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For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.

Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Speech

Why study literature?

Stories shape how we understand ourselves and the world.

What happens in literature classes?

In small classes, students read fiction, study poetry, analyze drama, and watch film. Together, we think about the worlds we inherit and the worlds we create. Students become more analytical thinkers and stronger writers.

Who are the faculty?

Award-winning researchers, teachers, and advocates for social and environmental justice. Literature faculty members bring a love of narrative and poetry as well as exciting research interests into the classroom.

What else can I do as a literature major?

Study abroad for a semester or a year. Take English courses in Oxford, London, and Botswana. Join the English Club. Plan a reading. Create a digital humanities project. Attend talks by scholars of international reputation who visit the Department each year. Participate in the Undergraduate Literature Symposium, an opportunity to share your research state-wide.

What is the capstone course for literature majors?

In their senior year, literature majors take ENGL 496: the Senior Thesis. With faculty guidance and a supportive classroom environment, students learn how to craft a 20-25 page research essay on a literary subject of their choosing. Students have written essays on Frankenstein, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Tempest, The Grapes of Wrath, Infinite Jest, Appalachian fiction, young adult literature, slam poetry, Lady Gaga, and more!

Composition & Rhetoric
Creative Writing
Literary and Cultural Studies
Professional Writing and Editing
the WVU Writing Center

View More Events

April 21: Professional Writing and Editing Poster Display in 130 Colson Hall, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. – presentation at 4:00 p.m.

April 21: Calliope Reading, 7:30 p.m., 130 Colson Hall

April 26: English 418 Capstone Reading, 4:00 p.m.,130 Colson Hall

April 28: MFA Reading, 7:30 p.m., Rhododendrom Room, Mountainlair

April 29: Please join Beth Staley’s English 241 students for a live recording of a podcast titled “A Sensory Walk Through Early American Literature,” which will be held in room 130 Colson Hall from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

April 30: Retirement giveaway and “feast” for Ellesa High, 2:30-5:30 p.m., 130 Colson Hall

May 15: Reception for graduating seniors, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Downtown Library – Atrium/Rockefeller Gallery

July 7-10: Summer Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies

July 21-24: West Virginia Writers’ Workshop