- Literature is language at its most expressive and insightful.
- What can literature tells us about ourselves and our world?
- How do texts written long ago continue to speak to us today?
- What is distinctive about the way authors use language?
At least 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above (including Maths) with at least a grade 5 in both English Language and English Literature.
Is this course for me?
- You must enjoy reading a wide range of literature including novels, plays and poetry. There will be an emphasis on independent reading as part of the course as you will study four texts each year and will be encouraged to read more widely.
- You like linking books to their context – for instance what was happening in the world at the time?
- You enjoy exploring how different readers have interpreted texts in different ways.
- You want to be encouraged to think for yourself about the ideas and attitudes you will be reading about.
- You want to improve your written communication skills.
Where does it lead?
Some students may choose to go on to study English courses at university and may be interested in a career in the media, performing arts, teaching or journalism.
English Literature is also a subject that will complement a variety of other university courses within the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law. This is because it develops the ability to read, reflect, and critique – and then state your conclusions clearly, which is essential to many kinds of work – as is the ability to construct and defend an argument.
What will I learn?
You will study in detail, three poets from two different periods:
-Pre 1900 poetry: Christina Rossetti is probably the most important female Victorian poet whose writing is charged with the era’s concerns regarding religion and sexuality.
-Post 1900 poetry: Philip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy write with directness, under-stated humour and a critical insight into our culture. You will compare and contrast their work.
You will study in detail, three plays from two different periods:
- William Shakespeare’s Hamlet enjoys and deserves its reputation as one of the greatest plays ever written.
- Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is a tragedy that helped revolutionise drama through its focus on the ‘common man’ as a suitable subject for literature.
- John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi was written in the decade after Hamlet and is another bloody ‘revenge tragedy’. Corruption, vengeance and other dark emotions make this a compelling play.
You will write a 3000-word piece of coursework based on two novels: one pre-2000 and the other post-2000. Students are given some flexibility on which texts they would like to study.
You will sit an exam on unseen texts. This is a valuable component as it allows you to apply the skills you have acquired whilst studying set texts.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed by three two-hour exams (80%) and a coursework project (20%).
What activities can I get involved in?
You will have the opportunity to attend live theatre performances which will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the set plays you will study.
The College has lots of exciting enrichment and CV building opportunities including the chance to earn the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, learn a new skill, learn a language, join a club, take up or develop a sport or take on a new challenge. See the College Prospectus for further information about what is on offer.