English Literature

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.

  • Faculty

    Doug Van Gundy, Associate Professor

    Areas of Instruction: creative writing, Appalachian literature, humanities

    email: vangundy_d@wvwc.edu

    phone: 8523

    research: His first book of poetry, A Life Above Water, was published in 2007, and his poems and essays have appeared in The Oxford American, Ecotone, and The Fretboard Journal. He is currently Director of the Honors Program.

     

    Ashley Lawson, Associate Professor

    areas of instruction: gender studies, literature, composition

    email: lawson_a@wvwc.edu

    research: She is currently completing a doctorate from the University of Nebraska. Her research interests include women’s modernism, twentieth century American literature, and women’s studies.

     

    Devon McNamara, Professor

    areas of instruction: Shakespeare, Irish literature, creative writing, humanities

    email: mcnamara@wvwc.edu

    phone: 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.

     

    Richard Schmitt, Associate Professor

    areas of instruction: creative writing, short fiction, composition

    email: schmitt@wvwc.edu

    phone: 8853

    research: Author of the acclaimed novel The Aerialist, he has published stories in a number of literary magazines. His work was included in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

     

    Jessie van Eerden, Director of the M.F.A., Assistant Professor

    Areas of Instruction: creative writing, composition

    email: vaneerden@wvwc.edu

    phone: 8329

    website: http://jessievaneerden.com

    research: She is the author of the novel Glorybound (WordFarm, 2012). Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The Oxford American, River Teeth, Bellingham Review and other publications, and her prose has been included in Best American Spiritual Writing and Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature. Van Eerden is also the director of Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.

     

    Lynn Linder, Assistant Professor

    Areas of Instruction: British literature, gender studies, literary theory, composition

    email: linder_l@wvwc.edu

    phone: 8805

    research: She has published scholarly articles on nineteenth-century British literature and Irish 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.

     

  • Majors
    • English – Writing or Literature Tracks – 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.
    • 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.