Old fashioned penmanship lesson


Work of Literary Merit

Since the early 1980s, many SRJC English instructors have selected a common text, a work of literary merit (WOLM), for study in English 1A classes. The number of students who study the WOLM is actually much higher, however, because many instructors assign the selected WOLM in other classes, especially English 1B. In the early years, the program consisted of little more than this agreement on a common text, with instructors benefiting by sharing ideas about teaching the particular work. As the years passed, however, the program developed into an exciting and integral part of the 1A curriculum. A constellation of optional adjunct activities also began to revolve around the WOLM, such as the lecture program, library displays, bookmarks, public readings, and special classes for ESL students. In short, the WOLM has become an event. Note: there is no selected WOLM for summer semesters.

Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 WOLM

Man's Search for Meaning, Victor E. Frankl (1946)


Man's Search for Meaning bookcover


Scheduled Events

In the Shadow if the Reich: Nazi Medicine film screening and Q&A with Dr. John Michalczyk

Please join us for a screening of the documentary film In the Shadow of the  Reich: Nazi Medicine and a Q&A with the director, Dr. John Michalczyk, on Wednesday, November 2nd from 12-1:30 pm in the Burbank Theater Studio. As part of the SRJC English Department's Work of Literary Merit this year (Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning), Dr. Michalczyk's film studies the step-by-step process that led the German medical profession down an unethical road to genocide. It graphically documents the racial theories and eugenics principles that set the stage for the doctors' participation in sterilization and euthanasia, the selections at the death camps, as well as inhuman and unethical human experimentation.

WOLM presentation poster


“A Desperate Search for Meaning in a Post-Pandemic World: Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning” by Dr. Edgar Castellini

November 16th from 12:00-1:00 pm

Ed Castellini presentation

Work of Literary Merit Archive

Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, Jose Antonio Vargas, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

Walden, Henry David Thoreau, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

Kindred, Octavia Butler, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

1984, George Orwell, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehesi Coates, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Spring 2016

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula LeGuin, Fall 2015

Collected Essays, James Baldwin, Spring 2015

A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean, Fall 2014

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, Spring 2014

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Fall 2013

Passing, Nella Larsen, Spring 2013

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Fall 2012

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Spring 2012

Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexie, Fall 2011

Into the Forest, Jean Hegland, Spring 2010/2011

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, Fall 2009/2010

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,  Mark Twain, Spring 2008/2009

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Fall 2007/Spring 2008

Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko, Fall 2006/Spring 2007

Ibsen's Selected Plays, Henrik Ibsen, Spring 2006

The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fall 2005

Middle Passage, Charles Johnson, Spring 2005

The Portable Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman, Fall 2004

Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin, Spring 2004

Howards End, E. M. Forster, Fall 2003

Tracks, Louise Erdrich, Spring 2003

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, Fall 2002

The Awakening, Kate Chopin, Spring 2002

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James, Fall 2001

The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien, Spring 2001

Gimpel the Fool, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Fall 2000

Where I'm Calling From, Raymond Carver, Spring 2000

Hard Times, Charles Dickens, Fall 1999

Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson, Spring 1999

Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard, Fall 1998

The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston, Spring 1998

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Fall 1997

As You Like It, William Shakespeare, Spring 1997

My Antonia, Willa Cather, Fall 1996

Grand Avenue, Greg Sarris, Spring 1996

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, Fall 1995

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, Spring 1995

Beloved, Toni Morrison, Fall 1994

Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko, Spring 1994

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway, Fall 1993

The Portable Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Spring 1993

Waiting for the Barbarians, J. M. Coetzee, Fall 1992

Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Spring 1992

Dubliners, James Joyce, Fall 1991

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison, Spring 1991

Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse, Fall 1990

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Spring 1990

The Great Gatsby, Fall 1989

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, Spring 1989

The Milagro Beanfield War, John Nichols, Fall 1988

The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West, Spring 1988

The Tempest, William Shakespeare, Fall 1987

A Passage to India, E. M. Forster, Spring 1987

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, Fall 1986

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Spring 1986

Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, Fall 1985

A Gathering of Old Men, Ernest J. Gaines Spring 1985

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Fall 1984

1984, George Orwell, Spring 1984

The Horse's Mouth, Joyce Cary, Fall 1983

Henderson The Rain King, Saul Bellow, Spring 1983

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner, Fall 1982

The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy, Spring 1982

Candide, Voltaire, Fall 1981