Dr. Evan R. Davis, Chair
Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
Mission of the English Department
The Department of English aims to instruct students in reading examples of the best literature in English as well as in writing expository prose (on literary and general subjects), fiction, and verse. We try to meet these goals by teaching courses which explore genres such as poetry; literary periods such as the Romantic; the works of single authors like Shakespeare and Faulkner; and special topics such as film, nature writing, women and literature, Afro-American literature, multi-ethnic literature, post-colonial literature, and literary criticism. In these different types of courses, we encourage students both to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the literary work and to consider its relation to ethical, cultural, and spiritual issues. We intend to give English majors adequate breadth in English and American literature, hoping to ensure that those who wish to pursue advanced degrees will be prepared. We also try to help non-majors improve their ability to interpret and appreciate literature.
As part of our teaching, we want students to see us making literature an important part of our lives -- reading it because we love it, discussing it with colleagues, writing about it for peers, and generally sharing its richness. Thus through instruction and example, we hope that our students, too, will enjoy literature as an important part of their lives and will incorporate it into their thinking about the modern world and human possibility.