In my day at the Graduate College, English grad students first had to learn Anglo-Saxon, the dead hand of tradition. I hope this is no longer true there or at the Univ. of Washington.
A Ph.D. in literature is as good or bad as a Ph.D. in any non-scientific field. None of them are what they seem. History, literature, philosophy, social science -- they all follow current trends in the deconstruction of reality and the propagation of various forms of ideology. In fact, you could probably get the same thesis accepted in any of the humanities or social sciences departments, disciplinary divisions no longer meaning anything. Good luck! I think spending time drinking good bourbon would be more pleasurable, actually.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.