English Department

Working closely with dedicated faculty members, students in this department hone their ability to think and read critically, reason persuasively, and write eloquently. Through exploring a constantly evolving range of course offerings, English majors learn the methodologies and vocabularies appropriate to literary study; contemplate the forms and purposes of literary art in a variety of periods and cultures; and investigate the intersections between English and many other disciplines.

The English department also fosters a culture of curiosity and intellectual endeavor, as well as respect for a variety of cultures and intellectual approaches, through advising, internships and service learning, study abroad, and extracurricular programming. Students who pursue optional creative writing courses balance critical study with creative endeavor, learning the history and forms of literary art as apprentice practitioners.


  • 35-50 students per graduating class major in English or minor in Creative Writing
  • Gateway seminar, spring term study abroad opportunities, and senior capstone experiences
  • Internship opportunities at celebrated literary magazine, Shenandoah
  • 11-course major makes it easy to study abroad, double-major or complete a minor
  • Frequent readings and lectures by visiting writers and scholars
  • Compatible with pre-med or health professions preparation
  • Departmental prizes and scholarships awarded annually

Upcoming Events

Date Event
Oct 30
Shannon-Clark Lecture
Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library, 8:00 PM

Faculty Publications

Smith - Priscilla Knight Grinder: Final Affidavit

Smith, Rodney T. (English) Article, 2014 Priscilla Knight Grinder: Final Affidavit Southern Poetry Review v.52 n.1

Smith - Sweetgum and Cedar

Smith, Rodney T. (English) Article, 2014 Sweetgum and Cedar Southern Poetry Review v.52 n.1

Warren - The Road to the Spring: ...

Warren, James Perrin (English) Book, Edited, 2014 The Road to the Spring: Collected Poems of Mary Austin

Keen - Novel Readers and the Empathetic ...

Keen, Suzanne (English) Book, Chapter/Section, 2014 Novel Readers and the Empathetic Angel of our Nature p.21 -33

Wheeler - Islomaniacs

Wheeler, Lesley (English) Article, 2014 Islomaniacs Salamander v.38 p.24

News & Announcements

Mark Conner, associate provost and Ballengee Professor of English, Washington and Lee University

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou Remembered

Marc Conner, Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English and associate provost, discusses the work of the late poet Maya Angelou, her place in American literary history, and her 1999 visit to Washi...

Lesley Wheeler

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wheeler Wins Switchback Editors' Prize for Poem

Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English, added another feather to her cap: the Editors' Prize for "the most inspiring, jarring, outstanding, or just downright brilliant" subm...

Deborah Miranda, Associate Professor of English, Washington and Lee University

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Miranda's Book Wins IPPY Award

"Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir" (Heyday, 2013) by Deborah Miranda, professor of English, has won a gold medal for autobiography/memoir, in the family legacy category, in this year's Indepen...

Who signs what: a guide for signature-seekers.