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Literature (21L) - Archived

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Literature (21L) - Archived


Literature has been a central experience for the majority of MIT's undergraduates for more than 25 years: over that time approximately 75 percent of all undergraduates have studied the subject.

Designed to serve students majoring, minoring, and concentrating in Literature as well as those students who may get to take only one or two Literature subjects while at the Institute, the Literature curriculum at MIT offers a wide range of undergraduate classes at Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced levels. Most classes are small and offer significant opportunity for student writing and speaking. Many classes focus on literature written in English, though we offer many others covering works in translation from antiquity to yesterday.

Notable for its interdisciplinary variety and for its openness to film and other forms of popular culture, the Literature program is also strong in traditional areas and historical periods such as Renaissance and the 19th Century. Most classes at all levels are offered once a year; many of the HASS-D introductory classes are offered every semester. Staffed by well-published, influential scholars and creative writers, the Literature faculty is recognized for its superior and committed teaching.

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Recent Submissions

  • Thorburn, David (2002-12)
    Tradition and innovation in representative fiction of the early modern period. Recurring themes: the role of the artist in the modern period, the representation of psychological and sexual experience, the virtues (and ...
  • Vaeth, Kimberly (2008-12)
    This course offers students ways to become more engaged and curious readers for life. By learning the language of selected short stories and novels, students learn the language of literary description. There will be a ...
  • Thorburn, David (2012-12)
    This course concentrates on close analysis and criticism of a wide range of films, including works from the early silent period, documentary and avant-garde films, European art cinema, and contemporary Hollywood fare. ...
  • Raman, Shankar (2010-06)
    This subject examines the ways in which we read. It introduces some of the different strategies of reading, comprehending and engaging with literary texts developed in the twentieth century, paying special attention to ...
  • Henderson, Diana (2004-06)
    What is the interplay between an event and its "frames"? What is special and distinctive about stage events? How and why do contemporary dramatists turn back in time for their settings, models, and materials? How do they ...