“Pleasure is by no means an infallible critical guide, but it is the least fallible.”

W. H. Auden

Whether Lycoming's English majors focus on literature or creative writing, their experience in many ways reflects Auden's union of writing and pleasure, from the personal satisfaction of presenting language with provocative clarity to a broader appreciation for being part of a literary community. As students become stronger readers and writers, they begin to experience the vital relationships between writing and the educational—if not spiritual—qualities of our world.

Since our English classes average an enrollment of twenty per course, each student becomes an active presence. In addition, many participate in the English Society and our honors society, Sigma Tau Delta. We sponsor two literary journals—our student-run literary journal, The Tributary, and our national literary journal, Brilliant Corners—as well as a vibrant reading series that has featured many distinguished writers, including several winners of the Pulitzer Prize. Lycoming’s English professors have published extensively in their related fields and have received a number of national awards for teaching, scholarship, and creative writing.

Students respond warmly to our honest discussions, whether concerning a short story by Eudora Welty or a story by another student. As one recent graduate said, very much in the spirit of Auden's observation, "Everyone has a personal spotlight, presenting work to the group and commenting on each other's. In this setting, my fellow students and I have become each other's biggest fans and most careful critics."