Introduction to Literature English 1


Introduction to Literature (English 1) is a one year, college-preparatory literature and composition course, and is the first volume of the Excellence in Literature curriculum.

  • Short Stories by Welty, O. Henry, and others
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  •  The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Spiral bound; 8.5 x 11″; 154 pages


Introduction to Literature (English 1) is the first volume of the Excellence in Literature curriculum.

What does Introduction to Literature cover?

Introduction to Literature is a college-preparatory literature and composition course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, interest, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work.
Students will gain an understanding of the development of literature and will practice the skills of close literary analysis through essays, approach papers, and other evaluative writing.


By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary, and thesaurus.
  • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
  • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the works.
  • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.

How can Introduction to Literature help you?

Self-directed: Like all the volumes of the Excellence in Literature curriculum, Introduction to Literature is written mostly to the student. The book begins by introducing the purpose and focus of the curriculum, then go on to provide information that will be useful as students work through the modules, including chapters on How to Read a Book and How to Write an Essay, as well as Discerning Worldview through Literary Periods.
Structured and easy to use: Following the nine modules that outline readings and a week-by-week lesson plan for each of the classic works being studied, you will find reference resources (online resource links are kept updated at the EIL site), including instructions for evaluation, reproducible rubric and assignment sheets, and more. You can see an annotated listing of each of the introductory and reference chapters at the “What is included in Excellence in Literature” post.

Optional Honors track: In the listing below, the highlighted book is the focus text, and the honors book is optional additional reading for students who want to earn an honors grade or prepare for a CLEP. A brief chapter in each book provides instructions for the additional writing that will round out the honors grade. Each book below is linked to edition I prefer at Amazon. These are affiliate links, of course — that means I get a few cents from each book purchase, but it doesn’t change your cost at all.

Module 1: Short Stories

  • Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
  • Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This Poe story is not scary, if you’re concerned about that.)
  • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
  • O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
  • Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
  • James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Note: In the study guide, there is a link to each story at the Excellence in Literature site.
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules VerneModule 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne



Module 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain



Module 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë



Module 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot



Module 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson



Module 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Honors: 1984 by George Orwell OR

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury



Module 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare



Module 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan


Visit my blog to read about how I chose literature for Excellence in Literature. This link will open in a new tab, so you don’t have to worry about losing your place here. You may also want to look at the curriculum overview at the Excellence In Literature Curriculum page.

Best value: Get the print book and ebook together!

We offer the exclusive Print Plus ebook add-on option.

Print Plus eBook learning advantages:

  • Printed guide is best for frequently referenced instructional articles and models
  • eBook add-on can be one more than one device for use by others in the family
  • eBook add-on allows students to click context resources links on most computers, rather than type in URLs (any link updates will be listed on the Excellence in Literature resource site in the Curriculum User Content)
  • Extra copies of reproducible forms can be easily printed from the add-on

Link to ebook edition

Purchase link for UK customers

Click each title below for a detailed description of the study guide.

Introduction to Literature (English 1) 
Literature and Composition (English 2)
American Literature (English 3)
British Literature (English 4)
World Literature (English 5)
The Complete Curriculum: Literature and Writing for Grades 8-12
Handbook for Writers




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