Literature at MIT logo.

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.

Department of Literature links

Visit the MIT Department of Literature home page at:

Review the MIT Department of Literature curriculum at:

Updated within the past 180 days

MIT Course #Course TitleTerm
 21L.000JWriting About LiteratureFall 2006
21L.001Foundations of Western Culture: Homer to DanteFall 2008
 21L.002Foundations of Western Culture IIFall 2002
 21L.002-2Foundations of Western Culture II: Renaissance to ModernitySpring 2003
 21L.002-3Foundations of Western Culture II: ModernismSpring 2004
 21L.003Introduction to FictionSpring 2002
 21L.003Introduction to FictionFall 2003
21L.003Reading FictionFall 2008
 21L.003-1Reading Fiction: Dysfunctional FamiliesSpring 2007
 21L.003-2Reading FictionFall 2006
 21L.003-2Reading FictionSpring 2007
 21L.004Major PoetsFall 2001
 21L.004Major PoetsFall 2005
 21L.005Introduction to DramaFall 2004
21L.005Introduction to DramaFall 2008
 21L.006American LiteratureFall 2002
21L.007World Literatures: Travel WritingFall 2008
 21L.007JAfter ColumbusFall 2003
 21L.009ShakespeareSpring 2004
 21L.010Writing About LiteratureFall 2006
 21L.011The Film ExperienceFall 2007
 21L.012Forms of Western NarrativeSpring 2004
 21L.012Forms of Western NarrativeFall 2007
 21L.015Introduction to Media StudiesFall 2003
 21L.015Introduction to Media StudiesFall 2005
 21L.016Learning from the Past: Drama, Science, PerformanceSpring 2007
21L.017The Art of the Probable: Literature and ProbabilitySpring 2008
 21L.310Bestsellers: Detective FictionFall 2006
 21L.315PrizewinnersSpring 2007
 21L.325Small Wonders: Staying AliveSpring 2007
 21L.420Literary Studies: The Legacy of EnglandSpring 2006
21L.421ComedySpring 2008
 21L.422TragedyFall 2002
 21L.423JIntroduction to Anglo-American Folk MusicFall 2005
 21L.430Popular Narrative: MastermindsFall 2004
 21L.432Understanding TelevisionSpring 2003
 21L.435Shakespeare, Film and MediaFall 2002
 21L.448Darwin and DesignFall 2002
 21L.448JDarwin and DesignFall 2003
 21L.449End of NatureSpring 2002
 21L.450Literature and Ethical ValuesFall 2002
 21L.451Introduction to Literary TheorySpring 2004
 21L.455Classical Literature: The Golden Age of Augustan RomeFall 2004
 21L.458The BibleSpring 2007
 21L.460Medieval Literature: Medieval Women WritersSpring 2004
 21L.460Medieval Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, ChaucerSpring 2005
21L.463Renaissance LiteratureFall 2008
 21L.470Eighteenth-Century Literature: Versions of the Self in 18th-C BritainSpring 2003
 21L.471Major English Novels: Reading Romantic FictionSpring 2002
 21L.471Major English NovelsSpring 2004
 21L.471Major English NovelsSpring 2007
 21L.472Major European NovelsFall 2008
 21L.476Romantic PoetrySpring 2005
 21L.481Victorian Literature and CultureSpring 2003
 21L.48520th-Century FictionFall 2002
 21L.486Modern DramaSpring 2006
 21L.487Modern PoetrySpring 2002
 21L.488Contemporary LiteratureSpring 2003
 21L.488Contemporary Literature: British Novels NowSpring 2007
 21L.488Contemporary Literature: Literature, Development, and Human RightsSpring 2008
 21L.489JTheory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive NarrativeSpring 2003
 21L.489JInteractive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and PracticeSpring 2004
 21L.489JInteractive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and PracticeSpring 2006
 21L.501The American NovelFall 2002
 21L.501The American NovelFall 2006
 21L.504JRace and Identity in American Literature: Keepin' it Real FakeSpring 2007
 21L.512American Authors: American Women AuthorsSpring 2003
 21L.701Literary Interpretation: Virginia Woolf's ShakespeareSpring 2001
 21L.701Literary Interpretation: Interpreting PoetryFall 2003
 21L.701Literary Interpretation: Literature and Photography: The ImageFall 2005
 21L.701Literary Interpretation: Beyond the Limits of the LyricFall 2006
 21L.702Studies in Fiction: Stowe, Twain, and the Transformation of 19th-Century AmericaFall 2004
 21L.702Studies in Fiction: Rethinking the American MasterpieceFall 2007
 21L.703English Renaissance Drama: Theatre and Society in the Age of ShakespeareFall 2003
 21L.703Studies in Drama: Stoppard and ChurchillSpring 2004
 21L.703Studies in Drama: Theater and Science in a Time of WarSpring 2005
21L.703Studies in Drama: Too Hot to Handle: Forbidden Plays in Modern AmericaFall 2008
 21L.704Studies in Poetry: "Does Poetry Matter"Fall 2002
 21L.704Studies in Poetry: Gender and Lyric -- Renaissance Men and Women Writing about LoveSpring 2003
 21L.704Studies in Poetry - British Poetry and the Sciences of the MindFall 2004
 21L.704Studies in Poetry: "What's the Use of Beauty?"Fall 2005
 21L.704Studies in Poetry: From the Sonneteers to the MetaphysicalsSpring 2006
 21L.704Studies in Poetry: 20th Century Irish Poetry: The Shadow of W. B. YeatsSpring 2008
 21L.705Major Authors: Melville and MorrisonFall 2003
 21L.705Major Authors: Oscar Wilde and the '90'sSpring 2003
 21L.705Masterworks in American Short FictionFall 2005
 21L.705Major Authors: After the Masterpiece: Novels by Melville, Twain, Faulkner, and MorrisonFall 2006
 21L.705Major Authors: John MiltonSpring 2008
 21L.706Studies in FilmFall 2005
 21L.707Writing Early American Lives: Gender, Race, Nation, FaithFall 2005
 21L.707Arthurian Literature and Celtic ColonizationSpring 2005
 21L.708Technologies of HumanismSpring 2003
 21L.715Media in Cultural Context: Popular ReadershipsFall 2007
 21L.715Media in Cultural ContextSpring 2007
 21L.995Special Topics in Literature: Milton's "Paradise Lost"January (IAP) 2008
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Updated within the past 180 days

MIT Course #Course TitleTerm
 21L.430Popular Narrative: MastermindsFall 2004
 21L.489JTheory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive NarrativeSpring 2003
 21L.489JInteractive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and PracticeSpring 2006
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