The organized study of literature written in the English language has long proved its worth as a traditional discipline that exercises the imagination, encourages intellectual precision, and inculcates a critical appreciation of humane, liberal values. Students trained in this discipline have generally found that it has provided an appropriate background for careers in a variety of fields beyond the discipline including law, government, diplomacy, journalism, publishing, education, and, by no means least, business. The program emphasizes the historical and cultural understanding of the development of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 21st century, but courses in the theory of the various literary genres are also required. In all courses, students must not only read texts with great care but also criticize them and present the results of their own research in well-written essays. The training in the skills of research and writing culminates in the thesis that a student must present in his/her senior year. There are clear advantages in pursuing an English major at an institution that belongs, like John Cabot University, to the English-speaking academic tradition, and this may be especially true for students whose first language is not English. There is also particular value, however, in studying English literature at an international university, which John Cabot is as well. In this international atmosphere, the content of each English course inevitably becomes somewhat internationalized, as it is related to the Italian context and to the other national backgrounds of the various students. Courses in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing are also part of the English Literature program.

Learning Outcomes for the English Literature Major

Students who complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature at John Cabot University have learned to think critically and comparatively and to express their ideas effectively in writing. They have an understanding of the historical development of literatures in English and their cultural contexts, the ability to compare the literary products of different periods and places, and the skills to form original interdisciplinary connections.

Students with a B.A. in English Literature possess:

  • LOS 1: a foundation in the traditional distinctions between literary genres as well as the ability to think beyond those distinctions in a manner consistent with contemporary literary theory and practice;
  • LOS 2: a historical understanding of the development of literatures in English and of the influence of the literary, cultural, political, and scientific contexts on texts;
  • LOS 3: a foundation in the principles of literary and cultural theory, along with the ability to apply these theoretical approaches in interpretations of literary texts;
  • LOS 4: a comparative perspective on literature and an understanding of the relationship among British, American, other Anglophone literatures, and literature in translation.

Students with a B.A. in English Literature are able to:

  • LOS 5: read and write critically in response to primary and secondary literary texts;
  • LOS 6: conduct research competently;
  • LOS 7: report research findings with intellectual and academic honesty;
  • LOS 8: document research accurately and thoroughly, using M.L.A. format;
  • LOS 9: communicate effectively and argue their thesis persuasively.


A. The Proficiency Requirements of the University in English, Mathematics and Foreign Language.

B. The General Distribution Requirements of the University in English Literature, Mathematics and Science, Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts.

C. Core Curriculum

  • EN 200 Introduction to Literature
  • EN 205 Introduction to the Novel
  • EN 210 Introduction to Poetry and Poetics
  • EN 215 Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theories
  • EN 223 American Literature
  • EN 230 English Literature I: Literary Beginnings to Milton
  • EN 231 English Literature II: The Enlightenment to Romanticism
  • EN 232 English Literature III: The Victorians to the Modernists
  • EN 245 Shakespeare or EN 243 Shakespeare in Italy
  • EN 278 Classical Influences on English Literature or EN 282 Italian Visions
  • EN 480 Senior Thesis

The University requires an overall minimum grade point average of 2.00 in all courses taken at the University with no more than two grades lower than C- in core courses.

D. Major Electives (6 courses) At least four 300-level or higher English Literature courses, plus up to two relevant courses to be chosen from the list of approved courses (see below). Up to two Creative Writing courses may count as major electives.

  • CL 260 Classical Mythology
  • CL 278 Literature and Society in Ancient Rome
  • CL/COM 372 Classical Rhetoric and Oratory
  • COM 305 Survey of Rhetoric
  • CW 205 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • CW 350 Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction
  • CW 352 Creative Writing Workshop: Creative Nonfiction
  • CW 354 Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry
  • CW 356 Creative Writing Workshop: Writing the Eternal City
  • CW/COM 348 Creative Writing Workshop: Screenwriting
  • CW/JRN 346 Creative Writing Workshop: Travel Writing
  • CW/ITS 358 The Art of Literary Translation
  • IT 315 Selected topics in Italian literature
  • IT 320 Survey of Italian Literature I
  • IT 321 Survey of Italian Literature II
  • IT 335 Twentieth Century Italian Women Writers
  • IT 349 The Divine Comedy
  • IT 399 Special topics in Italian literature
  • ITS 292 Contemporary Italian Narrative in Translation
  • ITS/CW 358 The Art of Literary Translation
  • ITS/TH 341 Modern Italian Drama in Translation
  • PH 304 Philosophy of Art and Beauty
  • PH 230 Evil Philosopher: Controversial Books in Modern Philosophy
  • TH 198 Introduction to Adaptation
  • TH/ITS 341 Modern Italian Drama in Translation

E. General Electives sufficient to give a total of 120 credits.

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Oct 2019
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