Since we cannot separate language or literature from their cultural and intellectual contexts, the literature component of the English major at Franklin & Marshall offers a substantial historical base, with core courses on topics in the traditional periods of British and American literature.
Additionally, students take thematic courses in subjects like “Caribbean Literature,” “Nature and Literature,” “Modern War Narratives,” and “Literary Losers,” as well as upper level seminars in authors or topics that build on the historical core.
Literature majors also take at least one course in creative writing. All students, through their own attempts to write creatively, can develop an appreciation for how the great works they study in their literature courses might have been created.
English majors in both tracks come to appreciate the rigor that both disciplines—literary criticism and creative writing—entail.
English majors have rich research opportunities beyond the requirements of the major through independent study and Hackman summer research scholarships, which engage students with the scholarly activities of their professors. They also have opportunities for involvement in a range of extra-curricular activities: attending readings by and meeting numerous visiting writers, participating in events at the Writers House, helping to plan the Emerging Writers Festival, or writing for or staffing one of the College’s literary publications. English majors are highly valued for their abilities to think and write. The study of English is not just good preparation for a career, however. It fosters an engagement with the big questions of living—questions about language, meaning, and value. It fosters self-reflection and greater awareness of the natural and social worlds in which we live. Moreover, studying English literature gives us a purchase on how narratives and metaphors work so that we can interpret and deploy them wisely and even re-make them for our own time, with its enormous challenges and demands.