The mission of the English Department is to develop students' ability to read literary texts in historical and critical context, and to express their conclusions in lucid writing. To that end, the goals of the Department are as follows:
1. to read in and understand the relationships among the historical periods of literary texts in British and American literature.
2. to understand the role of social privilege and marginalization in its various modes of textual expression in regards to gender, race, and/or class divisions.
3. to develop critical approaches to texts, informed by close readings, by literary history, by theoretical concerns, and by the discipline of literary study generally.
4. to develop familiarity with the tools of writing in the discipline, including writing essays as well as finding, digesting, and accurately representing secondary as well as primary sources.
The English Department introduces students to the excitement of reading and analyzing literature, from the Anglo-Saxon origins of English to the present. As a result of their analyses, students practice critical thinking skills and come to an appreciation of the art of literary expression. Students express their analyses and appreciation in their own writing, which the Department helps develop throughout the students' tenure at the College.
The Department teaches a wide variety of literature and composition courses in support of the College's General Studies programs, and its staff provides courses for Albright's American Civilization Major, Women's and Gender Studies Major, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Minor, and, in conjunction with the Art Department, Film & Video Studies Minor.
The Department offers two introductory composition courses, ENG 101, Composition; and ENG 102, Writing With Texts.
For General Studies Foundations credit, the English Department offers a variety of courses, listed as English 135, including the following topics: Ghost Stories, Literature of Fantasy, Dada and Surrealism, The Vampyre, Tragedy, Hitchcock: Film and Text, American Short Fiction, Comedy, Adolescent Protagonists, Modern American Poetry, Folklore and Fairy Tales. ENG 380, Modern American Women Poets, may also be taken for Foundations credit. Other topics and courses may be added to the list.
For General Studies Connections credit, the English Department offers a variety of courses, listed as English 235, including the following topics: Utopian Literature, Novel Englishwomen, Black Women Writers, Latin American Poetry, African Autobiography, Irish Literature, Afro-Caribbean Literature, Shakespeare and Company, Literature of War, Hip-hop, Mean Girls. Selected courses listed for majors are also available for Connections credit, including the following courses: ENG 204, Survey of American Literature; ENG 210, African-American Literature; ENG 356, Milton and the Seventeenth Century. Other topics and courses may be added to the list.
For General Studies Global Connections credit, the English Department offers ENG 234, Adolescent Literature.
Classroom instruction in creative writing is supplemented by opportunities to edit and write for AGON, Albright College's literary magazine. The English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, organizes literary and social events throughout the academic year.
The department's core offerings in literature include surveys of all periods of English and American literature, selected readings in world and non-western literature and more intensive study of major writers, periods, genres, and critical theories.