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 new core course for the recently revised 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

  • ENGL0100D, Matters of Romance, (Bryan)
  • ENGL0100G, Literature of Identity, (Khalip) 

ENGL 0150 First-Year Seminars

  • ENGL0150X, The Claims of Fiction, (George)
  • ENGL0150Y, Brontës and Brontëism, (Parker) 

 Other Below-1000 Level Courses

  • ENGL0200M, A Brief History of Technophobia, (Bryne)
  • ENGL0200N, Obscenity, (Casey)
  • ENGL0200Q, Opting Out: Social Withdrawal and the Reclusive Life, (Gastiger)
  • ENGL0200T, To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, (Morgan)
  • ENGL0200U, Avengers, Vigilantes and Detectives: Revenge in Fiction, (Yates)
  • ENGL0310A, Introduction to Shakespeare, (Kuzner)
  • ENGL0511C, (ONLINE) Fantastic Places, Unhuman Humans, (Egan)
  • ENGL0700P, Reading Practices: An Introduction to Literary Theory, (Rooney)
  • ENGL0700S, American Literature and Political Radicalism, (Murray)
  • ENGL0700T, American Literature and the Cold War, (Nabers)
  • ENGL0710T, Reading New York, (Katz)

  • ENGL1311E, History of the English Language (Jacobs) * 
  • ENGL1360J, Middle English Literature, (Bryan)
  • ENGL1361D, Women's Voices in Medieval Literature (Jacobs) *
  • ENGL1361G, Tolkien and the Renaissance, (Kuzner)
  • ENGL1511W, Darwin and Other Crises of Faith: Victorian Prose, Poetry, and Fiction, (Parker)
  • ENGL1561W, On Being Bored, (Khalip)
  • ENGL1561X, Dickens, (Redfield)
  • ENGL1710J, Modern African Literature, (George)
  • ENGL1710R, Recent Experiments in American Fiction, (Bewes)
  • ENGL1711C, The Modernist Henry James, (Armstrong)
  • ENGL1711E, African American Literature After 1975, (Murray)
  • ENGL1711G, Refiguring Expression: The Feeling of Voice in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, (Smailbegovic)
  • ENGL1760G, American and British Poetry Since 1945, (Blasing), CANCELLED

  • ENGL1760I, "Terrible Beauty": Literature and the Terrorist Imaginary, (Bewes)
  • ENGL1900J, Zoopoetics, (Smailbegovic)
  • ENGL1901F, Art of Criticism, (Anderson) 


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

  • ENGL0900 S01, Lee
  • ENGL0900 S02, Heine
  • ENGL0900 S03, Fung
  • ENGL0900 S04, Ward (section reserved for first-year students)

ENGL0930 (formerly 0180) Introduction to Creative Nonfiction 

  • ENGL0930 S01, Schapira
  • ENGL0930 S02, Hardy (section reserved for first-year and sophomore students)
  • ENGL0930 S03, Golaski (section reserved for first-year students)
  • ENGL0930 S05, Stewart 

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

  • ENGL1030C Writing Science, DeBoer-Langworthy, CANCELLED
  • ENGL1030D Myth + Modern Essay, Golaski
  • ENGL1030E Testaments of War, Ward 

ENGL1050 Intermediate

  • ENGL1050A Narrative, Hardy
  • ENGL1050B True Stories, Schapira
  • ENGL1050C Creative Nonfiction: Practice/Criticism, Taylor
  • ENGL1050E Sportswriting, Readey
  • ENGL1050H Journalistic Writing, Mooney 


  • ENGL1140A The Literary Scholar, Stanley
  • ENGL1140B The Public Intellectual, Imbriglio
  • ENGL1160A Advanced Feature Writing, Breton
  • ENGL1180B Digital Nonfiction, Stewart
  • ENGL1180C Advanced Creative Nonfiction: Writing with Food, DeBoer-Langworthy, CANCELLED
  • ENGL1180G Lyricism and Lucidity, Imbriglio
  • ENGL1180R Travel Writing: Personal and Cultural Narratives, Readey
  • ENGL1190S Poetics of Narrative, Stanley