World Literature Program

Contact Information

World Literature Program
Creighton Hall, Room 134
TEL: 402.280.2822
FAX: 402.280.2143

World Literature Program

General Description

As part of the old College of Arts and Sciences' Core Curriculum requirements, students had to complete the six-hour sequence of courses ENG 220-221: World Literature I and World Literature II (also listed as CNE 220, and, in the Honors Program, as ENG/CNE 222- ENG 223). Under the new Magis Core, a student is required to take only one literature course, which may include either of the World Lit courses or another literature course (from English or another department) that satisfies the Core Literature requirement. To find out what literature courses are being offered in a particular term, l

  • Point a browser to The Nest (
  • Click “Schedule of Courses” and choose the term you want from the drop-down menu.
  • Next to “Attribute Type,” click on 2CLT Magis Common Core:II Lit
  • Then click the “Class Search” button at the bottom of the page.

This will bring up all the Magis Core courses in all departments that satisfy the literature requirement offered the term you've chosen.

The two world lit courses are based on English originals and translations of foreign-language texts and cover, respectively, the literature from antiquity to the Renaissance and from the seventeenth-century to the present. While including many canonical works of the Western and English literary traditions—such as Homer's Odyssey, Dante's Inferno, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Cervantes's Don Quixote, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land—the courses also stress the importance of non-Western texts and works by women and minorities. In addition to issues of literary history, terminology and concepts, the courses emphasize the close reading, analysis, and interpretation of the texts as well as the development of students' oral and written expression. Close attention is given to students' individual needs and interests through faculty-student conferences and intensive student participation in class discussions. While all sections of the courses teach a core of required texts—providing a common literary experience—individual instructors are given substantial freedom to choose and experiment with optional and additional readings from broad lists of texts. Through those lists, the program strives to recognize the breadth, diversity, and ever-changing character of the literary canon. While the World Literature Program is administered by the English Department, its teaching staff includes faculty from English, Classics & Near Eastern Studies, and Modern Languages. In addition to regularly scheduled classes, students and faculty attend special out-of-class events—such as lectures by guest speakers, poetry and fiction readings by distinguished writers, films, plays, art exhibits, concerts, and other live performances—specifically designed to enhance the understanding of the courses' materials and facilitate the accomplishment of the program's goals.

Goals and Purposes

The main objective of the World Literature Program is to promote, through the study of literature, the intellectual, academic, professional, moral, and spiritual development of students. Encouraging consideration of the idea that literature offers—in addition to entertainment and aesthetic enjoyment—important insights concerning human nature and the human experience, the program strives to generate a dialogue revolving around the definition, character, and potential practical consequences/applications of literature and literary study. Important tasks and purposes of the program are to promote an understanding of individual literary works in their cultural/historical contexts; to engage in comparative and interdisciplinary thinking; and to characterize the norms and constants, in method and content, which unite the different literary traditions with each other and with other epistemological, scientific, artistic, and practical endeavors. Students in the program are expected to become familiar with selected literary texts, history, concepts, and terminology; to develop substantial reading, analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills; to gain an appreciation of the value and significance of cultural/artistic achievements; and to demonstrate awareness and understanding of the common and different values, ideals, and insights often expressed in works of literature from different cultures and historical periods.