English Literature

English Literature opens up your mind. It engages you in new situations, introduces you to new people and invites you to engage with new ways of thinking that you might never come across in your everyday real life. You have to develop an opinion. You have to develop your communication skills. You have to engage with text in an intelligent and thoughtful way. The reason why Literature is still one of the most highly regarded subjects to study is that it isn’t easy but is rich in rewards.

Course outline

The English Literature course is divided in to 4 units, three of which are assessed through examination. These comprise of a poetry unit, a drama unit and an unseen texts (one poetry and one prose). Texts studied for the poetry component will be a single collection of poetry pre-1918 such as The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale by Gepffrey Chaucer. In addition a pairing of two post-1918 poetry collections are studied, for example The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin alongside Mean Time by Carol Ann Duffy.

For the Drama component students will study a Shakespeare play (such as Antony and Cleopatra) and two further drama texts studied as a pair (for example The Duchess of Malfi and A Streetcar Named Desire).

Students will prepare to be examined on their ability to engage with unseen texts. These examination is split in to two sections: poetry and prose. The poetry component will examine their ability to deal with a poem from any period and explore how language, imagery, form and structure create meaning. In the prose sections they will be given a choice of two extracts; one extract will be taken from a prose text published between 1880 and 1910 and the other from the period between 1918 and 1939. In addition to the extract students will be given a brief piece of contextual and critical information to engage to add to their understanding and exploration of the given extract.

The coursework unit is a single essay comparing two prose texts, one pre-2000 and one post-2000. These could be texts such as Jane Eyre or Wide Sargasso Sea (pre-2000), Atonement or Spies (post-2000).

Where will it lead to?

This qualification has been used in several successful ways by former students who have chosen to use it as a means to gain a place on a range of courses of further study, such as teaching, law and the continued study of literature itself.