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Guide to the Humanities

Guide to the Humanities - Selected Resources

Why study English literature?

As an English literature major, you'll be studying literature from the British Isles and the British Commonwealth, from the very beginnings of the language we call English to the present day. Your studies wil include close readings of authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer. You'll become familiar with many different genres, including fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry, as well as areas of literature such as folklore and regional specialties. You'll learn the basics of literary criticism and how to apply them to these various genres of literature. You'll also gain an understanding of the history and society in which these writers lived--how various wars influenced the literature of the time, for example, or how English writers have absorbed and reflected American culture in their stories. Through your reading and analyzing, you'll get a broad picture of the values, preoccupations, customs, politics, and trends that inspired these English writers and shaped their world--and how they, in turn, inspired and shaped the writers (and societies) that came after them.

From Major: English Literature

What careers can I have in English literature?

English literature is a non-vocational degree, which means that it gives you some all-around skills that can be applied to different careers rather than training for a specific job. These skills include:

  • Written and other communication skills

  • Understanding complex ideas and theories

  • Research

Specific jobs where these skills might prove helpful include:

  • Media and journalism

  • Publishing

  • Advertising and PR

  • Teaching

  • Arts

  • Other options like retail, law, business, social work, and politics

Adapted from What Can I Do with an English Degree?

English Databases

Books on Interpreting Literature

Books on the History of the English Language

English Literature Encyclopedias

Books on Select American Authors

Books on Select British Authors

Books on Chaucer

Books on Shakespeare