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Mission Statement

We, the faculty of the Department of English, take as our project the critical and creative engagement with literatures in English. Our concerns include the uses of language; the pleasures of reading and writing; the aesthetic, rhetorical, and ideological functions of textuality; literary and critical theories; and literatures in translation.

In the belief that literature shapes and transforms individual lives and societies, we seek to help students to develop as careful readers, critical thinkers, and effective writers, able to question the construction of knowledge and literary canons. A sustained and intensive exploration of literatures in English prepares students to think critically and act meaningfully in interrelated areas of their lives–personal, professional, economic, social, political, ethical, and cultural. Through a diverse curriculum, we aim to foster heightened awareness of the form and content of texts, their ordinary and extraordinary uses of language, their apparent coherencies and radical instabilities, the continuities and discontinuities of literary traditions, and the many periods, cultures, and contexts in which texts emerge. We hope graduates in English leave Hofstra University careful thinkers and clear writers, engaged and thoughtful citizens, able to critique the agendas and assumptions underlying the many texts that constitute their worlds, including even this mission statement.

We offer undergraduate degrees in literature, creative writing, publishing studies and children’s and young adult literature as well as an MFA degree in creative writing. Our emphasis on rigorous analysis, scholarship, and lucid writing as well as library and online research, creative expression in various genres, and the editing and publishing of texts prepares students for a range of careers and for advanced study in a variety of fields. The enduring concerns of studies in English also effect an inward transformation that is not susceptible to measurement. The impact of our teaching is evident not only within the span of a specific course, semester, or academic program but also over the span of a lifetime.