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 19 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

  • ENGL0100C, Altered States (Rambuss)

ENGL 0150 First-Year Seminars

  • ENGL0150C, The Medieval King Arthur (Bryan)
  • ENGL0150F, Hawthorne and James (Burrows)
  • ENGL0150S, The Roaring Twenties (Katz)
  • ENGL0150X, The Claims of Fiction (George)
  • ENGL0150Z, Hamlet/Post-Hamlet (Newman)

 Other Below-1000 Level Courses

  • ENGL0200A, Thinking in Dark Times: Crisis and the Literary Imagination (Marsh) CANCELLED
  • ENGL0200B, The Animal in Modernity and Postmodernity (Smith) CANCELLED
  • ENGL0310A, Shakespeare (Foley)
  • ENGL0310F, Prose Sagas of the Medieval North (Jacobs)
  • ENGL0710L, Ishiguro, Amongst Others (Bewes)
  • ENGL0710N, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Lost Generation (Burrows)
  • ENGL0710V, Death and Dying in Black Literature (Quashie)

  • ENGL1310V, Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (Bryan)
  • ENGL1361F, Spenser and Shakespeare (Foley)
  • ENGL1511C, Lincoln, Whitman, and the Civil War (Gould)
  • ENGL1511F, Wordsworth and Coleridge: Lyrical Ballads (Khalip)
  • ENGL1511K, Gothic Novels and Romantic Poems (Redfield)
  • ENGL1511P, Realism, Modernism, Postmodernism: The American Novel and its Traditions (Nabers)
  • ENGL1560B, Melville (Gould)
  • ENGL1711D, Reading New York (Katz)
  • ENGL1711H, Lyric Concepts: Expression and Experiment in Modern and Contemporary Poetry (Smailbegovic)
  • ENGL1711J, Art for an Undivided Earth: Transnational Approaches to Indigenous Literatures and Arts (Warburton)
  • ENGL1711L, Contemporary Black Women's Literature (Abdur-Rahman) *
  • ENGL1760Y, Toni Morrison (Quashie)
  • ENGL1900D, Literature and Politics (Keach)
  • ENGL1900K, Reading Sex (Khalip)
  • ENGL1901G, Tiny Politics: Non-Monumental Ecologies and Poetic Forms of Attention (Smailbegovic)


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

  • ENGL0900 S01, (section reserved for first-year students) (DeBoer-Langworthy)
  • ENGL0900 S02, (section reserved for first-year students) (Schapira)
  • ENGL0900 S03, (section reserved for first-year students) (Stanley)
  • ENGL0900 S04, (section reserved for first-year students) (Ward)
  • ENGL0900 S05, (section reserved for first-year students) (Simon)
  • ENGL0900 S06, (Kim)
  • ENGL0900 S07, (Pisanelli)
  • ENGL0900 S08, (Rutkowska)
  • ENGL0900 S09, (Ben-Meir)
  • ENGL0900 S10, (Chowdhury)
  • ENGL0900 S11, (Rasch)

ENGL0930 (formerly 0180) Introduction to Creative Nonfiction 

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

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

  • ENGL1030A, The Thoughtful Generalist (ONLINE) (Taylor)
  • ENGL1030D, Myth + Modern Essay (Golaski)
  • ENGL1030F, The Artist in the Archives (Stewart)

ENGL1050 Intermediate

  • ENGL1050B, True Stories (Schapira)
  • ENGL1050D, Lifewriting (DeBoer-Langworthy)
  • ENGL1050G S01, Journalistic Writing (section reserved for first-year AND sophomore students) (Butterfield)
  • ENGL1050G S02, Journalistic Writing (Butterfield)
  • ENGL1050J, Multimedia Nonfiction (Stewart)


  • ENGL1160L, In Order to Write About the Twenty-First-Century City, We First Have to Imagine It (Dasgupta) *
  • ENGL1180P, Further Adventures in Creative Nonfiction (Hardy)
  • ENGL1190M S01, The Theory and Practice of Writing:  Writing Fellows Program (Kastner)
  • ENGL1190M S02, The Theory and Practice of Writing:  Writing Fellows Program (Jackson)
  • ENGL1190U, Nature Writing (Ward)