Core Required Courses

In the English major at Wesleyan, students will take courses that fulfill core requirements. Across these classes, students develop their appreciation of literary history, their skills in interpretation and critical writing, and their facility with foundational concepts in the analysis of literature and culture.

The English major situates the categories of Literary Geography, Literary History, Theory, and Creative Writing at the foreground of its conception of core requirements. Students will be exposed to a range of historical and geographical fields and theoretical and creative approaches. We encourage our majors to understand the cultural past and present as each having distinct nuances and also as interconnecting portals. We believe that to imagine futures out of the past and present requires studied spatial and temporal awareness, theoretical knowledge, and creative practice. Core requirements offer a chance to read widely, discover new approaches, connect texts and concepts from different times and places, and develop confidence and critical awareness about the activity of literary interpretation and creation—in the moment of reading, in the classroom, and on the page.

All core requirements must be fulfilled with courses sponsored or co-sponsored by English. Note that a single course may fulfill up to two requirements. Thus, a student may fulfill the core requirements with as few as four or as many as eight courses. For example, a student could take “Historicizing Early Modern Sexualities” for both Literary History 1 and British literature; or may take “Caribbean Poetics” to fulfill the Theory and Literatures of the Americas requirement. Please check individual course listings for details.

Literary History: 3 courses

--Literary History 1: courses cover, roughly, up to the year 1660.
--Literary History 2: 1660-1870: courses focus on the next two hundred years or so.
--Literary History 3: 1870—present: courses focus more on contemporary literature. 

Literary Geography: 3 courses  

--World: courses focus on literatures outside of the United States and Great Britain. Current English        department offerings focus on literatures from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the premodern world.
--British: courses examine British literature and culture from its beginnings to the present day.
--Americas: courses focus on the literature of the Americas.

Theory: 1 course. These courses investigate a wide range of texts and ideas and involve sustained attention to matters of methodology. 

Creative Writing: 1 course. These courses center creative practice as a generative mode of literary inquiry and creation. 

For a current listing of courses fulfilling new major core requirements click here.