At the core of the major in English is an encounter with one of the richest and now most diverse literary traditions in the world. To study English is thus to learn how to enjoy and understand an unparalleled variety of works that, to paraphrase the great eighteenth-century critic Samuel Johnson, have pleased many and pleased long. For many, majoring in English marks the start of a lifelong fascination with anything from Arthurian legend, to Shakespeare's plays, to the recent flowering of Anglophone literature in Africa. Of necessity, appreciation of such works entails an enhanced sensitivity to precision and nuance in language, a sensitivity that can greatly benefit students' own writing.
Those electing to major in English may also include in their program courses from the allied fields of communication and journalism, fields united with the major in their attentiveness to rhetoric and preoccupation with the way language can be used to persuade, inform, or even give meaning to life.
As a whole, the major not only introduces students to some of the most powerful depictions of the human condition ever created, but also endows them with skills of expression and analysis highly prized in many professions.
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