Todd H. Sammons


Office hours:
MTuWTh 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Hired as a generalist, possibly because my doctorate is in English and Humanities from Stanford University, I came to Hawaii in 1980. Since then, I have lived up to my generalist billing by teaching almost 50 different courses, including most of the courses that we offer in 16th- and 17th-century literature, most of our sophomore-level introduction to literature courses, several upper- and lower-division composition courses, and many self-designed courses, including about a dozen graduate courses. In 2017-2018, I will be teaching the undergraduate Milton class in the fall and an introduction to drama class (ENG 362) and a “Studies” class (ENG 434) on utopian and dystopian literature in the spring. In 2018-2019, I will be teaching another “Studies” class (ENG 431) in the fall on early modern drama and in the spring yet another “Studies” class (ENG 460) on series fiction and a graduate class (ENG 627B) on poetics and rhetoric to 1800. Although I am pretty firmly ensconced in literary studies, I have been adopted (co-opted?) by the department’s composition/rhetoric program, even though I am more a rhetorician than a compositionist (my dissertation, for instance, was a rhetorical analysis of the speeches in Paradise Lost; and I have taught only the graduate seminar in rhetoric). I have published in Milton Quarterly, Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Studies, Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation, and various science fiction reference works. I am interested, eventually, in publishing a book-length study of friendship in Paradise Lost. Over the years, I have helped administer the department by serving as director of composition, associate chair, acting chair, director of composition and rhetoric, director of our undergraduate program, director of our writing mentor program, and director of our first-year writing program. For four and a half years (2010-2014), I was the faculty administer of the general education office, in that job serving on a great many committees outside the English Department. For the last five years, I have been the secretary of the Mānoa chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. As president of Children's Literature Hawai‘I (CLH), I help put on the Biennial Conference on Literature and Hawai‘i's Children, co-sponsored by our department. And as a public humanities scholar, I served on the Hawaii Council for the Humanities (HCH) for two three-year terms, 1994-2000; as of this year, I am on that group again. Principally for my CLH and HCH service, I received, in 2012, the Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service. As have many of my colleagues, I have also been recognized for outstanding teaching.

Areas of Interest

Renaissance and 17th-century literature, Milton, rhetoric, early modern drama, science fiction


  • Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching, 1990
  • Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service, 2012


BA, Stanford University; MA, Indiana University; PhD, Stanford University


Fall Semester 2018
  • ENG-321: Backgrounds of Western Lit
  • ENG-431: Studies: 16th & 17th C Lit

Spring Semester 2018
  • ENG-100: Composition I
  • ENG-434: Studies from 20th C to Present: Utopian and Dystopian Lit

Fall Semester 2017
  • ENG-100: Composition I
  • ENG-447: John Milton

Spring Semester 2017
  • ENG-740M: Seminar in Major Author: Milton and Rhetoric

Fall Semester 2016
  • ENG-306: Argumentative Writing I
  • ENG-462: Studies in Drama: Shakespeare and His Rivals