Faculty Council Considers Literature Concentration

The Faculty Council last week considered a proposal to establish a concentration in literature different from those in the English Department and History and Literature concentration.

The new concentration, similar to what an undergraduate program in comparative literature would be like, would focus on criticism and development of literary genres, Claudio Guillen, chairman of the Comparative Literature Department and one of a group of faculty members organizing the concentration proposal, said yesterday.

Guillen said the proposal is still in the planning stage but added that "there seems to be considerable support for such a major."

Preliminary plans call for the major to include a group of four required courses, augmented by tutorials and classes in other departments, Guillen said. He added that specifics of a language requirement for literature majors are incomplete.

The four courses making up the core of the major would include the history of poetics, modern approaches to literature, an introduction to literary genres, and an introduction to literary history, Guillen said.


David D. Perkins '51, chairman of the English Department and a member of the Faculty Council, said yesterday he had "no idea" how many students might be interested in a literature concentration. But he added that students concentrating in History and Literature who are more interested in literature than in history would be attracted to such a major.

"It would be natural" that students in the English Department's Option II, "Literature," would be interested in a literature major, Perkins said. He added, however, that the small number of students in Option II indicates few students would choose a literature major over English.

Perkins said members of the Faculty Council seemed generally favorable to the proposal, which comes up for review again next week. The Council took no action on the proposed major last week.

Some members of the Council voiced concern over the possible cost of creating a new concentration. But Guillen said the proposal "does not demand new hiring" because instructors would come from existing departments.

"I think we can get this thing started inexpensively," Guillen added