ENGL201 Gateway: Ways of Reading

The Ways of Reading seminar is the mandatory gateway course necessary for declaring the English major. The Ways of Reading series introduces students to literary forms and techniques, and to a wide range of methods for studying them. Each of the seminars has its own title and focus. Recent seminars include "Literature and/as Performance," "Early Modern Literature and the History of Selfhood," "Contact Zones: Travel, Migration, and American Literature," "Literature about Literature," "Reading for Genre: Form, History and Theory," and "The Work of Literature."

Course Objectives and Expectations

  • develop strategies for analyzing and interpreting poetry, drama, and prose narratives such as novels and stories.
  • familiarize yourself with some of the protocols of the literary-critical essay, examine the idea of literature as a social institution, and explore ways of connecting textual details to the world beyond the text.
  • Write at least seven graded essays during the semester.
  • Although formal research papers are not assigned, some sections may work with archival materials available in Wesleyan's rare book collection.
  • All sections of ENGL 201 enroll a maximum of 19 students with most seats reserved for sophomores.

 Guidelines for taking ENGL201 in preparation for the English major:

  • Must be taken in the first or sophomore year.  Exceptions are made for junior transfer students majoring in English.
  • Must receive a final grade of B- or better in the course. 
  • Students who take ENGL 201 in the second semester of the sophomore year will be accepted to the English major provisionally, pending final grade in the course.
  • Students who have not taken nor are currently enrolled in 201 but still wish to declare as English majors will have a "Pending" status until successful completion of a 201 class the following semester.
  • Students may enroll in only one class of ENGL 201 per semester.  Although more than one different class may be taken, only one class of ENGL201 may be counted toward graduation and toward the fulfillment of the English major.
  • Although most ENGL201 courses do not fulfill a Major requirement, an individual course may do so if its content and reading materials are appropriate such as ENGL201A: Ways of Reading: Shakespeare which fulfills the Literary History I requirement.