Literature and Classics

Literature is an age-old human creative practice. It unites features that are uniquely human: the artistic use of language and the capacity for story-telling, combined with the creation of worlds that represent humanity in its fundamental joys and anxieties, its successes and failures. 

If you want to say something, you have to let the language itself say it, because language is usually more meaningful than the mere content that one wishes to convey.

Elfriede Jelinek

At University College Utrecht you not only learn how to analyse literary texts from various regions, genres and periods but also how to connect the study of literature to other fields such as history, media studies or politics. This prepares you for graduate work in the field of literature, but it also serves a general education as envisaged in the Liberal Arts and Sciences programme, for which the reading and understanding of literature is indispensable. 

Literature offers the opportunity to learn about ourselves and others. At the centre of imaginative literature is mimesis or the representation of human life and experience. Engaging with the literary narratives and experiences of otherness they offer, we can become aware of our position in the world in new ways.

Through reading literature we can learn about specific historical contexts and eternally human struggles, about the perspectives of others on themselves, and ourselves. In the process of reading and studying literature, our development thus works both ways: we learn about our fellow human beings as we come to know ourselves and our place in the world. 

The second line in this track studies the literature and culture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, which constitutes one of the cornerstones of Western culture. The history of the Ancient World also includes the Mesopotamian, Jewish and Christian tradition. All these traditions have contributed to the richness and variety of the literary, philosophical, religious, artistic and scientific achievements of the West. Discovering the sameness and otherness of the ancient World provides students with an opportunity to absorb and reflect on the tradition of Greeks and Romans.