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English and Creative Writing

The goals of the English Department for students engaged in mastering the arts of creative writing and the study of literary texts are to develop a sophisticated understanding of the role literature plays in human experience, both historically and in contemporary life; to strengthen and refine skills in literary analysis and interpretation; and to become compelling, elegant writers.

One single word can't begin to capture the possibilities offered by English study at Hamilton. English is not so much a subject as an ensemble of interrelated disciplines. It explores the cultural place and vitality of language. It considers the artistic pleasure and social role of literature. It surveys the historical sweep of prose, poetry, theatre and film in their many forms. And it illuminates the creative spark at the very center of all meaningful human activity. 

The many dimensions of English study mean that it has something to offer nearly everyone. Majors can work toward specialized research in a particular era, genre or critical approach. Minors can gain a broad background in sophisticated reading and analysis. The creative writing program allows students to develop their own talents in prose or poetry. And students in other fields can choose from a variety of courses that offer a grounding in valuable reading and writing skills.

The English Department at Hamilton offers two academic tracks, English and creative writing. Students may major or minor in either.

The English concentration begins with a small, interactive, writing-intensive course that focuses on the ways in which novels, plays, poems and short stories differ as forms of literature. Students may then choose from an array of courses devoted to particular authors, historical periods and critical themes. In addition to courses in the major figures and periods of English and American literature, the Hamilton program offers courses that focus on the rich diversity of African, African-American, Caribbean, Native American and postcolonial writing.

The creative writing concentration balances literary study with workshops in which students draft their own imaginative works of poetry and prose.

At each stage of the curriculum, the emphasis at Hamilton is on small classes, the intensive exchange and testing of ideas, and the development of superior reading and writing skills.

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