English at Brown for First-Year Students

The English Department offers several pathways that incoming students might explore to deepen and strengthen their ability to think and write about literature. All of the introductory-level courses in English (the ENGL 0100s through the ENGL 0900s) are designed with first- and second-year students in mind.

Our offerings span a wide range of topics, and they will bring you opportunities to think more deeply and to write more persuasively about literary works that are already exciting to you as well as those that you find intriguing and want to know more about. They may well get you to think about literature, and perhaps even the world, in new and transformative ways.

There are two categories of English courses that you may find particularly useful in your first year at Brown: the How Literature Matters courses (the ENGL 0100s) and the first-year seminars (the ENGL 0150s).

  • How Literature Matters (ENGL 0100) is the core course for the  English concentration. These are open-enrollment courses that will focus on developing your ability to produce fine-tuned analyses of literary language, form and genre and also to grapple with the larger questions of how literature matters and how we might best understand and write about it.
  • The first-year seminars (ENGL 0150) have been specifically devised for incoming students; enrollment is capped at 20 and restricted to first-year students. Seminar faculty often serve as informal mentors for their students long after the class has ended.

You might also consider taking one of our Nonfiction writing courses. These are part of the Nonfiction track, which is a popular option for English concentrators that enables them to focus on developing their writings skill in such genres as the academic essay, journalism, and creative nonfiction. Nonfiction writing courses suitable for first-year students are found at the introductory (ENGL 0900 and 0930) and intermediate levels (ENGL 1030 and 1050). All 1000-level nonfiction writing courses can be used as electives for the concentration in English (although only two can count toward the requirements for the regular concentration and three for the Nonfiction track).

The numbering system does not necessarily indicate increasing difficulty, and you are invited to explore all of these courses.

A brief listing of the titles of first-year English courses is found below and descriptions of all our courses can be found here.


* indicates new

ENGL 0100 How Literature Matters

  • ENGL0100A, How To Read A Poem (Rabb) -- CANCELLED 10/24/17
  • ENGL0100F, Devils, Demons, and Do Gooders (Egan)
  • ENGL0100M, Writing War (Reichman)
  • ENGL0100N, City Novels (Katz) 

ENGL 0150 First-Year Seminars

  • ENGL0150E, Love and Friendship (Kuzner)
  • ENGL0150X, Claims of Fiction (George) 

 Other Below-1000 Level Courses

  • ENGL0200X, Unrealism: Science Fiction and Speculative Literature (Cunniff)
  • ENGL0200Y, Graphic Memories: Form and Representation in the Contemporary Graphic Novel (Grandy)
  • ENGL0200Z, Who Are You to Judge? Modernist Fiction and Judgment (Krowiak)
  • ENGL0201A, Discourse/Intercourse: Recognizing Desire in Novels and Film (Ramamurthy)
  • ENGL0201B, Wrong Girls: Unwelcome, Unnerving and Undesirable Genders (Rowe)
  • ENGL0310A, Shakespeare (Kuzner)
  • ENGL0511B, Nineteenth-Century British Novel (Parker)
  • ENGL0710Q, American Literature in the Era of Segregation (Murray) 
  • ENGL1310H, Origins of American Literature (Egan)
  • ENGL1311L, From Mead-Hall to Mordor: The Celtic and Germanic Roots of Tolkien's Fiction (Jacobs)
  • ENGL1361K, Seminar in Old English Language II (Jacobs)
  • ENGL1510A, Jane Austen and Her Predecessors (Rabb)
  • ENGL1511Y, Emily Dickinson and the Theory of Lyric Form (Burrows)
  • ENGL1710I, Harlem Renaissance: The Politics of Culture (Murray)
  • ENGL1710J, Modern African Literature (George)
  • ENGL1710L, Modernism and Everyday Life (Katz) 


ENGL0900 (formerly 0110) Critical Reading and Writing I:  The Academic Essay

  • ENGL0900 S01, (section reserved for first-year students), (Ward)
  • ENGL0900 S02, (Ward)
  • ENGL0900 S03, (Madani) 

ENGL0930 (formerly 0180) Introduction to Creative Nonfiction 

  • ENGL0930 S01, (Golaski)
  • ENGL0930 S02, (Golaski)
  • ENGL0930 S03, (section reserved for first-year students), (Schapira)
  • ENGL0930 S04, (section reserved for first-year AND sophomore students), (Hardy)
  • ENGL0930 S05, (section reserved for first-year AND sophomore students), (Rush)
  • ENGL0930 S06, (Rush) 

ENGL1030 (formerly 0130) Intermediate Critical Reading and Writing II:  The Research Essay

  • ENGL1030A, The Thoughtful Generalist (ONLINE), (Taylor)
  • ENGL1030C, Writing Science (DeBoer-Langworthy) 

ENGL1050 Intermediate

  • ENGL1050A, Narrative (Hardy)
    ENGL1050H, Journalistic Writing (section reserved for first-year AND sophomore students), (Mooney)
    ENGL1050N, Writing for Today's Electronic Media (Readey) 


  • ENGL1160F, Reporting Crime and Justice (Breton)
  • ENGL1180B, Digital Nonfiction (Stewart)
  • ENGL1180C, Advanced Creative Nonfiction: Writing with Food (DeBoer-Langworthy)
  • ENGL1180H, Satire and Humor Writing (Readey)
  • ENGL1180K, The Art of Literary Nonfiction (Imbriglio)
  • ENGL1190S, Poetics of Narrative (Stanley)
  • ENGL1190V, Languages of Conscience: Slave Narratives, Prison Writing, and Abolition (Schapira)