1900s Courses

From the 1907 Yearbook


For the first few years of this decade, topics of study are listed by year.

Freshman Year- Rhetoric; Critical Study of Longfellow and Whittier; Critical Study of Bryant, Irving, and Hawthorne.

Sophomore Year- Rhetoric- Essays and Orations; Critical Study of Goldsmith and Scott; Critical Study of Tennyson and Macauley; History of the English Language.

Junior Year- Practical Studies in English Prose Writers; Lectures and critical studies in Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden.

Senior Year- Lectures and critical studies in Pope, Gray, Burns, and Wordsworth; Lectures and critical studies in Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, and Keats; Studies and readings in Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, and Robert Browning.







In 1904, the university went from 4 terms per year to 2, and the curriculum was revised to provide required introductory courses and advanced electives. Students in the College could elect a major area of study, including an English major (although the word “major” was not yet used). With an increase in enrollments in the university, and with the system of electives, the number of courses offered by the English department increased.

The heading to the course list says:

The courses in English are arranged to acquaint the student with both the form and content of the English language. The earlier courses are intended to train the student in affective use of the English language, both written and spoken, and to give him knowledge of its historical forms.  The latter courses aim to give a knowledge of the thought and life presented in both English and American literature. Lectures are given, but stress is laid on the direct study of the best authors. Essays and other written work are required in all courses.


Required Courses:

Rhetoric and Composition. Two semesters, 3 hours. Weekly themes and frequent class exercises, with practice in correction and criticism. Textbook:  Baldwin’s College Manual of Rhetoric, with collateral reading from the best modern prose writers. 

Public Speaking. Two semesters, 1 hour.

Advanced Composition. Second semester, 2 hours. Required of students in Civil Engineering.

American Literature. First Semester, 2 hours. Textbook: Higginson and Boynton’s History of American Literature.

History of English Literature. Second semester, 2 hours. Textbook: Moody and Lovett’s History of English Literature. Required of students in the College.

English Literature to the Age of Milton. Second semester, 2 hours. A study of English non-dramatic literature to the Puritan period, with brief readings of minor authors and a careful study of Chaucer, Spenser and Milton. Required of students in the College.


Development of English Prose. First semester, 3 hours. From the Elizabethan to the Victorian age.

History of the English Language. Second semester, 3 hours. Textbook: Lounsbury’s History of the English Language, with readings from Middle English writers.

Advanced Public Speaking and Writing. Two semesters, 1 hour.

The Drama and Shakespeare.  First semester, 3 hours.

The Development of the English Novel. Second semester, 3 hours

The Classical Period. First semester, 3 hours. A Study of Dryden and Pope and their contemporaries, in connection with the life and thought of the 18th century.

The Revival of Romanticism. Second semester, 3 hours. Thomas, Collins, Gray, Goldsmith, Cowper, Burns.

Chaucer and Middle English. First semester, 2 hours. During the early part of the course a study will be made of the English language. The remainder of the semester will be devoted to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Spenser and Milton. Second semester, 2 hours. Shorter poems will be given some consideration, but the chief study will be Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Book I, and Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

Elizabethan Dramatists. First semester, 3 hours. Except Shakespeare. Typical dramas of Marlowe, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Webster.

The Essay and Criticism. Second semester, 3 hours. The development of the essay from the seventeenth century, with the especial reference to the history of critical opinion, followed by a systematic study of Literary Criticism.

Early 19th Century Literature. First semester, 3 hours. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Scott and Byron.

Victorian Literature. Second semester, 3 hours. The more recent poets, especially Tennyson and Browning, with an estimate of the value and significance of their works.

Classical Literature in English. First and Second semesters, 3 hours.


Courses Required for the English major:

The Drama and Shakespeare
The Development of the English Novel 
Early 19th Century Literature
Victorian Literature