Literature involves learning about how novels and poems can be used to interpret the social and political context of a particular time period. You do this by analysing selected passages, pulling apart metaphors and similes and then explaining any implied ideas issues and values which you can identify from the text. The major contains one compulsory first year subject as well as a third year capstone. It is a highly flexible major where you can study a wide variety of different genres. However, be aware that this is one of the Arts majors that see cuts to subjects regularly, so don’t count on studying in third year what you were looking at in first year. It pays to be flexible.
It is one of the more expensive Arts majors as you are required to read an entire novel every week during your first year and up to two novels by your third year while also keeping up with a subject reader. It is much more cost effective to either buy your books from a second hand store or to use online shops like bookdepository.com. Otherwise, you are looking at wasting a lot of money at the Book Co-op. You should also be able to buy your books from Readings in Lygon Street. It has very good staff and is normally quite well stocked. If you’re are looking at doing foreign literature, you should make full use of the Baillieu Library as it has a very extensive collection of different translations of Russian and French literature. Also, if you are required to study a piece of foreign literature, you are generally required to use a specific translation. You can lose a lot of marks in an essay which references the wrong translation. There are stories of Lit students accidentally using really old translations of a book that had been censored which meant that half the textual references in their essays were wrong.