The study of literature focuses on poetics and narrative: the worlds we create and the stories we tell, how we tell them, when, to whom, and why. Literary texts not only express individual experience, they shape it in meaningful ways. By analyzing narratives in a variety of media—in books, film, video games, events—we better understand ourselves, the people we encounter, and the society in which we live. Literary study reaps such rewards because literary texts do more than map the terrain of the world; they make legible the social and cultural codes that structure our lives.
At the English Department at WVU, students can study literature and culture in courses ranging from Renaissance literature to film noir, from African-American literature to media studies, from medieval British literature to gender theory, from antebellum American literature to postcolonial studies. Our award-winning faculty members research and publish on American, British, and Anglophone literatures, with specialties in cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and literary traditions grounded in questions of identity and affiliation.
Opportunities to engage with literature extend beyond the classroom, too. Sign up for the London Tour to study drama in England; study English Literature on the Oxford Tour; join Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and co-ordinate a read-in; exchange ideas with your peers in the Graduate Colloquium; organize a collaborative online writing project at the Center for Literary Computing; or attend a talk delivered by one of the many literary scholars of international reputation who visit our department each year.