Literature and Composition (English 2) is the second volume of the Excellence in Literature curriculum. Each volume is available in print and/or ebook format.
What does Literature and Composition cover?
Literature and Composition is a college-preparatory literature and composition course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, 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 creative and 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.
What does Literature and Composition include?
Self-directed: Like all the volumes of the Excellence in Literature curriculum, Literature and Composition is written mostly to the student. The book begins by introducing the purpose and focus of the curriculum, then goes on to provide context 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.
Formats and Models: This chapter provides detailed instructions for each type of paper, along with a student-written model so parents and students can see exactly what is expected.
Honors: 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.
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, 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. 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: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
Honors: The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss or The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
Optional: The book of Jonah (any translation)
Module 2: Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Honors: “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau and “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Module 3: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Module 4: The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Honors: Manalive by G.K. Chesterton
Module 5: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Honors: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Module 6: Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Honors: Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
Module 7: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Honors: King John by William Shakespeare
Module 8: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Honors: Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare or Rob Roy by Scott
Module 9: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Honors: Kim by Rudyard Kipling
Visit my blog to read about how I chose the 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.
“Students completing these courses should be miles ahead of most of their high school contemporaries in their ability to read and analyze literature at a sophisticated level.
The challenging writing assignments also promise to develop student skills in composition to a high level.”
One of our loyal curriculum users shared the following list of the Literature and Composition modules, organized in chronological order. While the original order was created for the purpose of alternating longer, more challenging works with shorter ones, it is interesting and quite appropriate to enjoy the modules chronologically. Either way works just fine. Enjoy!
- Renaissance: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
- Neo-Classical: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe (c. 1660-1731)
- English Romanticism: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
- Romanticism: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
- American Romanticism: Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
- Romantic Victorian: The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
- Modernism: The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
- Modernist/Regional: Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather (1873-1947)
- Modern Myth: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (1898-1965)
Best value: Get the Literature and Composition print book and ebook together!
You and your student will have the print book for reference and evaluation, but the student will be able to view the modules online, and click links (on most computers) to the context resources, rather than typing out the URLs.
Don’t forget! This book also comes in an ebook edition, as well.
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