English

Our department seeks to provide outstanding instruction in the study of literature and in the writing of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Graduates achieve an understanding of a variety of classic and contemporary texts and are able to communicate with clarity, write with authority, and analyze and evaluate ideas critically.

The department features a distinguished and award-winning teaching faculty who are authors, short-story fiction writers, and poets. Central to the English department curriculum is the creation of an atmosphere of open inquiry, where students and faculty can work together toward an appreciation of literature and writing. We offer courses in a variety of subject areas—from traditional American and British literature surveys to more specialized topics like Iranian women writers, detective fiction, Irish Literature, French New Wave Cinema, and more.

We offer our students the opportunity to work on a senior thesis project—whether creative or analytical—and we encourage our students to pursue internships on- and off-campus. Such experience has helped our English majors to seek professions in several fields, including journalism, marketing, technical writing, education, law, and administration.

  • Faculty

    Dr. Ashley Lawson, Associate Professor, Department Chair
    Areas of Instruction: American literature, gender studies, gothic literature, composition
    Email: lawson_a@wvwc.edu
    Research: Her research and teaching center on modern American literature and women writers of the twentieth century, a focus she developed while obtaining her MA from the University of Rochester and her PhD from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She specializes in the study of women writers in creative partnerships and early 20th century periodical studies, and she has published essays on Zelda Fitzgerald, Dawn Powell, and Shirley Jackson in scholarly book collections and journals such as The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies and The Fitzgerald Review.

    Dr. Lynn Linder, Associate Professor, Director of the First Year Experience Program
    Areas of Instruction: British literature, gender studies, literary theory, composition
    Email: linder_l@wvwc.edu
    Phone: 304-473-8805
    Research: She has published scholarly articles on nineteenth-century British literature, life-writing, and gothic fiction. Her current book project, Gothic Traces, Sensational Selves: The Diary and Victorian Fiction, brings together her research interests in the English novel, gothic literature, and life writing.

    Selected Publications:

    • “Reading Victorian Diaries: Sensational and Gothic Re-Creations,” Life Writing and the Nineteenth-Century Market, Ed. Sean Grass, Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming Fall 2022.
    • “Co-Constructed Selves: Nineteenth-Century Collaborative Life Writing: An Introduction.” Forum for Modern Language Studies 52.2 (April 2016): 121-129.
    • “Dual-ing Diaries, Intersecting Identities: Victorian Subjectivity and Dinah Mulock Craik’s A Life for a Life.” Victorians Institute Journal 39 (2011): 203-226.

    Devon McNamara, Professor
    Areas of Instruction: Shakespeare, Irish literature, creative writing, humanities
    Email: mcnamara@wvwc.edu
    Phone: 304-473-8243
    Research: Her poems, essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in a number of publications, including The Christian Science Monitor. She leads cultural tours of Ireland and East Central Europe for Wesleyan students.

    Robert Stevens, Associate Professor
    Email: stevens.r@wvwc.edu
    Bio: Robert won the Mary McCarthy Prize in 2017 and is the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Under the name Robert Yune, he has published two books, Eighty Days of Sunlight (Thought Catalog/Prospecta Press) and Impossible Children (Sarabande Books).

    Publication highlights:

    • Eighty Days of Sunlight (Thought Catalog/Prospecta Press)
    • Impossible Children (Sarabande Books).

    Selected publications (fiction):

    • “Year One” published in Pleiades, January 2020
    • “Cottontails” published in The Colorado Review, Spring 2013 issue
    • “Solitude City” published in The Kenyon Review,  Spring 2011 issue

    Selected publications (nonfiction)

    • “Time Capsule: Pittsburgh, 2005” anthologized in the Pittsburgh Anthology (Rust Belt Chic Press), 2015
    • “Snow Globes, Ghost Barrels, and Deep Breaths: Some Notes on Korea” published in Necessary Fiction, 2020
    • “Onomatopoeia” published in The Normal School, 2020

    Doug Van Gundy, Associate Professor, Director of Low-Residency MFA Writing Program
    Areas of Instruction: creative writing, Appalachian literature, humanities
    Email: vangundy_d@wvwc.edu
    Phone: 304-473-8523
    Bio:He holds an MFA in poetry from Goddard College and has taught at Wesleyan since 2008.  In his spare time he plays in the old-time string band Born Old and enjoys hiking, cycling and sewing.

    Doug’s poems, essays and reviews have appeared in many national and international publications, including Poetry, The Guardian, and The Oxford American. He is co-editor of the anthology Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Contemporary Writing from West Virginia and the author of a collection of poems, A Life Above Water and a new chapbook, Pictures & Poems, a collaboration with the photographer Matt Eich.

  • Majors
    • English – (Literature Track) – B.A.
      • Students in the literature track will be able to apply critical terminology and literary theory.
      • Students will demonstrate knowledge of major writers from major periods in American and British literary history.
      • Students will be able to analyze literature effectively.
      • Students will be able to write well.
      • Students will be able to gain admission to graduate school or law school.
    • English (Writing Track) - B.A.
      • Students will be able to write quality creative poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and/or drama.
      • Students will demonstrate knowledge of craft and technique through critiquing their own work and that of other writers.
    • English (General Track) - B.A.
    • Teaching Concentration – in collaboration with Education – B.A.
  • Minors
    • English

      Students will: 

      • Students in the literature track will be able to apply critical terminology and literary theory.
      • Students will demonstrate knowledge of major writers from major periods in American and British literary history.
      • Students will be able to analyze literature effectively.
      • Students will be able to write well.
      • Students will be able to gain admission to graduate school or law school.
    • Writing
      • Students will be able to write quality creative poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and/or drama.
      • Students will demonstrate knowledge of craft and technique through critiquing their own work and that of other writers.