The Grand Valley English Department offers literature courses in a variety of fields. All English majors begin by taking foundation courses that are designed to foster a broad knowledge of the important writers of the British and American traditions. The department also offers courses that introduce students--both English majors and majors from around the university--to literature from around the world. Upper-level literature courses offer students the opportunity to focus in more depth on particular writers or time periods. The knowledge and skills students gain in these classes will prepare them for future careers in teaching, writing, or graduate school. At the same time, literature courses offer all students the opportunity to critically examine both their own and other cultures through the analysis of literature from all times and places.

Course Requirements for the Literature Emphasis

Student Learning Outcomes

American Literature

In addition to the two survey courses, English 225 and English 226, the English Department offers several period, topic and author-focused courses which examine American writing from the 15th to the 20th centuries. These course may include the works of such American authors as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather and William Faulkner, and Zora Neale Hurston, Raymond Carver and Toni Morrison. Several upper-level courses the department offers in American literature focus specifically on the literature of American minorities, including works by Hispanic writers, Asian-American writers, the African-American Renaissance in the late twentieth-century, and the literature of the Holocaust. Courses include:

ENG 225 American Literature I: to 1860
ENG 226 American Literature II: from 1860
ENG 231 Early African American Literature
ENG 232 Modern African American Literature
ENG 325 American Literature to 1800
ENG 326 Nineteenth-Century American Literature
ENG 327 Modern American Literature
ENG 328 Contemporary American Literature
ENG 335 Literature of American Minorities
ENG 337 Contemporary Black Literature

American Literature Faculty

British Literature

The English Department's British Literature courses range from the two foundation courses, English 220 and English 221, to more focused courses that deal with a single time period in British Literature or even a single author. These courses cover a time period of more than a thousand years of literary production, from Anglo-Saxon poetry, though the Renaissance, Restoration, Romantic, and Victorian eras, and into the twentieth century. Furthermore, the department offers Shakespeare courses on both a 200 and a 300 level, a focus which corresponds to the increasingly popular Shakespeare Festival held every Fall semester.  Courses include:

ENG 212 Introduction to Shakespeare
ENG 220 British Literature I
ENG 221 British Literature II
ENG 313 British Literature: Shakespeare
ENG 321 British Literature: Medieval
ENG 322 British Literature: Renaissance
ENG 323 British Literature: 18th-Romantic
ENG 324 British Literature: Victorian-Present

British Literature Faculty

World Literature

Amid the conflicts and convergences of our globalized era, literature can serve as an ample window onto the histories, hopes, and burdens borne by our global neighbors. With our faculty's wide-ranging knowledge and experience of international writing, we in the English Department are committed to sharing and savoring with our students the fruits of the balance of stories among the world's peoples.

The English Department offers courses in international literature through which students can travel far beyond the borders of the United States. Regions and countries whose literatures we teach, research, and write about include Southern Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, China, Indochina, Western Europe, and the Balkans. Many of us have grown up abroad (in Croatia, Canada, China, England, Gibraltar, Indonesia, and Taiwan) or have spent extended periods teaching or researching overseas in countries as varied as Bosnia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Nepal, and the Netherlands. Courses include:

ENG 105 Literatures in English
ENG 203 World Literature
ENG 204 World Mythology
ENG 275 Ancient Drama
ENG 303 Studies in World Literature
ENG 304 International Literature for Children and Young Adults
ENG 375 Studies in Comparative Literature
ENG 378 Contemporary Latin American Literature
ENG 385 Writing and Revolution in the Americas
ENG 616 World Literature in English

World Literature Faculty

Page last modified May 8, 2023