Why Choose English Literature?

Studying English Literature opens many paths to studying people, cultures, history, traditions, and more. In English Literature, you will investigate ideas through a wide array of mediums including poems, novels, film, social media, podcasts, and more. Through this pursuit, you will gain writing, speaking, critical thinking, emotional IQ, and analytic skills highly sought after among employers in all fields.

What English Literature Will Teach You

Emulating Mark Twain’s work, the English curriculum is cosmopolitan and progressive. We expect you to be an open-minded explorer of diverse cultures and mediums. English courses stress inclusion and a place where you will investigate unfamiliar ideas, interrogate prejudices, and integrate interdisciplinary interests.

The English curriculum is also, like Twain, unapologetically modern. “As to the past, there is but one good thing about it, and that is, that it is the past – we don’t have to see it again,” he told a friend in 1876, “There is nothing in it worth pickling.”

Where English Literature Can Take You

Elmira College English majors are prepared not only for careers in education, publishing, andcommunicationsbut also to welcome unexpected challenges and excel under changing conditions.


Elmira College enjoys a proud association with literary history. Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, wrote his most famous works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in the octagonal study now located on the Elmira College campus. His father-in-law, Jervis Langdon, was one of the College’s founders and his wife, Olivia, was among our earliest students. Their niece, Ida Langdon, chaired the English Department and oversaw the transfer of the Mark Twain Study to the campus in 1952.

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