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The department of English Language and Literature aims to teach all the students it serves, both majors and non-majors, to write and speak well and to read skillfully, thoughtfully and with pleasure. We continue to offer many courses that stress literary history and canonical figures, but we also give our students opportunities to experiment with a variety of new fields, theoretical perspectives and linguistic developments, and to pursue creative writing of their own.

We expect that our majors will graduate with an understanding of the historical and cultural forces that have shaped literatures in English, beginning in the British Isles, but now spread across the world. We want all our students to learn to wrestle with the complex interpretive challenges that literature poses and to become, in the words of Henry James, people "upon whom nothing is lost."

News & Events

Upcoming events


Thursday, April 16th, Neilson Browsing Room, 12:00-1:00: A Discussion with Author Meg Wolitzer

We hope you can join us. Lunch will be available for the first 50 attendees.


Thursday, April 16th, Campus Center room 103/104, 4:15-5:30

Presentation of the English Department Honors Theses


Monday, April 27th, Seelye 207, 12:00-1:00: The final Literary Lunch of the semester-We're very excited that Professor Susan Van Dyne will join us to talk about her current work on the brilliant graphic novelist Alison Bechdel and her novel Fun Home. Professor Van Dyne's talk will draw extensively upon Bechdel's papers (now in our own Sophia Smith Collection); her title is "Drafting a Double Life: The Archives of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home."

Lunch will be available for the first 20 attendees.