Department of English

English at Brown

Fostering an open understanding of literatures and cultures in English

The Department of English fosters the study of British, American, and Anglophone literature and culture—old and new—in ways that are both intensive and open. We offer a wide array of courses in poetry, drama, fiction, creative nonfiction, film, digital media, and theory. All of our courses emphasize the development of student skills in writing, textual analysis, and argument. You will find considerable diversity in critical approaches and methods among the department’s faculty. We encourage students in our classes likewise to forge their own new ways of understanding literature and culture. English is among the most popular concentrations at Brown, and graduates of our highly ranked Ph.D. program are widely recognized for their scholarship and teaching.

Upcoming Events


The 2023 jury—consisting of Lauren Groff (chair), Doan Bui and Sudhir Hazareesingh—wrote of the book:

“Congratulations to Katherine J. Chen for Joan, winner of the eleventh annual American Library in Paris Book Award. The book is a fierce fictional retelling of the life of Joan of Arc. Deeply researched and fully imagined, Joan manages to subvert the old, dusty narratives about the ardent virgin warrior from Domremy in Eastern France, and creates a flawed, complicated, and compelling heroine for our age.”

The winner was announced by jury member Doan Bui before an audience of Library supporters on 9 November at the George C. Marshall Center in the Hôtel de Talleyrand on the Place de la Concorde.
Cambridge University Press

Henry James and the Promise of Fiction

What is the relation between the novel and ethical thought? Henry James and the Promise of Fiction argues that the answer to this question lies not in the content of a work of fiction but in its form. Stuart Burrows explores the relationship between James's ethical vision and his densely metaphorical style, his experiments with narrative time, and his radical reimagining of perspective.
First-Year PhD student Katherine Chen's Joan: A Novel (Random House USA / Hodder & Stoughton UK), has been shortlisted for the 2023 American Library in Paris Book Award. The winner will be announced on 9 November 2023. Joan is Chen's second published novel, and it is a thrilling, feminist reimagining of the life of Joan of Arc, from her childhood until her capture.

Academic Programs

For First Year Students

The Department of English offers several pathways for incoming students to deepen and strengthen their ability to think and write about literature and culture.