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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN

English Language & Literature

Closeup of old book spines

The Department of English Language and Literature aims to teach all students to write and speak well and to read skillfully, thoughtfully and with pleasure. We offer many courses that stress literary history, influential figures, various theoretical perspectives, linguistic developments and diverse emergent fields. We also offer students opportunities 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, from the British Isles and around the world. We want all of 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.”


Virtual Event, April 27, 7 p.m.: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Smith Alumna Edith Lewis

In her new biography, Melissa Homestead ’85 explores the creative collaboration between Willa Cather and her longtime partner, Edith Lewis 1902, including her contributions to Cather’s writing. Homestead will discuss her findings with book critic Bethanne Patrick ’85. Helen and Laura Shedd Professor of English Rick Millington will moderate the event. To learn more and register for the event, see more details on the Libraries website.

Information for First Years and Incoming Transfers, 2020-21

Welcome first-years and incoming students! Please see our helpful guide for Getting Started in English.

Writing Course Submissions for Fall 2021 Courses

The deadline to submit writing samples for English Department writing courses is Monday, April 19th. Please contact Jennifer Roberts, for more information.

English Department Prizes

The English department will accept submissions for academic prizes until Monday, April 26th. Please check our website for details on the submission procedure. If you have any further questions, please contact the department assistant, Jennifer Roberts,

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English Language & Literature
Pierce Hall
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-3302

Administrative Assistant: Jennifer Roberts

For questions regarding the English major, please contact the department chair, Ambreen Hai.