The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.
- Elizabeth Drew
The Heidelberg University Department of English offers two concentrations in our English program: writing and literature. Both tracks share courses, but when you choose to study literature, you truly are devoting yourself to understanding the written word. Four professors teach literature at Heidelberg, Drs. Collar, Kimmel, Reyer, and Wahlstrom. Each teaches a different aspect of literature, and they have tailored the literature program to include staples such as the classics, the contemporaries, and literature from around the world.
The literature track requires that each student take the basics in English, College Writing II and Literary Genres. From there students can begin their journey into the study of literature by taking courses in British and American literature, as well as a required Literary Theory course. Students choose four courses, or more, from a variety of classes that include Literature of the Ancient or the Modern World, African American Literature, Literature by Women, as well as courses that change topics each year—Major World Author, Studies in American Literature, and Studies in World Literature. The English Department also offers two sections of independent studies for juniors and seniors to create their own courses in English. Students work closely with a faculty member of their choice to design virtually the entire course based on their interests.
In spring 2012, the English department collaborated with the Theatre Arts program to offer an Irish Studies course. Students and faculty flew to Dublin, Ireland, where they experienced literature and arts in context. This course was one of the many mentioned above that change topics each year. Other topics include Major World Author: Arthur Miller; Studies in the Novel: Defining the Classic Novel; and Studies in British Literature: British Humor. These courses demonstrate that professors in the English department are always looking for new ways to engage students.
Students in literature must also complete the literature capstone, which incorporates their entire education in the English department. The capstone allows students to show their skills in literary criticism, appreciation, and analysis. Students complete a portfolio that showcases their writing throughout their four years at Heidelberg. Each student’s portfolio is reviewed by members of the faculty to determine the merit and quality of the student’s work. Each student can also choose their own topic for their final paper. That flexibility is important in the English department. We want English majors to leave Heidelberg with a sense that they had a hand in creating their education.
- Written by Mandy Stovicek '12