English Literature is one of the most visible majors at any college or university, with huge a portion of students enrolling. With this area of study so broad, some people are confused as to what exactly English Literature is.
This article explores the scope of English Literature in school and in workplace. According to dictionary, Literature is: 1. Writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays; 2. The entire body of writings of a specific language, period, people, etc.
Literature, belles-lettres, letters refer to artistic writings worthy of being remembered. In the broadcast sense, Literature includes any type of writings on any subject: the Literature of medicine; usually, however, it means the body of artistic writings of a country or period that are characterized by beauty of expression and form and by universality of intellectual and emotional appeal: English Literature of the 16th century. Belles-lettres is a more specific term for writings of a light, elegant, or excessively refined character. Letters refers to Literature as a domain of study or creation: a man of letters.
In Latin roots literature/litteratura (derived itself from littera: letter or handwriting) was used to refer to all written accounts, though contemporary definitions extend the term to include texts are spoken or sung (oral Literature). The concept has changed meaning over time: nowadays it can broaden to have non-written verbal art forms, and thus it is difficult to agree on its origin, which can be paired with that of language or writing itself.
Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, and whether it is poetry or prose. It can be further distinguished according to major forms such as novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations(genre).
Why study English Literature?
It will give you a better understanding of the world around you. Studying English Literature sets students up for all sorts of jobs upon graduation. Many of these are within the Literature world itself. Prospective high schools and college English teachers will need an English Literature degree to reach that job and help a new generation of curious students learn how to relate to the writing around them. The wide array of positions in the publishing industry, from editor to proof-reader to literary agent, can claim English Literature as the single most important area of study en route to getting a job. Many creative writers including novelists, poets, dramatists, and more, get their start with the deep understanding of written English that comes from an English Literature major before they begin to explore their own ability to express themselves the same way.
Even more numerous are the non-literature jobs that an English Literature degree can prepare students’ strong command of reading and writing as well as their demonstrated ability for basic academic skills critical reasoning, persuasion and adaptability, a degree in Literature can be a precursor to a successful career in just about any field. Some of the more common crossovers for graduating English students are business, law and education.