In Grinnell’s English curriculum you will read, analyze, discuss, and enjoy American, British, Irish, and Postcolonial literature. You will do intensive writing, with the chance to produce both creative and critical works. You can study independently and travel abroad, such as on the Grinnell-in-London program, and connect with visiting authors and critics on campus.
Languages and Literatures
Discover the cultural richness of ancient Greece and Rome, and the beginnings of the liberal arts tradition. Classics at Grinnell includes not only the Greek and Latin languages, but also the history, literature, art, archaeology, mythology, and philosophy of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Study in Athens or Rome is available. Majors in classics go on to careers in many fields, including education, law, medicine, scientific research, business, and librarianship.
Want to engage deeply and knowledgeably with China and Japan? Grinnell takes you there, with a full curriculum in Chinese language and literature and two years of Japanese language and literature.
This program reflects the assumption that educated persons will wish to extend their experience of literature beyond what has been written in their native tongue and beyond what they can read in the foreign languages they have mastered. The education of any student can be enriched by exploring literature in translation. Courses in General Literary Studies make possible the discovery of a variety of illuminating relationships among works in different languages.
The Alternate Language Study Option (ALSO) program is designed for self-motivated and disciplined students who want to learn a language not taught through the regular curriculum at Grinnell. The program provides a two-semester sequence of beginning level self-instructional study in a variety of languages, including but not limited to Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Hindi, Czech, and Kiswahili. The specific languages offered depend on the number of students interested and the availability of materials and trained tutors.
The Grinnell writer dropped her forehead onto her arms in abject despair. She lay there, limp and hopeless, like a corn doll abandoned in the rain. The husks of her notebooks lay about her, fluttering idly in the Iowa wind that whistled through the partially open window. A page of one particularly kind and caring notebook draped itself across her shoulder in a reassuring way. It’s all right, sweetie, that touch seemed to say. It’ll all work out.
When Grinnell's English department brought Ralph Savarese to Iowa six years ago from Florida, he saw it as a chance to nourish a range of interests that -- to an outsider, at least -- looks not only exhaustive, but downright exhausting.
Grinnell, IA - Writers@Grinnell will open its fall semester program with a reading from novelist and essayist Natalie Bakopoulos on Thurs., Sept. 13. All readings will be in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center on the Grinnell College campus at 8 p.m. unless noted.
"We have an incredible group of writers coming this year," said Dean Bakopoulos, assistant professor of English, who is directing this year's program. "Some of the most entertaining readers and engaging teachers of writing in the country are coming to Grinnell this year. I'm excited for our students."
Natalie Bakopoulos will hold a roundtable discussion in Room 226 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center at 4:15 p.m. Bakopoulos recently released her first novel "The Green Shore," which paints a finely-etched portrait of one family, whose heartbreaking stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of the late 1960s Greek military dictatorship. She has also written essays for "Granta," "Salon," and "The New York Times" about Greece's current economic crisis. She is the sister of Dean Bakopoulos, who will join her for the roundtable discussion entitled "Sibling Rivalry: Writing About Family Without Getting Disowned."
Historian, biographer, and journalist Sam Tanenhaus, a 1977 Grinnell College graduate and visiting faculty in English, will give a presentation on Thurs., Sept. 27. Tanenhaus is the editor of "The New York Times Book Review" and the author of "The Death of Conservatism" and "Whittaker Chambers: A Biography."
On Oct. 4, author Charles Baxter, acclaimed fiction writer, critic, and one of the nation's most beloved creative writing teachers, will read from his most recent story collection, "Gryphon: New and Selected Stories," recently published by Pantheon/Random House. Baxter is also the author of a dozen other books, including the National Book Award finalist "The Feast of Love."
May-lee Chai, a writer, educator and 1989 graduate of Grinnell College, has participated in past Writers@Grinnell series and will be back on Thurs., Oct. 11 to lead a roundtable discussion on "Writing after Grinnell" at 4:15 p.m. in Room 226 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Following the roundtable, Chai will read from her new memoir "Hapa Girl." This event will be held at the college's Faulconer Gallery at 8 p.m.
On Thurs., Nov. 1, Ronald Wallace, will read from his poetry, including selections from "Long for this World" and "For a Limited Time Only." Wallace will also lead a roundtable presentation on formal poetry at 4:15 p.m. in Room 209 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. Praised as "one of our liveliest, most readable poets" by Charles Harper Webb, Wallace's trademark warmth and wit makes poetry lovers out of the form's sworn enemies.
Brothers Davy and Peter Rothbart began FOUND Magazine in 2001. The magazine spawned the 2004 bestseller "Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World," as well as two other collections in 2006 and 2009. On Sun., Nov. 11, Davy will read selections from his new essay collection "My Heart is an Idiot" and will be accompanied by musical selections composed and performed by Peter. True performers, the Rothbart brothers have sat on David Letterman's interview couch and have been featured on the radio show "This American Life."
Students of the Grinnell Review will round off the fall semester readings on Thurs., Dec. 6, with readings from the campus's literary journal, which is edited and designed entirely by Grinnell students.
The Joe Rosenfield '25 Center is located at 1115 8th Ave. on the Grinnell College campus. Faulconer Gallery is located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts at 1108 Park Street, also on the college's campus. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.