Todd Sammons


Hired as a generalist, possibly because my doctorate is in English and Humanities, I came to Hawaii in 1980. Since then, I have lived up to my generalist billing by teaching over three dozen courses, including all of the non dramatic courses that we offer in 16th and 17th century literature, most (five out of seven) of our sophomore-level introduction to literature courses, several upper and lower division composition courses, and many self designed courses, including half a dozen graduate courses. In 2004-2005 I will be teaching three new self-designed courses: a senior-level course in science fiction, a university honors colloquium in utopian and dystopian literature, and a graduate course also in utopian and dystopian literature. After a hiatus from almost a decade of department administration (director of composition, l990 92; associate chair, 1992 94, 1997 1999; acting chair, spring 1995), I am currently the department's director of composition and rhetoric (2002-present). Among other things, this means getting to teach our peer-tutor training class, helping to mentor our new Ph.D. graduate assistants as they prepare for and then teach in our first-year writing program, and serving on university committees that oversee foundation and writing-intensive requirements. (Truth in advertising: I am more a rhetorician than a composition specialist--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. My current research investigates the presence of the picaresque genre and mode in modern British and American science fiction; I am also just beginning to explore the theme of friendship in Paradise Lost. Finally, as president of Children's Literature Hawai‘i, I help put on the Biennial Conference on Literature and Hawai‘i's Children, co-sponsored by the UH-Mānoa Department of English.

Areas of Interest

Renaissance and 17th-century literature, Milton, rhetoric, 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 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

Spring Semester 2016
  • ENG-445: William Shakespeare
  • ENG-445: William Shakespeare