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English Major is an academia aesthetic based on people who pursue a college degree (usually a BA but sometimes an MFA) focusing on English. This can be a generalized English degree or a more specific one such as English Literature or Creative Writing.

The English Major aesthetic has a more lighthearted and humorous tone than similar aesthetics like Dark Academia. It should not be confused with Writer Academia, although some English majors are writers.

History

English literature was first studied at universities in France and Germany in the mid 19th century. It was not until the 1970s that American universities created English major programs.[1]

The English major is stereotyped as a "useless" degree, which can make it difficult for English majors to find jobs.[2] [3]In reality, English majors gain skills such as persuasive writing and research, which are useful in a wide variety of careers.

Within the English studies community there is a movement to move beyond the boundaries of the traditional Literary Canon, which tends to contain authors who are mainly straight, cisgender, male, and white. The idea of literature which explores so called universal experiences and uses universal reference points has also been criticized for that reason. Ironically, literature was created by women.[4]


Visuals

  • books
  • cups of coffee and tea
  • writing implements - pens, pencils, highlighters
  • typewriters
  • laptop computers open to essays
  • annotated textbook pages
  • literary magazines
  • memes about specific literary works or authors

Stereotypes

The most prominent stereotype is that English majors cannot do math.

English Majors are stereotyped as alcoholics. This is possibly because many famous writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, were alcoholics.

An English major is also stereotyped as an upper middle class degree, as there is less assurance of immediate work after graduation compared to degrees such as Business.

Media

Included here are works originally written in English from British and American writers are studied as part of the curriculum for English majors. Film adaptations of well-known books and plays are not listed, as it would make the list too long. Other media listed focuses on writers, books, and bookstores.

Books

  • English language pieces in The Literary Canon
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Beowulf
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The Graphic Canon Volume 2
  • Ulysses by James Joyce

Writers

  • William Shakespeare
  • Jane Austen
  • The Bronte sisters
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Maya Angelou
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Robert Frost
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Walt Whitman
  • Agatha Christie
  • Charles Dickens
  • Kate Chopin
  • T.S. Elliot
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Mark Twain
  • John Milton
  • Shirley Jackson
  • George Eliot
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Edith Wharton
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Jack London
  • Robert Louis Stevenson

Movies

  • 84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
  • Anonymous (2011)
  • Atonement (2007)
  • Becoming Jane (2007)
  • Bright Star (2009)
  • Capote (2005)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Easy A (2010)
  • Kill Your Darlings (2013)
  • Not Another Happy Ending (2013)
  • Selfie (2014)
  • The Bookshop (2017)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

Music

  • Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend
  • What Can You Do With a BA in English? from Avenue Q
  • Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

Stage Works

  • Plays by William Shakespeare
  • All My Sons by Arthur Miller
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner
  • Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  • Something Rotten

Stand Up Comedy

  • John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (2018)

TV Shows

  • Castle (2009-2016)
  • Dickinson (2019-)
  • Jane the Virgin (2014-2019)

Fashion

  • oversized sweaters
  • jeans
  • boots
  • sneakers
  • book related graphic t-shirts
  • leather or canvas book bags
  • tote bags, especially those from bookstores

Stores

Food and Drink

  • tea
  • coffee
  • red wine
  • pastries like cinnamon rolls
  • soup
  • cheap food associated with student life like ramen noodles

Home Decor

  • posters with iconic book covers like The Great Gatsby
  • literary quotes
  • posters of famous authors like William Shakespeare
  • succulents
  • bookshelves packed with books
  • typewriters

Gallery

Resources

Tumblr

Twitter

References

  • English Studies on Wikipedia
  • The Myth of the English Major Barista
  • I Signed Up to Write College Essays for Rich Kids
  • While the men were out hunting, Stone Age women created a future