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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 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 that have now spread across 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.”

News & Announcements

Literary Lunches

The department hosts a couple of noontime literary discussions each semester. All are welcome and lunch is available for the first 20 attendees.

  • Thursday, September 12, noon–1 p.m., Poetry Center, Wright Hall: Smith alum Megan Dent will give a talk. Details to follow soon.
  • Future Literary Lunch dates coming soon.

Presentation of the Major

For anyone considering ENG as your major, please attend our Presentation of the Major event on Wednesday, October 16, noon–1 p.m. in Campus Center 103/104. Lunch will be provided!

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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, Richard Millington.