Literary scholar

A literary scholar


Literary scholars research works of literature, history of literature, genres, and literary criticism in order to appraise the works and the surrounding aspects in an appropriate context and to produce research results on specific topics in the field of literature. They engage in discussions covering new publications or offer reassessments of older pieces of literature.

Here are some typical duties of literary scholars:

  • Engage in scholarly research to explore literary themes, movements, and genres, using various methodologies to gain insights into the cultural and historical contexts of literary works.
  • Instruct students at the undergraduate or graduate level, delivering lectures, seminars, and workshops on literature, literary theory, and critical analysis.
  • Contribute to academic journals, publish books, and present research findings at conferences, sharing insights and advancing the collective knowledge in the field.
  • Analyze literary texts using critical approaches, such as feminist theory, postcolonial theory, structuralism, and deconstruction, to interpret meanings and uncover layers of complexity.
  • Situate literary works within their historical and cultural contexts, exploring how societal, political, and economic factors influence the creation and reception of literature.
  • Apply and contribute to literary theory, examining frameworks such as psychoanalysis, Marxism, and ecocriticism to offer new perspectives on the interpretation of literature.
  • Collaborate with other scholars, researchers, and institutions, participating in academic communities, conferences, and collaborative projects.
  • Contribute to the development of academic curricula, designing courses, reading lists, and learning materials that reflect diverse perspectives and themes.
  • Provide guidance and mentorship to students, supporting their academic and professional development in the field of literature.
  • Engage in cultural critique, exploring the ways literature reflects and shapes societal norms, values, and ideologies.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to literary scholar:

literary studies scholar
literary researcher
literature scholar
literary science researcher
literary research analyst
literary research scientist
literary studies researcher
literary analyst
literary studies research scientist
literary studies scientist
literary scientist

Working conditions

Literary scholars typically work in academic institutions, including universities and colleges. They may split their time between research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities.

Minimum qualifications

To become a literary scholar, a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in literature, comparative literature, or a related field is usually required. Successful candidates often have a strong research portfolio, including publications and conference presentations. Teaching experience, participation in academic conferences, and ongoing engagement with contemporary literary scholarship contribute to a scholar’s professional development. Strong analytical, writing, and communication skills are crucial for success in this role.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Literary scholar is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Literary scholar career path

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Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of literary scholar.

  • Literature: The body of artistic writing characterized by beauty of expression, form, and universality of intellectual and emotional appeal.
  • Literary theory: The different genres of literature and the way they fit into specific scenes.
  • Literary criticism: Academic field that evaluates and classifies literary works. These discussions can cover new publications or offer a reassessment of older pieces of literature.
  • History of literature: The historical evolution of forms of writing that are meant to entertain, educate or to give instructions to the audience, such as fictional prose and poems. The techniques used to communicate these writings and the historical context in which they were written.
  • Types of literature genres: The different literary genres in the history of literature, their technique, tone, content and length.
  • Writing techniques: The different techniques to write a story such as the descriptive, persuasive, first person and other techniques.
  • Spelling: The rules concerning the way words are spelled.
  • Literary techniques: The various approaches an author can use to enhance their writing and produce a specific effect; this can be the choice of a specific genre or the use of metaphors, allusions, and wordplay.
  • Grammar: The set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language.
  • Copyright legislation: Legislation describing the protection of the rights of original authors over their work, and how others can use it.
  • Scientific research methodology: The theoretical methodology used in scientific research involving doing background research, constructing a hypothesis, testing it, analysing data and concluding the results.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of literary scholar.

  • Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
  • Consult information sources: Consult relevant information sources to find inspiration, to educate yourself on certain topics and to acquire background information.
  • Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
  • Read books: Read the latest book releases and give your opinion on them.
  • Write scientific papers: Present the hypothesis, findings, and conclusions of your scientific research in your field of expertise in a professional publication.
  • Perform background research on writing subject: Run thorough background research on writing subject; desk-based research as well as site visits and interviews.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of literary scholar. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Theoretical lexicography: The academic field dealing with the syntagmatic, paradigmatic, and semantic relationships within the vocabulary of a certain language.
  • Journalism: The activity of collecting, processing and presenting to and audience information related to current events, trends, and people, called the news.
  • Comparative literature: Science that adopts a transnational perspective to study the similarities and differences between various cultures in the field of literature. The topics may also include comparisons between different artistic media such as literature, theatre, and film.
  • Linguistics: The scientific study of language and its three aspects, language form, language meaning, and language in context.
  • Rhetoric: The art of discourse that aims at improving the ability of writers and speakers to inform, persuade or motivate their audience.
  • Cultural history: Field that combines historical and anthropological approaches for recording and studying past customs, arts, and manners of a group of people taking into account their political, cultural, and social milieu.
  • Phonetics: The physical properties of speech sounds such as how their are produced, their acoustic properties and neurophysiological status.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of literary scholar. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Write research proposals: Synthetise and write proposals aiming to solve research problems. Draft the proposal baseline and objectives, the estimated budget, risks and impact. Document the advances and new developments on the relevant subject and field of study.
  • Read scripts: Read a playbook or film script, not only as literature, but identifying, actions, emotional states, evolution of characters, situations, different sets and locations, etc.
  • Teach writing: Teach basic or advanced writing principles to varying age groups in a fixed eduction organisation setting or by running private writing workshops.
  • Do historical research: Use scientific methods to research history and culture.
  • Study cultures: Study and internalise a culture that is not your own to truly understand its traditions, rules, and workings.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Promote your writings: Talk about your work at events and conduct readings, speeches and book signings; establish a network among fellow writers.
  • Develop scientific theories: Formulate scientific theories based on empirical observations, gathered data and theories of other scientists.
  • Conduct quantitative research: Execute a systematic empirical investigation of observable phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques.
  • Apply grammar and spelling rules: Apply the rules of spelling and grammar and ensure consistency throughout texts.
  • Critically reflect on artistic production processes: Critically reflect upon processes and outcomes of the artisitc production process in order to ensure quality of experience and/or product.
  • Read manuscripts: Read incomplete or complete manuscripts from new or experienced authors.
  • Conduct qualitative research: Gather relevant information by applying systematic methods, such as interviews, focus groups, text analysis, observations and case studies.

ISCO group and title

2641 – Authors and related writers

  1. Literary scholar – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by John Michael Thomson on Unsplash
Last updated on January 29, 2024