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Literary Studies

OVERVIEW

The Literary Studies emphasis and minor provides you with the skills necessary for appreciating, engaging with, and analyzing literary texts. Literature exposes you to new and diverse perspectives about other times, other places, other cultures, and other contexts. It can even show you new viewpoints from your own culture and context. An appreciation for such diversity and for the peculiarities of our own cultural moment is essential to both civic responsibility and professional opportunity in our increasingly interconnected, globalized society.

Learning to engage effectively with literature is important because texts do not communicate these perspectives straightforwardly, but through symbols, metaphors, foils, rhythm, rhyme, complex intertextual references, and other devices. Literary Studies provides students with the tools to research, decode, and discourse about these devices in their historical and aesthetic contexts. Prospective employers consistently report that these skills—the ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and carefully engage the relation between words and ideas—are precisely those they most desire in their workforce.

Along with expertise in reading and writing critically about literature and its history, Literary Studies students learn about literary theory and its applications in and outside the university. Literary theory gives you a conceptually rigorous and rich vocabulary with which to analyze texts and cultures. Its effects reach beyond the classroom and give you the tools to see how and why literature can challenge or contribute to the unthought assumptions and ideologies underpinning our social and political realities. At its core, the Literary Studies emphasis is about how the power of reading not only makes our world what it is, but also helps us imagine what it can become.

MOTIVATING QUESTIONS

  • How does literature open our minds to the past, present, and even the future? How does literature show us new and diverse cultural perspectives?
  • How does literary interpretation apply to the nuances and complexities of human communication? How can it help us think critically about, rather than simplify, these nuances in our academic, daily, and professional lives?
  • What kind of research is necessary to support one’s perspective on a text or cultural artifact whose meaning is multiple, ambiguous, or unclear?
  • How can literature and literary criticism not only reflect but also challenge and transform our communities and society, both locally and globally?

COURSES OVERVIEW

The required courses in Literary Studies introduce you to the main theoretical and historical currents of the discipline, laying important groundwork so that you can design a course of study suited to your own interests and goals. Our surveys in British and American literature demonstrate the broad historical and aesthetic context of the English literary tradition. Introductory and advanced courses in literary theory further familiarize you with key movements in the recent history of interpretation such as structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, and postcolonialism.

Beyond these requirements, Literary Studies students select from a wide variety of courses addressing a multitude of genres, cultures, and historical or theoretical perspectives. You may concentrate on either American or British literature, or both. You can explore texts and ideas from medieval times to the present, and learn about canonical figures like Shakespeare and Milton as well as important texts in women’s writing and Native American literature. Our wide breadth of available electives also gives you the opportunity to bring your expertise in narrative or poetic analysis to bear on non-literary media such as film, religious texts, advertisements, and even video games.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH LITERARY STUDIES?

In addition to being excellent preparation for any occupation that demands/rewards critical thinking, creative analysis and problem-solving, and effective communication, Literary Studies often leads to such specific paths and careers as…

  • Graduate School: MA or PhD in English, Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, Film Studies, etc.; Master’s in Library Information Science; MA in English Education
  • Education/Educational Administration
  • Law School
  • Publishing: editing, marketing, etc.
  • Journalism
  • Literary Critic
  • Teaching English as a Second Language/Teaching Abroad
  • Political Consultant/Activist

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Emphasis Requirements

(minor may have different requirements; please consult the UVU catalog)

American Literature (complete TWO from the following)

ENGL 3510 Early American Literature
ENGL 3520 Literature of the American Renaissance
ENGL American Literary Realism and Naturalism
ENGL 3530 Modern American Literature
ENGL 3540 Contemporary American Literature

British Literature, pre-1800 (complete ONE from the following)

ENGL 3610 Medieval Literature
ENGL 3620 Tudor British Literature
ENGL 3630 Stuart British Literature
ENGL 3640 Restoration and 18th Century British Literature

British Literature, post-1800 (complete ONE from the following)

ENGL 3650 Romantic British Literature
ENGL 3655 Victorian British Literature
ENGL 3660 Modern British Literature
ENGL 3670 Contemporary British Literature

Shakespeare (complete the following)

ENGL 463R Topics in Shakespeare

Literature Elective (complete ONE of the following)

ENGL 357G Native American Literature
ENGL 3710 Literature by Women
ENGL 373R Literature of Cultures and Places
ENGL 374G Literature of the Sacred
ENGL 376G World Literature
ENGL 3780 Mormon Literature
ENGL 3820 History of Literary Criticism
ENGL 4570 Studies in the American Novel
ENGL 4620 Chaucer
ENGL 4640 Milton
ENGL 471R Eminent Authors
ENGL 476G Multi-ethnic Literature in America
ENGL 486R Topics in Literature