The Cornell Literatures in English Department retains the pluralistic ideals of the university’s founders and continues to respond to and embody a constantly evolving discipline. Within the department, ongoing debates about the role of critical theory or cultural studies, the status of popular culture, the relevance of film studies and hip hop, or the definition of the words “English” and “literature” themselves have led to new understandings of the discipline, as well as a range of textual productivity, from producing critical editions to writing poetry.
Outside the department, the growth of interdisciplinary work has led to a range of connections across the humanities at Cornell, from comparative literature to medieval studies, from Asian-American Studies to feminist, gender and sexuality studies, with English faculty maintaining affiliations in all of these disciplines.
Along with teaching more than a third of the Freshman Writing Seminars offered by Cornell’s Knight Institute of Writing in the Disciplines, the Literatures in English Department’s nourishing of this wide range of scholarly and creative writing has maintained the department’s central importance in the humanities at Cornell and world-wide.
Literatures in English Events
Literatures in English News
Novelist Victor LaValle ’94, BA ’95, has recently expanded his eerie narrative voice into Marvel Comics—and Apple TVRead More
Alumna perspective: "As a student, I never spent much time downtown—but in my 20s, vacationing in the Finger Lakes proved unexpectedly meaningful."Read More
From the clock tower to Risley and beyond, Grace Elmore ’25 finds inspiration in Cornell’s eclectic architectural stylesRead More
Pretaa, inspired by the Latin meaning ‘to be ready,’ draws upon Madon's Cornell English degree, his Wharton MBA, his military training and his technical expertise.Read More
McClane remembers the photograph that drew him to Cornell, and how the University has changed since his first day in 1969.Read More
"If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem."
— M.H. Abrams, Class of 1916 Professor Emeritus