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


SEISMA Magazine


Here we explore the field of Cognitive Literary Studies using two of Armstrong’s fascinating books: How Literature Plays with the Brain: The Neuroscience of Reading and Art (Armstrong, 2013) and his more recent Stories and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Narrative (Armstrong, 2020). The discussion delves into the differences between taxonomic and phenomenological literary theories as well as facets of cognition such as perception and sense of self as they relate to reading and literature. Let us consider how a neuro-phenomenological approach to literary studies can facilitate our understanding of the interrelation between humans and literature.
I have spent much of the past decade at the soggy edges of this country listening to the people whose homes and businesses flood worse and worse year after year as tides rise higher and storms become stronger. While I still haven’t gotten over the shock of hearing someone describe what it’s like to lose a home or a loved one, another story, submerged in this trauma, has started to surface.

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.