Welcome to the Department of English
The English department strives to convey the pleasures and challenges of the ongoing process of literature’s creation and interpretation. We offer courses in a broad range of literary traditions spanning the long history and present multiplicity of writing in English. Though English is always at or near the top of the list of Grinnell’s most popular majors, every English class consists of a small learning community. None of our courses has an enrollment cap higher than 25; introductory courses are limited to 20 and seminars to 15. As they study the history and conventions of literature in English, Grinnell’s students also engage the most current practices of creative and critical writing. They meet practicing critics among our faculty and through departmental lectures, including the Connelly Lectures in English. We encourage students to take part in today’s literary world through creative writing courses and short courses, frequent readings by creative writers, and the student-edited Grinnell Review. The department also has strong connections to the Grinnell-in-London program where students enjoy the latest offerings of the London stage. When they graduate, Grinnell’s English majors take with them not only the skills of reading, writing and research that the major develops but also an awareness of the pleasures of reading and writing literary works in the company of curious, challenging, and supportive mentors and peers. As varied as our course offerings are, their underlying purpose remains the same: to enhance the enjoyment of literature by developing ways of imaginatively understanding it.
The current chair of the English department is Steve Andrews.