Todd H. Sammons


Office hours:
TuTh 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 over 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 2021-22, I am teaching the undergraduate Milton class and a “Studies” class (ENG 409) on utopian and dystopian literature in the fall and in the spring the class (ENG 405) that trains undergraduates to work in our Writing Center, which as of last year I direct. 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, director of our first-year writing program, and, most recently, director of the Writing Center. 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 few 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, offered virtually for the first time last summer. And, as a public humanities scholar, I served on the Hawaii Council for the Humanities (HCH) for two three-year terms, 1994-2000; I am on that group again, in the next-to-the-last year of my second three-year term (I am currently CHH's Vice President). 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 English literature, Milton, early modern drama, science fiction, rhetoric, writing center pedagogy


  • 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 2024
  • ENG-303: Modern English Grammar
  • ENG-445: William Shakespeare

Spring Semester 2024
  • ENG-331: Renaissance British Literature
  • ENG-445: William Shakespeare

Fall Semester 2023
  • ENG-321: Backgrounds of Western Literature
  • ENG-447: John Milton

Spring Semester 2023
  • ENG-434: Studies: 20th & 21st Centry Literature: Popular Series Fiction