Online English Literature Courses and Classes

Online English literature classes are available through many schools. Topics covered in these courses include Shakespeare, film as literature, old English literature, American literature, children's literature and world literature in translation.

Essential Information

English literature courses can be taken completely online as part of many associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in liberal studies, literature or English. Graduates of these programs may find careers in academia, elementary or secondary education, technical writing, advertising, creative or technical writing, journalism and more.

Online English Literature Classes

The following descriptions summarize the most commonly offered online English literature courses.

  • Literature Introduction Course: This class is normally taken by undergraduate students. It is meant to introduce the student to a deeper understanding of various literary genres, such as poetry or drama, as well as essays and short or long works of fiction and nonfiction.
  • British Literature Survey Course: Literature classes in British literature may be presented in two course parts. The first part deals with early works of old English to the works of the eighteenth century. The second half of this sort of survey course generally explores the Romantic period through the twentieth century.
  • American Literature Survey Course: Generally, a survey of American literature classes starts with the expository writing from pre-colonial and colonial times to the start of the American Civil War. This early American literature overview is then followed by works from the Civil War or Reconstruction era to contemporary works.
  • Literary Overview of Shakespeare Course: A course in Shakespeare's works gives the non-English major student an introduction to some of the playwright's major works. Representative plays, including the comedies and tragedies, as well as the sonnets are read and analyzed as dramatic literature.
  • World Literature in Translation Course: Content for world literature classes is derived from literature in translation or written in English by non-English speakers. Some classes of this nature focus on the major literary works of one country or region, a specific time period or a particular social or ethnic group.
  • Children's Literature for Educators Course: Focus of this class may be a general survey of the genres of children's literature, or it may focus on a specific genre or works written for a particular age group. A children's literature class for educators is frequently available to undergraduate and graduate students of education, who also learn teaching strategies.
  • Critical Thinking and Writing About Literature Course: This course teaches analysis of varied literary forms. Readings are likely to include fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry. The literary devices of each form are presented. Studies include analysis of the diverse perspectives seen in English literature. Persuasive essays may be assigned, which should demonstrate critical thought and understanding of the literature.

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