We are devoted to literature as a living tradition and a dynamic contemporary enterprise, and to writing as a way of knowing, a means of connecting, and one of the most powerful inventions in human history. As an English major, you will gain insight into the complexities of human experience, appreciation of our cultural heritages, openness to different ways of thinking and feeling, and understanding of how language shapes reality. You’ll also hone your abilities to think critically and to communicate your views and visions.
Every year, our New Writing Series, Maine Writing Series, and Visiting Scholar Series host 20-25 poets, fiction writers, and scholars who visit classes, meet informally with students, and give readings. Our National Poetry Foundation is internationally known for its publications and conferences on modern and postmodern poetry. All of this offers our students a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary scene, which carries over into their own creative and critical work.
Our classes are small and writing-intensive; you will get to know your peers and your professors through lively discussion of literature from Chaucer to avant-garde fiction. You’ll also develop expertise in analytical writing, creative writing, or professional writing. Many English faculty and students participate in the Honors College, and top students train to work as tutors in our nationally recognized Writing Center.
The M.A. program emphasizes intensive work in small seminars. The curriculum combines traditional period courses with constantly changing topics courses related to faculty research interests.
Comments from our recent English majors
Printable fact sheet on the Bachelor of Arts degree in English
Emerita Professor Marie Urbanski Whittaker passed away on October 24, 2016 at the age of 94. An expert on 19th-century American literature, Marie joined the English Department at the University of Maine in the early 1970s and taught with us for more than twenty years. Her scholarship on Margaret Fuller is still influential. A first-generation feminist, she blazed a trail for many subsequent generations of women scholars and teachers. She was one of the first women faculty members in the English Department and one of the first women faculty members to become a Full Professor at the University of Maine.
Here is an article about Marie by her daughter, journalist Wanda Urbanska.
You can find her obituary in the Charlotte, N. C. News Observer.
Pictured is beloved Lecturer, Jane Morse, left, also deceased, with Marie, right.