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Penn State is the Historic Home of American Literary Studies

Our American literature faculty continue the mission of Fred Lewis Pattee, who was the first in the nation to hold the title of Professor of American Literature.

Learn more about our area groups in American literature »

The mission of the English Department is to foster critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. We affirm the Penn State Values of integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence, and community. Accordingly, and in the words of that document, we respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse and inclusive community. Our department is dedicated to the work of free expression and deep learning. We are committed to maintaining that freedom.

We denounce hatred and intolerance in all forms. We stand in opposition to harassment based on race, gender, religion, national origin, LGBTQ+ status, immigration status, or disability. In our classrooms and in our scholarship, we explore writers, thinkers, and ideas from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and traditions, as well as across a broad historical range. Our students can count on the English Department to sustain a generative space for creativity, rhetorical and civic deliberation, scholarly inquiry, and a radical openness to new ideas.

Adventure Awaits with Penn State English

Students in our Adventure Literature courses climb, hike, or kayak their way through literary landscapes and write about their experiences.

Learn more about our Adventure Literature courses »