The literature major offers a broad survey of great writing from English, American, and world contexts, combined with the opportunity to study selected genres, periods, and authors in depth. Students who major in literature work closely with literary texts, developing competencies in analysis, interpretation, imaginative and critical thinking, and research. At the same time, they are regularly challenged to hone their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and discussion. Many successfully pursue double majors or minors in closely related disciplines such as Classics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Creative Writing, and Theater, and go on to graduate, professional, and law schools as well as to a wide variety of careers.

Students must have a Mentor from among the full-time literature faculty, normally chosen by the Junior year, and must take a minimum of ten literature (LI) courses, including at least one course from each of the five areas below. Four of the LI-designated courses must be at the 300 level or higher. Two of the ten required courses may be chosen from a list of literature-related offerings from other disciplines, approved by the discipline coordinator each year. To complete the major, students must take LI 498, the comprehensive examination in Literature. In exceptional cases, students who have established their proficiency in literature may be invited to write a Senior thesis in place of the comprehensive examination.

For a minor in literature, students complete five courses which bear the LI designation. Three must be Eckerd College courses, and at least two LI courses must be 300 level or higher. A Writing Workshop course may be substituted for one of these courses under 300 level.

Students wishing to double major in literature and creative writing must fulfill the requirements for both majors, but all LI courses may count toward both majors.

Guided by a mentor in Literature, students choose at least one course from each required area. Specific courses offered will vary from year to year, and additional courses may fulfill area requirements as announced by the discipline. A sample list of courses in each area is provided below:

Area 1: English Literature Pre-1800

  • LI 235H Shakespeare: Page, Stage & Film
  • LI 327 Chaucer to Shakespeare
  • LI 425 Seminar on Shakespeare

Area 2: English Literature Post-1800

  • LI 219H Delusion & Desire: 20th Century Drama
  • LI 246H Breaking Free: 20th Century British Literature
  • LI 320H Modern British Poetry
  • LI 322H Modern British Fiction

Area 3: American Literature

  • LI 221H American Lit: Madness & Murder
  • LI 228H American Short Story
  • LI 241H Major American Novels
  • LI 325H Modern American Poetry
  • LI 330H American Epic Poetry
  • LI 382H Contemporary American Poetry

Area 4: Comparative Literature

  • LI 212H Introduction to Comparative Literature
  • LI 218H Literature and Human Rights
  • LI 244G Postcolonial Literature
  • LI 314G Caribbean Literature and Film
  • LI 345H The European Novel
  • LI 348H Literature and Film after Auschwitz

Area 5: Literary Criticism

  • LI 361 Literary Criticism
  • LI 405 Literature and Ethics