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English Major in Literature

Our Mission Statement

    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.

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

“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