“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

The English Department engages literature in ways that are innovative while also informed by a literary tradition spanning over 1000 years. 

We offer surveys that provide a valuable foundation in literary periods; upper-division courses that range from the origins of the novel to literary theory; small seminars devoted to a single author, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Woolf, Melville, Dickinson, Blake, and Ellison; special topic courses with themes ranging from the literature of childhood to narratives of immigration; and creative writing workshops.

Our courses might analyze the dynamics of race, class, and gender in the modern British novel; explore the historical relationship between literature and ethical thought; try to trace the influence of Puritan theology on early American texts; or ask students to tackle the confines of the sestina.

Whatever the subject or approach, every class encourages critical thinking, effective writing, and the development of an active intellect through the “real-time,” collaborative give and take of class discussion and a close engagement with literary texts.

For more information on courses, see the registrar’s website.