Literature Track

English literature students choose from among a rich variety of exciting courses, ranging from ancient to postmodern literature and from the traditional to the experimental or avant-garde.

Literature majors have ample opportunity to delve deeply into a variety of literary periods, genres, and authors. See the full list of courses here

Practical Paths

The English courses in the Print and Digital Publishing Program offer students hands-on work learning about how literary texts are chosen for publication and how they are shepherded through the editing and publishing process. Literature majors conduct internships at Booklist, Poetry Magazine, The University of Chicago Press, and Rose Metal Press, to name just a few. Of course, publishing is only one of many possible practical paths for our students. To see more about the range of things our majors go on to do with their literary skills after graduation, click here.

Scholarly Opportunities

Literature students with scholarly inclinations have many opportunities to develop and hone their scholarly abilities at Lake Forest College. Our advanced literature courses themselves provide ample opportunity to do serious scholarship in literature. In fact, two recent students have seen scholarship from their class work published in The Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research: Amanda Muledy ’13 for her essay on predestination and Eve’s fall in Milton’s Paradise Lost and Cass Balzer ’16 for her essay on Mary Shelley’s relationship to English Romanticism. The former was written for Professor Mengelkoch’s seminar on Milton, the latter for Professor Archambeau’s Romantic Poetry course.

Other students pursue scholarly study not only through their advanced coursework, but also by working one on one with our English faculty. Some students choose to do this by applying to the Richter Scholar Program, a summer program that enables rising sophomores to collaborate with faculty members on faculty research, working on topics such as nineteenth-century Russian novels, British gothic fiction, and Egyptology in Renaissance literature. 

Students interested in scholarly work in literature may also pursue a senior thesis as the capstone of their literary studies. Recent thesis topics have included narratives of displacement and the role of “the orphan” in nineteenth-century literature, medievalism in Herman Hesse’s fiction, figurations of the female in George Eliot’s fiction, and the goddess Athena’s role in Homeric epic. This scholarly work prepares students for a variety of paths, including advanced study of literature. Recent majors interested in advanced study of literature have pursued graduate work at The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Duke University, and other distinguished places.

Extracurricular Life

While at Lake Forest, literature students can take advantage of a number of interesting extracurricular literary activities. Literature students are often involved with the College’s literary magazine, Tusitala. They are able to make use of Chicago’s ample cultural resources, with trips to theaters like Chicago Shakespeare, The Lookingglass Theater, The Writers’ Theater, and other well-known theater venues.

Literature students also participate in and attend the annual Lake Forest Literary Festival, which is a much-anticipated spring celebration of literature featuring some of the best-known poets, novelists, and scholars of our time. In 2016, the Literary Festival’s theme was “Performance and Improvisation” and featured speakers as diverse as Kelly Leonard (a Lake Forest alum) from the famous Second City improv comedy house to Stanley Lombardo, professor emeritus of classics and celebrated translator of Homer’s poetry. Lombardo regaled a packed audience of literature students with his dramatic performance of the final books of Homer’s Odyssey. Click here for more information.

 Recent course offerings:

  • Beat Poetry
  • Nobel Laureates in Literature
  • British Women Writers
  • Blues Women Writers
  • The Music and Lyrics of the Grateful Dead
  • Diasporan Literature
  • Religion, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy
  • Tolkien and the Inklings
  • Poetry of John Donne
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Chaucer’s Philosophical Romances
  • Vietnam War Literature
  • Jewish-American Literature
  • Environmental Literature
  • Victorian Literature