English Literature

WHAT IS ENGLISH LITERATURE?

English Literature is the study of the ways in which some of our greatest writers explore the issues that affect everyone or of the ways in which they explore the lives of the marginalised and obscure. It involves the study of a wide range of novels, plays, poems and other literary forms in order to explore the concerns of the people who wrote them, the methods that they use to shape the responses of their readers and the conclusions that we can draw from our reading of them.

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

You will develop your skills of interpretation and analysis to an advanced level so that you are able to formulate and express your views and arguments in an effective authoritative manner. English Literature is an interesting and informative course that will enable you to develop a wide range of transferable skills that are essential for progression to higher education and employment.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM ENGLISH LITERATURE?

You can expect English Literature lessons to be lively, discursive and, at times, argumentative! The best and most successful English Literature students are those who are most willing to offer their opinions and interpretations in lessons and to engage with those of others. You can expect to read a wide range of novels, play and poems from many different periods, some of which have endured for centuries and some of which have been written in the last few years.

HOW IS THE COURSE ASSESSED?

80% of your marks will be from examinations and 20% from coursework.

WHO IS THE SUBJECT SUITABLE FOR?

English Literature is suitable for anyone who loves to read and to talk about books, for those who can’t put books down, who lose themselves and grow to care for the characters which they read about.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN A-LEVEL IN ENGLISH LITERATURE?

English Literature is highly regarded by Universities and employers alike and will support your progression to a range of courses and careers. It not only supports those who want to study more obvious subjects such as English, Journalism, Teaching or Creative Writing, it’s a massive advantage for a very wide range of demanding degree courses such as Law, Sciences, Medicine, Foreign Languages and many others!

WHAT WILL I STUDY?

DRAMA

For the drama section of the exam, we will study one play by Shakespeare and, alongside of this, you will look at a number of other people’s interpretations of the play which we will compare with each other’s and with your own.

Following on from the Shakespeare play, you will also study another play (not by Shakespeare) with a focus far more on your own interpretations and on the effect that factors such as the gender of the writer, the historical period in which the play was written or the society in which the writer lived affect the play’s creation. And how our own context affects the way we watch or read it.

PROSE

Here we will study a pair of novels linked by a theme such as childhood, science or crime. We will study the ways in which writers use language to present their ideas through character, action and place and we will compare the different ways through which different writers explore similar issues.

POETRY

In this section, we will study a number of different poems and poets in order to look at the ways poetry can be used to examine different topic and issues and we will also look at the ways in which different historical literary periods, groups of poets or individual writers differ from each other in their treatment of these topic and issues. We will look in detail at a specified poet or group of poets so that you become an expert in an area of English poetry but also equip you with the skills necessary to explore any poem from any period so that you can respond authoritatively to poems you have never seen before.

COURSEWORK

For coursework, you will take charge of your own learning and design your own assessment with guidance from your teacher. You will be able to choose two texts that appeal to you and use them as the basis for your own discussion of the issues that link them. You will have the opportunity to apply all that you have learned from the course to discuss the issues that most interest you in texts that you have selected.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN THIS SUBJECT

English Literature students benefit from a wide range of extra-curricular activities including theatre trips, conferences and visiting speakers. We also arrange a number of trips to University English departments to experience the study of English Literature at a higher level from some of the most prestigious people in the subject.

Entry Requirements

  • 5 GCSE grades at A* - C, or 4 – 9, across four separate subjects, to include GCSE Mathematics and/or English/English Language.