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.


Cornell University Press

Misrecognitions: Plotting Capital in the Victorian Novel

Misrecognitions mounts a vigorous defense of the labyrinthine plotting of Victorian novels, notorious for their implausible concluding revelations and coincidences. Critics have long decried Victorian recognition scenes—the reunions and retroactive discoveries of identity that too conveniently bring the story to a close—as regrettable contrivances. Ben Parker counters this view by showing how these recognition scenes offer a critique of the social and economic misrecognitions at work in nineteenth-century capitalism.

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.