To study literature is to engage, through the medium of the written word, with some of history’s most creative and articulate minds as they contemplate fundamental and persistent questions: What does it mean to be an individual in society? What is the purpose of art? What is the significance of human endeavor, and what are the limits of human experience? As a student in the English program you will be introduced to the literary tradition in English, a fascinating conversation spanning over a thousand years and connecting nations and peoples all across the globe. In addition, you will be trained in methods of critical reading and writing which will help you not only to comprehend, but also to grapple with, the complexity of texts and of the authors and societies that produce them. The skills acquired by students of English are directly applicable to any career that requires critical thinking and analysis—from education to government, law to engineering, business to medicine, and beyond. Perhaps just as valuably, the study of English will provide you with models and tools for discovering and articulating your own complex perspective on art, history, society, and your relation to all three.