Faculty & Staff
Course Offerings
Major & Minor
Department Liaisons
Creative Writing
Study Abroad
Prizes & Awards
News & Events
Contact Us

Friday quote

Hello, followers, and welcome to the final day of our academic year! In honor of the impending vacation, our quote of the week comes from the department at large:

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

We wish you a summer full of leisure and literature. Enjoy!

We regret to share the sad news that Nora Crow, Professor Emerita of English Language and Literature has passed away. Professor Crow was a member of the English Department from 1971 until her retirement in 2015.

NORTHAMPTON - Nora F. Crow died Friday, May 13, 2016, at her home in Northampton. She had continued, despite chronic pain, to teach courses in essay-writing, satire and the literature of the 18th century at Smith College until the summer of 2015. She was a fighter, who never backed down from her beliefs. She was smart, intelligent, witty, and a nit-picky grammarian.

Nora received her bachelor's degree in English and classics from Stanford University and a doctorate in English from Harvard, arriving at Smith in 1971, where she taught for 45 years.

Her book, The Poet Swift, demonstrated how Swift could write poems full of feeling without falling into sentimentality, and many of her subsequent essays developed these insights, especially as they bore on Swift and women. Her reviews in Swift Studies and The Scriblerian were widely applauded among the 18th-centurists. She was a precise and gifted prose stylist and both colleagues and students have benefited from her sense of the mot juste. Her classes were known for rigor and laughter. She would have her students write parodies of particular satirists, a way of knowing more intimate and playful than thematic analysis. Her course, "Writing New Yorker Style," focused on the craft of writing, and many of her students became lifelong friends. As a scholar of the Gothic and an aficionado of humor, she would have greatly appreciated the irony of dying on Friday the 13th.

Nora F. Crow is survived by her beloved daughter Margaret; her brothers Steven and Tom; her sister Susan; and her four nieces.

The funeral will be held Thursday, May 26, at 10 a.m. at the Bridge Street Cemetery. There will also be a memorial held at Helen Hills Chapel in September. There are no calling hours. The Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton has been entrusted with arrangements.

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."