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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.”


Information for First Years and Incoming Transfers, 2023-2024

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

The Rompod

Introducing The Rompod, a podcast done as an English Department Special Studies project. It was created by English majors Chichi Tsai '23 and Frances Baker-Tucker '23. Their podcast explores the evolution of the romance novel genre through both reader and academic perspectives. Join them as they interview romance readers and academics, investigate in the Smith archives, and attend the popular Culture Association Conference! Two episodes are live now.

New Creative Writing Application Process & Deadline

Interested in a creative writing course for the spring? There is a new process and earlier deadline to send in a submission. Please go to the creative writing page of our website for more information.

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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.