic literature professor so we read Dracula, Picture of Dorian Gray, and Macbeth; however, we also had 2 major research papers that the other class didn't. My English lit survey class was taught by one of the poetry professors so the readings mostly focused on that. My American lit survey course was taught by one of the writting professors, so we had papers due in that class.

    I've also taken classes on liguistics, but that's because I didn't want to take a creative writing course (for some reason my school groups those two together).

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    you will probable take training in English Literature (Victorian many times), American Literature, Poetry, and Shakespeare. some books/authors you are able to study in Victorian Lit: Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot some poets you are able to study: Emily Dickinson, Matthew Arnold, Tennyson, Thomas Hardy, Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Ted Hughes, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost some books/authors you are able to study in American Lit: Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin), Emerson, Thoreau, Dreiser (Sister Carrie), F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath; Of Mice and men) you additionally can study some short thoughts in those classes--probable ones by: Edgar Allen Poe, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, Nathaiel Hawthorne, O. Henry, John Cheever maximum in many situations study Shakespearean performs in college are many times: Othello, Macbeth, Richard III, Hamlet, The iciness's tale, Cymbeline. you additionally can study some Russian literature, like Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina, or conflict and Peace there will be lots of close, analytical analyzing and sophistication discussions, and your papers will many times be thesis papers and/or evaluate/evaluation papers. The papers variety from 5 pages to twenty pages (20 website papers are given interior the better-point training)

  • 1 decade ago

    It has been awhile for me but I remember reading Madam Bovary. It stands out because I was finally mature enough to understand the writing and found the story to be interesting. I also read lots of short stories as well. I went to a Historically Black University so the reading was geared toward black authors and poets at all times. We read W.E.B Dubious, Earnest Gaines, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurst on, Baldwin, Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, China Achebe and the like. I had plenty of classes where we read European classics as well. I also read Don Quixote in Spanish.

    --- First year students are all required to take basic writing courses to make sure they can all write standard essays/papers. Persuasive, Critical, Comparison, Cause and Effect, Narrative, Deductive, Argumentative, Informal and several others. We learned the elements of good writing and had to take a grammar class as well as to properly document sources and researching.

    --- We had technical writing courses, creative courses and media writing courses. I also took a sociology class, ethics class, political science class, law course (101 of course), world religion, philosophy class in addition to my regular work load as my electives. We also took a linguistics course which I found very illuminating and we had debate courses as well.

    --- Senior year was thesis year and you spent a majority of your time and research and smaller assignment preparing for your one large paper. Seminars, course load and mentor programs were set up to take you through the step by step process. You critically broke down papers, did reasearch, analyzed, and wrote your paper based on your individual interpretation utilizing what other scholars had said or proving their theories wrong. You pretty much use every skill you are taught at this final point. I also had a thesis defense (granted I was covered in paint and looking a complete wreck, I was also trying to complete my media arts requirement and was building a theatrical stage set) when you are called before your department heads and mentor to defend questionable facts written in your paper.

    --- These were the courses that at one time or another I have utilized information I've learned in them, can't say the same for underwater basket weaving...

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