Engage with diverse literatures and contexts to develop your critical thinking and
writing skills as an English major at Wilkes. Concentrations in digital humanities,
literature, writing and education will prepare you for a wide range of careers.
120 (18 for minor)
Why Study English at Wilkes?
The close-knit community and co-curricular activities are hallmarks of the Wilkes
As an English major, you spend a significant amount of time reading and writing. To
thrive, you will need not only concentration, but conversation. No writer writes alone!
Our faculty share their expertise and creativity, and welcome yours in and out of
the classroom. You’ll be a vital part of the Kirby Hall community, the English Department’s
home on campus.
You can hone your writing, editorial and leadership skills outside the classroom through
co-curricular activities like:
Through an examination of American and world literature, you’ll develop critical thinking
skills that will serve you in your professional and personal life. You’ll learn to
effectively communicate your thoughts through exercises in academic, creative and
You’ll build an appreciation for and understanding of genres, including fiction, poetry,
drama and nonfiction.
In our digital humanities courses, you’ll analyze and create literary and non-literary
digital texts to enhance your experience in the remote work space.
Choose a concentration in digital humanities, literature, writing or education to best suit your education and career goals.
concentrations (digital humanities, literature, writing and education)
of English majors get full-time work in a related field with their bachelor's degree
of English majors with an education focus pass the required teacher certification
Explore Our Courses
Do you wish to...
Explore the rhetorical and linguistic strategies used by legal, government and media
Discover the roots of English drama starting in the 10th century?
Analyze the conflict of rational and irrational that permeates Gothic literature?
Our diverse course offerings provide an abundance of opportunities to study every
and all aspects of the English language.
Featured Upcoming Courses (Fall 2022)
Taught By: Dr. Helen H. Davis
Tuesday/Thursday | 2:30-3:45 p.m.
This course is designed to provide an upper-level focus on rhetorical strategies.
It will introduce students to classical rhetoric and apply principles of rhetorical
analysis to a variety of nonfictional texts, including argumentative essays, rhetorical
studies, literary criticism, magazine and newspaper articles, internet sources, speeches,
legal writing, leadership discourse and digital discourse. Students will practice
scrutinizing linguistic choices while enhancing their own writing through a variety
of modes and types. We will start with classical rhetoric and move towards a discussion
of rhetoric in the digital age, thinking about how rhetoric has shifted in the 21st
century. This course will include Digital Humanities components, and will count towards
the writing and digital humanities concentrations, or as a 300-level elective for
literature and secondary education concentrations. It also qualifies for the Women’s
and Gender Studies minor. This course is open to non-majors and is useful for anyone
who is interested in thinking critically about how to communicate effectively.
Course Learning Objectives and Goals
Learn about classical modes of argument, and apply those modes to contemporary writing.
Understand the basic progression of rhetorical thought from classical rhetoric through
contemporary rhetorical theory.
Apply the writing process of prewriting, determining purpose/audience, drafting, revising
Apply principles of rhetorical analysis to a variety of texts, including argumentative
essays, rhetorical studies, literary criticism, magazine and newspaper articles, legal
writing and leadership discourse.
Evaluate the quality of one’s own and one’s peer’s writing in terms of focus, content,
organization, style and mechanics/conventions.
Use standard MLA documentation conventions in the preparation of writing projects.
Apply technology to the writing process.
Write competently according to these criteria:
Content: originality, careful thought, clearly defined central idea or thesis, substantial
and concrete support of the central idea.
Organization: clearly ordered plan of development, consistent development of central idea and
unified and coherent paragraphs.
Expression: appropriate, clear and accurate choice of language, as well as complete, clear and
varied sentence structure.
Mechanics: consistent and correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and usage.
Documentation Formats: correct MLA citation and documentation format.
Identify and explain principles of rhetorical analysis.
Taught By: Dr. Mischelle Anthony
Though we could say that all writers write against some aspect of mainstream thought,
the Gothic style is more direct, harsh and heavy-handed. Highlighting the conflict
between rational and irrational forces in our lives, the Gothic is about subversion.
Whether it’s the Swans singing their ballad Goddamn the Sun or Mark Danielewski’s complete breakdown of fictional structure and language itself
in House Of Leaves, the Gothic emphasizes the fragility of our taxonomies and paradigms.
This course will explore why these texts encourage breakdown - to criticize? to entertain?
to shock? to encourage social justice? Gothic scholars and Gothicism’s scope are legion.
We will investigate how and why violence permeates Gothic texts. Beginning with the
Gothic novel’s origins in mid-eighteenth-century England, we will move to contemporary
violent fiction to study how structure and content relate in these texts.
The Castle of Otranto
Blindness (trans. from Portuguese)
Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves
Presentation & paper, weekly
Research essay, midterm/final
DH-Designated; Women and Gender Studies (WGS) minor eligible
Taught By: Dr. Thomas A. Hamill
Monday/Wednesday/Friday | 12-12:50 P.m.
This course offers an in-depth analysis of English drama from its earliest manifestations
within local tenth-century churches through its pervasive presence as part of seventeenth-century
London’s growing metropolis. We will focus in particular on the complex relationships
between early English modes of dramatic representation (such as religious ritual,
allegory, festival pageantry, comedy and satire) and the theatrical spaces within
and on which these modes were staged (such as churches, fields, medieval towns and
cities, scaffolds, London and, of course, theaters).
Some of the general questions we will be asking throughout the semester will include:
In what ways do the physical features of a performance space (whether it’s a theater
or a field) impact theatricality and performance?
How are content (plot) and form (dramatic representation) interrelated with the physical
context of a performance (an enclosed theater, a church altar, a city street)?
What happens when actors perform the roles of God and Jesus, and does the fact that
they do so in front of drunken crowds during a holiday festival change the situation?
How might costumes and props be considered part of a play?
What happens when men dress as women to perform female roles?
What happens when everyday citizens become actors?
As we address these and many other questions about space, drama, and performance,
we will draw heavily on our own spatial environs, namely the campus of Wilkes University.
In addition to reading plays and discussing them in class, we will perform them (individual
scenes and entire plays) throughout campus: in and around Kirby and Weckesser Halls,
on the steps of Farley Library, on the banks of the Susquehanna, on the campus mall,
in and around Dorothy Darte Center, and in classrooms. Along with these performance
elements, the course will devote extensive attention to the economic, social, religious
and political contexts of the period and for the history of drama and the stage. We
will consider also the historical and editorial processes by which plays written and
performed in a medieval town 800 years ago - or in London’s burgeoning metropolis
400 years ago - make it to the printed pages of our textbooks.
Students need not have any theatrical training or experience to excel in this course.
Students from both theatrical and non-theatrical backgrounds are encouraged to enroll.
If you’re pondering a career as an attorney, consider pursuing an English major. A
BA in English will give you a solid foundation of reading comprehension, compelling
writing and analytical thinking.
Through Wilkes’ pre-law program, you’ll work with a pre-law advisor in addition to
your advisor in the English department. The pre-law program provides guidance on law
school preparation and admission, as well as access to guest speakers and law school
Wilkes English majors consistently earn some of the highest scores on the Law School
Admission Test (LSAT) as well as admission and full scholarships to highly ranked