English Department

About the program

Writers engage the mind and the heart in search of answers to some of life’s toughest questions. Who am I, and what shaped me? How should I live my life? What gives life meaning? What is love? What is justice? What is evil? What is wrong with society — and can it be changed? Like painting, photography, sculpture, music, dance, and philosophy, literature confronts and expresses the most fundamental quandary of all: what it means to be human.

At Union, you will study the way authors have wrestled with the human condition along a wide historical and cultural spectrum: from Chaucer to Keats to W.E.B DuBois, from Charlotte Brontë to Catherine Sedgwick to Maxine Hong Kingston. Explore other cultures in “Discourses on the Vietnam War” or “Irish Literature and Sexual Identity.” Delve into the relationship between culture and literature in “Literature and Drugs,” “Humanities: The Origins,” or a seminar on the Beatles. Creative writing workshops in poetry, fiction and screenwriting offer you the opportunity to make your own claims about what it means to be human.

As you argue with your peers and professors, you sharpen your analytical eye. As you write about literary texts, you hone your argumentative and writing skills. And time and again, as you navigate an author’s literary world, you develop crucial qualities you need to confront the human condition for yourself: critical thinking and compassion.