The literary text, says Jeremy Hawthorn in his book Unlocking the Text, seems like ‘a fortified medieval town – foreigners and outsiders are repelled, or allowed in only after rigorous checks, but within all is bustling life; exchange, mutual interdependence and influence are the rule.’ When you enter the English department at Bilkent, we stand ready to help you negotiate the rigorous checks and bring you into the community that shares one of the richest and most diverse literatures of the world. We shall give you the key to Shakespeare and Milton, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats and Salman Rushdie. Of course, we shall also teach you the language in the time-honoured fashion of exposing you to the best that has been written in English. Our aim is that you should become fluent in English and able to communicate with ease with those who have English as their mother tongue as well as those who are in your situation of having learnt English as a foreign language.
But having learnt the language you are only half-way. Through our courses in English literature and culture you will also learn how to reason clearly and think critically. For we who study and teach English literature are part also of a larger community, a community that shares and propounds the values embodied in humanistic studies, that is, critical thinking, ethical awareness, and an appreciation of the art of writing.
Welcome to the Department of English Language and Literature at Bilkent.