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


What is the purpose of a novel? How satisfactory are the meanings that literary critics assign to novels? How has the novel changed? What does the novel share with cinema, and what does that mean for thought and literary criticism in the contemporary period? Iqra S. Cheema talks with Timothy Bewes about these and other questions as addressed in his book Free Indirect.
Orion Magazine

First Passage

In this essay featured in Orion Magazine, Elizabeth Rush travels to Antarctica as she considers motherhood in an age of glacial loss.
SEISMA Magazine


Interview with Paul Armstrong in June 2022 about his work on literature and neuroscience in Seisma, a London-based magazine that focuses on the relations between art and science. The discussion focuses on Paul's books How Literature Plays with the Brain: The Neuroscience of Reading and Art (2013) and Stories and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Narrative (2020), and examines the differences between taxonomic and phenomenological literary theories as well as types of cognition such as perception and selfhood as they relate to reading and literature. How might a neuro-phenomenological approach to literary studies facilitate our understanding of the interrelation between humans and literature?

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.