Major and Minor
Knox offers both majors and minors in English Literature. The literature major is designed to aid you in developing methods for critical interpretation, to acquaint you with representative works in important periods of English, American, and Anglophone literature, and to introduce you to literary genres.
As an English Literature student at Knox, you'll be guided by professors who are scholars in their fields. You'll have access to extraordinary primary sources in Seymour Library, which houses holdings like the Hughes Collection of Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation.
You will have many opportunities to expand your education at Knox. Listen to and speak with visiting scholars, participate in off-campus study opportunities, and present essays at literary conferences. You will also have the opportunity to publish your literary criticism or serve as a student editor for The Common Room, Knox's online journal devoted to publishing critical essays on literature.
The critical thinking and writing skills you'll develop with a major or minor in English are invaluable in nearly every imaginable field. Knox English majors have gone on to careers in publishing, teaching, freelance writing, medicine, journalism, law, and many other fields.
As an English Literature major at Knox, you will take courses spanning the broad range of English and American poetry and fiction; women in literature; African-American, Caribbean and Native American literature; Chaucer and Shakespeare; literature of the Renaissance, Romantic and Victorian periods; Realism and Naturalism; and Modern and Contemporary literature. Courses in prosody, literary theory, and literature in translation offer specialized approaches to the analysis of language and literature.
Introductory courses in the English department, with their emphasis on analytical skills, close reading, and literary theory, will prepare you to become an active interpreter of the world rather than a passive consumer of the interpretations of others. Period courses will offer modes of thought and understanding very different from those of our own age. Single author seminars allow for in-depth exploration of an individual's artistic expression, cultural and political worldview, and autobiographic circumstances. Courses in modern and contemporary literature will help you to articulate and clarify your own responses to the world in which you live.
The Senior Seminar for literature majors focuses on issues in the field that are currently being discussed and debated nationally and internationally. The term culminates with a symposium at which each student presents a scholarly paper and answers questions from the audience -- a practice that will prove invaluable in preparation for graduate school, as well as teaching and other careers.
Knox College English Literature majors often pursue graduate studies at prestigious institutions such as University of Southern California, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Pennsylvania State University, Indiana University, University of Rochester, University of Iowa, Brown University, Columbia School of Journalism, University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Columbia College, and Boston University.