Welcome to the Literatures Track! This track of the English major focuses on the study of literature in its many complex genres (poetry, fiction, drama, film, graphic novels, digital literature, and more), historical periods (from the ancient world to the twenty-first century), and cultural traditions (U.S., British, Multi-Ethnic, World, and Comparative). Our students read and interpret literature for the urgent questions it raises about identity, ethics, justice, race, gender, nationality, sexuality, and humanity, even as they develop concrete career skills in writing, research, critical analysis, information literacy, and oral communication. Literature is where the meanings are—come discover them with us!
Why Choose the Literatures Track?
Nurture Your Passion for Literature.
Do you love the written word? Do you relish the sense of personal and intellectual discovery that comes from engaging with experiences and perspectives different from your own? Whether your interests lie in fiction or poetry, films or graphic novels, print or electronic literature, or ancient texts or contemporary ones, you'll find that the Literatures Track offers you a unique opportunity—as both a writer and reader—to explore, experience, and actively respond to literature in all of its varied forms.
Enhance Your Career Prospects.
Learn to Master Textual Analysis.
Sharpen Your Writing and Communication Skills.
Develop Your Information Literacy.
Grapple with Big Questions.
Experience an Exciting Field.
Join a Dynamic Literary Community.
The advising sheets posted here come from the most recent version of the English Majors' Handbook . Students in the Literatures Track should print and save the sheet that corresponds to their specific degree program (i.e., B.A. or B.S.Ed.); fill in the sheet as they make their way through the major; and discuss their progress at least once per semester with their advisor.
- B.A. Literatures Track Advising Sheet
- B.S.Ed. students should refer to the Secondary Education Handbook
Students in the Literatures Track take intermediate-level courses in three separate categories—Genre, U.S. Multi-Ethnic & World, and Historical Contexts. Be sure to consult the advising sheet for your specific degree program to see how many classes you should take from each category. Note that B.S.E.d students must also fulfill specific Literature categories—American, British, and World—that overlay the track requirements; these additional categories help prepare B.S.Ed. majors for the Praxis II exams.
Literatures Track courses are designed to fulfill specific learning outcomes that work in addition to the English Department's own program outcomes. The Literatures Track Committee assesses these track-specific outcomes using sample papers drawn from portfolios submitted by graduating seniors.
- "Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society
and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of
the tale, of the imagination, and of the heart."
— Salman Rushdie
- "When I look back, I am so impressed . . . with the life-giving power of literature.
If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would
do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young."
— Maya Angelou
- "I think technical people now should learn literature, because literature teaches
you a great deal about the depths and variety of human imagination."
— Ellen Ullman
- "To become absorbed in a great literary work is to join a community united by passion.
It's life changing; it's ballast when times are bad, and a source of the deepest,
renewable companionate pleasure when times are good."
— James Simpson
- "Literature is news that stays news."
— Ezra Pound
- "That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are
universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
- "Without literature, life is hell."
— Charles Bukowski
- "You should never read just for 'enjoyment.' Read to make yourself smarter! ... And
for god's sake, don't let me ever hear you say, 'I can't read fiction. I only have
time for the truth.' Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of 'literature'? That means
— John Waters
- "Fiction is the deployment of artifice in the service of truth, aiming to reveal as
accurately as possible the profound and complex experience of being human and alive
on this planet."
— Claire Messud
- "Literature adds to reality; it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary
competencies that daily life requires and provides, and in this respect, it irrigates
the deserts that our lives [may] have already become."
— C.S. Lewis
- "Literary studies teaches literacies across a range of media forms, including print
and digital, and focuses on interpretation and analysis of patterns, meaning, and
context through close-, hyper-, and machine-reading practices. . . . Now it is time
to rethink what reading is and how it works in the rich mixtures of words and images,
sounds and animations, graphics and letters that constitute the environments of twenty-first-century
— N. Katherine Hayles
- "I wanted to learn about literature. That was my passion. Everything you do as an
actor and director is about reading. It's about reading deeper, reading between the
lines, and perceiving more than just what's on the surface. The study of literature
is about looking deeper.
— Jodie Foster
The Literatures Track hosts a Literary Luncheon once per semester! These fun events feature free pizza, refreshments, and conversation with Literature faculty and interested students. Attendees learn about our excellent course offerings and programs and meet and talk with members of our extended community. Come join us!
Next event: Wednesday, April 22, 12-1pm, Main 132
Stay Tuned, Get Involved!
The Literatures Track Committee welcomes ideas for talks, lunches, colloquia, and other community-building events. New events are being planned for Spring 2015. Stay tuned!