Welcome to Literatures in English

Literatures in English offers students the opportunity to read and study literature written in English, from its origins in Medieval Britain through to contemporary forms in Australia, America, the UK and elsewhere in the post-colonial world.

Core subjects in this stream survey the history of literature, a variety of genres, and various theoretical approaches to understanding literature.

Electives offer an in-depth study of literature in specific periods (such as the Renaissance or Romantic periods), genres (such as children’s literature or travel writing), and those with a specific theme (such as print cultures or literature and the environment).

Students may undertake a series of closely-related units – for example, those with a focus on the study of genre, (such as fantasy and digital literatures); or those with a focus on literary movements (such as Modernism) – or, if they prefer, may select a variety of units (the “smorgasbord” approach).

Chris Kraus
Chris Kraus photo: John Kelsey

In June and July 2014, the Literary Studies program hosted novelist, publisher and art critic Chris Kraus as a Visiting Scholar. Kraus is co-editor of the influential press Semiotexte, publishers of “theory, fiction, madness, economics, satire, sexuality, science fiction, activism and confession”. Kraus’s novels include I Love Dick (1997), Torpor (2006), and Summer of Hate (2012) and she has published two collections of art criticism: Video Green (2004) and Where Art Belongs (2012). In 2008, Kraus received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism from the College Art Association.

Kraus participated in Monash’s Writer’s and Their World seminar series, where she presented a very interesting critique of the recent debate about inclusion of women writers in the literary mainstream sparked by the VIDA count. It was followed by lively and interesting discussion (listen to a podcast here). You can read the article based on this talk at the Sydney Review of Books. Chris also led a writing masterclass for students from the Literary and Cultural Studies and Curatorial Practice PhD programs. Chris’ visit culminated in her delivering a keynote lecture at the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association Conference, co-hosted by Monash at the State Library of Victoria.