Featured Content Slideshow

Rabb building

The English PhD is dead, long live the English PhD

Professor David Sherman on changes the department is making to the English PhD program to prepare graduates for both academic and non-academic careers.

Rocket Fantastic book cover - night sky

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Feb. 7

Join us for a reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, author of Rocket Fantastic, winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Tuesday, 2/7, 5:30 pm, Harlan Chapel.

a lion

'If A Lion Could Talk': Knowing Animals, Knowing Ourselves

“If a lion could talk, we wouldn’t be able to understand it,” Wittgenstein famously remarked. The 2023 Brandeis English Graduate Conference on March 31 will ask, why not? Our keynote speaker will be Professor Kari Weil of Wesleyan.

Targoff in Rwanda

Ramie Targoff Brings Shakespeare to Rwanda

Jehuda Reinharz Professor in the Humanities Ramie Targoff found herself in an unexpected location last fall - across the world, teaching William Shakespeare to medical students in Rwanda at the University of Global Health Equity.

Immerse Yourself in Literature and Culture

Studying English can help you perfect your understanding of a language you already use and enhance your appreciation for cultures you inhabit and/or encounter. The Brandeis Department of English trains students not only in skills for the present but also in deep knowledge of the past. 

We teach and study poetry and prose, as well as journalism, film, television and new media, and place these texts in historical and geographic context.

We study the past because literary works shape themselves as a tradition in which dialogue, disruption, revision and influence occur over time; and because, for many of us, context is integral to comprehending the particular novel, poem or essay under study. Extension over the globe complements immersion in the past. Wherever people rely on English — wherever some version of the tongue is spoken and written — we consider it our mission to study the literature and culture in which and to which it is put to use. 

Literary Genres

We teach a wide variety of genres within literature in English. The main rubrics might be poetry, prose, drama and media, under which a vast array of overlapping and heterogeneous subcategories will fall. These will put the kinds of qualities that we study to different use, depending on whether they are fictional or not, political or not, persuasive or expressive, public or private, philosophical or historical, religious or secular. The discrimination and analysis of these qualities and categories, their similarities and differences, belong to literary (and media) criticism, and we therefore teach the practice of criticism, but we do so by also teaching its theory, its history, and its philosophy. None of these categories is hard and fast in practice, and in different contexts any of them might merge with any other.

Degree Programs

The Department of English offers the following degree programs:

English Dept. Podcast Series

OpenBook: An English Dept. Podcast

In this series of podcasts, Undergraduate Department Representatives from English and Creative Writing interview professors to help students get to know the faculty better both as scholars and as people. Listen to these podcasts to hear a little bit more about your professors than you may learn in the classroom!