Undergraduate Guide to Studying Literature

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Introduction and Contents


To Students

What you need to know first of all is in the syllabus or course outline you will receive at your first class. What is in this Web Guide is meant to supplement the handouts you receive from your instructor and help you with your English Studies. Students in the Film and Theatre Programs may also find this information helpful with a few modifications.

This Guide represents in general the practice in most sections of English literature classes, but each instructor sets the specific requirements for his or her section according to the particular needs of that section, so that your instructor’s requirements take precedence over what is in this Guide. If you have any questions about what is required for your class, ask your instructor.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this Web Guide, please email them to the English Department at english@umanitoba.ca.


1. How Well Do You Understand What You Have Read?
2. Keeping a Reading Journal
3. Critical Terms for Studying Literatures
4. Guidelines for Writing Essays
5. What the Grade on Your Essay Means
6. What to Do with Your Marked Essay
7. Marking Symbols Abbreviations

To the Instructors

The purpose of this Guide is to provide basic help to students beginning their undergraduate study of literature in the English Department. You may copy any of the information here and modify it to suit your needs and your students’ needs.

The material in this Web Guide was compiled by Professor Terry Ogden in consultation with members of the English Department. Any corrections or improvements that you would like to recommend in this handbook should be sent to the First Year Committee or to the Undergraduate Course and Programs Committee, in care of the Department of English. The English Department can be reached by email at english@umanitoba.ca.