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Why study English Literature?

English Literature develops the vital skills of analysis which are applicable across a range of careers and university courses. The course provides an opportunity to study a variety of texts in depth, offering the chance to cultivate critical skills and ways of seeing/making clear and persuasive arguments. Students pursuing this course will enhance their knowledge of a range of texts – including prose, poetry and drama – across the ages, whilst engaging with challenging modern developments in literary concepts and theory.

English Literature A’s historicist approach to the study of literature rests upon reading texts within a shared context. Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood.

Course content/Outline

Topic 1 : Love through the ages

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of a central literary theme as seen over time, using unseen material and set texts.

Students study three texts: one poetry and one prose text of which one must be written pre-1900, one Shakespeare play.

Topic 2 : Texts in shared contexts

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of literature connected through a period of time.

Students will study one of the following options:

Option 2A: WW1 and its aftermath

Option 2B: Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day

Students should prepare for the topic by reading widely within their chosen option. Studying representations of the key themes identified below will allow them to encounter a range of ideas and opinions relevant to the shared context

Topic 3 : Independent critical study: texts across time

In Texts across time, students write a comparative critical study of two texts.

This course is committed to the notion of autonomous personal reading and this topic provides a challenging and wide-ranging opportunity for independent study. Possible themes for the comparison are suggested, but this is not a set list and students are free to develop their own interests from their own wider and independent reading.

What career opportunities are there?

English Literature is a prestigious academic subject that is highly regarded by the top universities. It offers transferable skills such as written and spoken communication, linguistic and critical/analytical skills. These competencies apply to other disciplines and complement most other A Level choices. Career opportunities include journalism, teaching, law, social work, media, marketing, politics and a host of others.

Syllabus: English Literature

Examination Board: WJEC

More information: Miss E Leslie / Dr S Purchase