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  • Literature Emphasis

    "One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  -- Henry Miller

    Rainer Maria Rilke's poem "An Archaic Torso of Apollo" ends with the sentence "You must change your life." A degree in English with an emphasis in literature will change your life by affording you intimate experiences with the most inspiring writers of all time. It is the right choice for students who seek a richer, deeper life experience and an expanded understanding of the human condition, and for students who want to be writers, editors, or publishers of literature themselves. In addition to helping students cultivate aesthetic sensibilities and multiply their reading pleasures, professors facilitate group encounters with great books and their vital wisdom. How students incorporate that wisdom into their lives is up to them; in this way literary study serves both individual humanity and the values of a democratic society. English majors with the literature emphasis learn to interpret a wide variety of texts representing the great range of human experience and expression. Through guided practice in written and oral presentations, students engage in disciplinary and interdisciplinary conversations about literature, culture, and human diversity. A literary education is one of the best foundations for all careers requiring character, intellect, leadership, and the ability to harness the power of language. Literature emphasis majors develop broad-based skills in research and writing as well as practical knowledge of the dynamic role of language in culture, history, and society, all of which will provide them with a solid foundation for many different careers or graduate programs, including management, communications, law, entertainment, and just about anything else. What can you do with an English major? Anything you want.

    English majors with the literature emphasis learn to interpret a wide variety of texts representing the great range of human experience and expression. The major provides a solid pre-professional foundation for many different careers, including medical, legal, business, education, and communications, as well as graduate programs.  

    "It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there."   -- William Carlos Williams 

    A student graduating from this program will be able to:

    1.     Generate a close reading of a text, recognizing, understanding, and interpreting a text's elements.

    2.     Demonstrate familiarity with English language literary and rhetorical traditions, including prominent authors, genres, movements, and styles, as well as the historical and cultural contexts important to those traditions.

    3.     Demonstrate familiarity with literary and rhetorical works by writers of diverse backgrounds.

    4.     Engage in disciplinary conversations, drawing on theory and scholarship in fields appropriate to one’s area of emphasis.

    5.     Engage in research and sustained inquiry, which is disseminated in an appropriate forum(s).

    6.     Recognize and write effective prose, attending to such features as style, genre, audience, and purpose.

    Employment Opportunities for English Literature Emphasis Majors

    Jobs and Internship Opportunities (English Studies Blog)

    Eagle Opportunities


    Free EBooks


    UWL Writing Center

    Murphy Library


    JSTOR Link through Murphy: (Offers literary journals and articles for reading)

    Literary Ezines and Journals:   Lists literary magazines for publications and submissions

    Online Literary Criticism Guide:   Resources for specific types and periods of literary criticism

    "Voice of the Shuttle": The VOS includes links to e-texts, and articles on literature and culture, and multiple humanities references."


    Purdue University's OWL:  (Online Writing Lab) Provides information on proper MLA citation and formatting


    Sigma Tau Delta Conferences:   (The International English Honor Society)

    Undergraduate Research at UWL:  Apply for research grants to pursue academic ventures in literature  


    Literary terms for classical and medieval literature and science fiction:

    Bedford St. Martins Glossary of Literary Terms:

    Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL): Writing in Literature:

    Online reprint of literary terms from Essentials of Literature in English post 1914:

    Definition of "literature":


    Rhythm and Meter in Poetry:

    The difference between symbol, image, and allegory: The Literary Apprentice,

    Top 20 figures of speech:

    An Online Rhetoric: (includes rhetorical figures):


    Writing Poetry Explications:

    Writing about Poetry:

    Writing Fiction Essays:

    Writing Drama Essays:


    Murphy Library (UWL) Periodical Databases for English:

    MLA In-text Citations:

    MLA Works Cited (bibliography) Format:

    MLA style for quoting lines of poetry: