Professor speaking to MCLA student outside CSI

Literature Concentration

The Literature concentration explores the forces and phenomena of human creativity—and specifically the imaginative possibilities of language. Our courses explore the relations between culture and literary production, giving students tools to appreciate and to interrogate its complicated richness. Building off the foundation for all English majors, in courses like “Reading & Imagination,” Literature concentrators select from a broad variety of “deep dive” courses that pave the way for their own interpretive interventions, analytic or creative. Our reading is profoundly influenced and inspired by critical lenses such as gender studies, queer theory, performance studies, Black studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial theory, and more. 

“Critical Reading”– a cornerstone of the concentration–provides a history of theoretical inquiry introducing several frameworks by which literature has been understood, such as historicism, psychoanalysis, and feminism. By studying these various approaches, students learn to sharpen their voices in dialogue with others. Your efforts in this course will also prepare you for advanced work in the Junior Colloquium and Senior Seminar, in addition to taking up co-curricular opportunities like the Undergraduate Research Conference.  Our Literature concentrators have gone on to achieve success along numerous post-graduate pathways, including at highly regarded  graduate programs, such as Cornell University, Northeastern University, Brandeis University and UMass Amherst.  

Concentration Breakdown

Everyone takes:

  • ENGL 349 Critical Reading

Take two of the following:

  • ENGL 257 Global Anglophone Literary Survey
  • ENGL 258 American Literary Survey
  • ENGL 259 British Literary Survey

Take one of the following:

  • ENGL 256 African American Literature
  • ENGL 341/341H Hybrid Poetics
  • ENGL 363 Travel Writing
  • ENGL 388 Visions & Voices: American Ethnic Literature & Art
  • ENGL 393 Faulkner and the Global South
  • ENGL 441 Special Topics in Literature*

Take two of the following (that you haven’t already taken):

  • ENGL 340 Literature & Society
  • ENGL 341/341H Hybrid Poetics
  • ENGL 351 The World of Shakespeare
  • ENGL 361 John Steinbeck
  • ENGL 363 Travel Writing
  • ENGL 371 American Renaissance
  • ENGL 372/372H Arts of Medieval and Renaissance Britain
  • ENGL 368/368H The Age of Milton
  • ENGL 388 Visions & Voices: American Ethnic Literature & Art
  • ENGL 393 Faulkner and the Global South
  • ENGL 405/405H Creativity & Survival
  • ENGL 441 Special Topics in Literature*
  • ENGL 493 Teaching Assistantship in English
  • ENGL 500 Independent Study
  • ENGL 540 Internship in English

*course may be repeated as topics differ