I have a question for literature students who plan on graduate study.
At what point do you decide what you are going to specialize in? And once you do decide, how important is it also to study the texts that are outside of your desired specialization?
Right now I'm a 3rd year English Major and for graduate study I want to specialize in American literature. So far as an undergrad I have been taking courses in everything from Medieval Literature to Renaissance to Victorian to Romantic. Also seminars in Shakespeare and in Classics. But now that I've decided my focus for graduate study do I mainly focus on American literature and pull back from everything else? Or continue to study the Canon but focus primarily on American literature?
I guess my question is, once someone decides to specialize, how important is it to be an expert in other types of literature? Is the PhD in American literature also an expert on the Russians? Or the French? How much do you need to know outside of your specialization?