What does it mean to study literature?

Some people ask themselves the questions, how can literature be studied? Why is it important to know who wrote Romeo and Juliet? People probably ask these questions, because many of them imagine students of literature just reading books and memorising information about them. Although this, unfortunately, might be the case at some universities, it is definitely not the case at the University of York. How do I study literature at York? Because I love my studies, I try to avoid any expressive words of admiration and love.

For each week I have a couple of books to read which are chosen specifically to discuss an important topic in literature. For example, I recently read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley to find out more about the role of science and politics in the 18th Century literature and society. After that, I read at least three critical essays on each of the books. These essays help me to understand the book, and also give me more views on the discussed topic. Furthermore, I have lectures, and Q&A sessions. This process prepares me for a seminar or a workshop. In these, I spend two hours discussing and presenting my arguments to sharpen my minds so I can later write critical essay, for they are the most important part of my studies

We don’t learn information, but we learn how to work with information.  We philosophize about books, their impact on society and the world and about society’s and the world’s impact on books. We don’t learn who wrote what. We sharpen our brain so no one could manipulate with us through words.

And that is how I study literature at York! I cannot wait to use similar methods to teach literature in my own class.

I could have written this blog about COVID-19, but there is so much about the virus in “in the air,” I don’t want to talk about it anymore. However, to reflect on COVID, I am attaching my own poems bellow. Why poems?  Firstly, I am a student of Literature,  and secondly, COVID didn’t only strike me physically – I tested positive during my studies – it mostly affected me mentally. I depict my emotional flow in my poetry. Even though, T. S. Elliot would say I am a bad poet, because according to him “error of a poet is to be personal,” I am just finishing my first term in English Literature, so I cannot be perfect – not just yet. But maybe someone reads it and realizes she/he feel the same way. And maybe we can then sympathize with each other. And maybe the person then won’t feel like having these emotions alone…



My mind keeps me awake from the moment I heard the news:

    saying I cannot see, be with, meet anyone else but me.

                             And who is “me?” A walking virus, prisoner, a threat to others?

                                  Under a bell jar whatever I am must dwell, be shut and be –

                             Is this even life? The world doesn’t seem to give answers…



I cover myself with words, wrapping them over like a heavy duvet,   

             for the dreams I had are burning out, the fire doesn’t keep me warm

                        suddenly. The world has stopped, my heart and spirit hasn’t yet,  

       but the times are hard, and it is tempting to give up to the storm

                        in my head – but I just don’t, I just don’t lose hope – not just yet.



More blog articles

All news