English Department

In Canterbury's English classes, students explore and exchange ideas while developing critical thinking, communication, and writing skills they will need to thrive in college and beyond. Third and Fourth Formers read the seminal works of the literary canon, as well as significant recent and contemporary literature.

As part of the Writing Program, students write personal narratives and responses to literature. Fifth Formers develop their analytical writing skills while considering the major themes of American Literature. Sixth Formers choose from a variety of elective courses including studies of Shakespeare, Romanticism, and Post-Industrial Literature, among others.

The Academic Guide gives full descriptions of elective courses. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Form students participate in the Nelson Hume Speech Contest, and each fall students in all Forms read a Shakespeare play prior to the Canterbury student production of that play. English faculty are available in the Writing Center to assist students as they refine essays or papers for English or other courses.


  • Encounter people around the globe--a Bengali immigrant, a Vietnamese soldier, a Victorian orphan--in every English class.
  • Visit societies of the past--the roaring 1920s, India on the eve of independence, the raucous Elizabethan stage, the Boston Puritan era--in every English class.
  • Discover timeless themes of family and social responsibility while reading Antigone in English IV.


  • Direct the class to a revealing moment in Jane Eyre during a round table discussion in your Female Hero in Literature and Film elective.
  • Engage in a debate on narrator reliability and bias in your AP Literature and Composition class.
  • Forge a connection between the film Breakfast at Tiffany's and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in your American Literature class.