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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

Literary Lunch

Literary Lunches take place in Seelye 207 from noon-1 p.m. As always, lunch is provided for the first 20 attendees. All are welcome!

Spring 2015-For spring, the lunches will take place on Fridays, 12:00-1:00 in Seelye 207. The topic descriptions will be listed here as they become available.

Friday, February 27- "And the Winner is.......Judging the 2014 National Book Awards." Professor Michael Gorra will talk about his experience as a judge for the NBA, describing what it's like to get 400 new novels in the mail, and showing how the winner (Phil Klay's Redeployment) was chosen.

Friday, March 27- We'll feature readings by four of our advanced creative writers—the poets Elli Palmer and Jamie Samdahl (who work with Joan Larkin), and the fiction writers Kyle Kaplan (who works with Emily Barton) and Olivia Parks (who works with Sheree Thomas).