Welcome to English at Dickinson College
We are readers and writers who study the wide, rich variety of English-language texts—from an epic by John Milton to a sonnet by Gwendolyn Brooks; from a novel by Jane Austen to a graphic narrative by Art Spiegelman; from a 16th-century tragedy by Shakespeare to a 21st-century film by Terrence Malick.
We work to analyze these texts through multiple lenses: historical, cultural, biographical, linguistic, theoretical, psychological and political. This work sharpens our skills as independent, critical thinkers and articulate, cogent writers, as we strive to explain our own ideas clearly and understand others' ideas well. This work supports creativity and reason as mutually nurturing habits of mind.
The skills we practice help our graduates to flourish in a variety of professions and vocations. These values we hold mark our community from first-year introductory courses to senior-year thesis workshops. Inside and outside of the classroom, in courses, readings, publications and special events, we nourish our view of literature as an ever-growing, ever-changing and ever-challenging tradition.
Engaging and extending this tradition will help us to live thoughtful, examined and creative lives. Long after the last paper is written and course credit recorded, reading and writing continue to give us the imaginative space Thoreau found at Walden—the space where, in his words, he learned how "to live deliberately."