As a traditional and academic subject, English Literature continues to be well-respected by universities and provides you with a wealth of transferable skills which are helpful to a range of careers.
The course aims to develop your interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies, encouraging you to read widely and independently. It also encourages you to engage critically with texts, develop and apply knowledge of literary theory as well as explore the contexts of what you are reading.
We follow the AQA English Literature B specification.
Literacy Genres Paper 1A: Aspects of Tragedy
For this unit you will study three texts: a Shakespeare text, a drama text and a prose text (one of which must have been written pre-1900). The texts are read and studied through the lens of ‘tragedy’ and include focus on tragic forms, language and structure as well as on tragic characters such as heroes, villains and victims. Key tragic themes, including fate versus free will, violence, revenge and pride, are also covered.
Texts and Genres Paper 2B: Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing
For this unit you will study three further texts. These will consist of one prose text written post-2000; a poetry collection and one further text, one of which must have been written pre-1900. Study will focus on elements of ‘social and political protest’ and will offer the opportunity to engage in debates around power, rebellion, control, conspiracy and corruption.
Theory and Independence
For this unit you will study two texts: one poetry collection and one prose text. The study will be informed by readings from the AQA Critical Anthology which summarises key ideas from critical theory, such as Feminism, Marxism, Narrative Theory and other key critical debates. During this unit, you will have the opportunity to pursue individual research interests and will be offered free choice in terms of the texts you wish to study. You will produce two essays of 1,250-1,500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology. One essay can be re-creative, giving the opportunity for a creative writing element. You will then justify and explain your ideas in an accompanying commentary.
This unit is assessed by teachers and moderated by the exam board. It is worth 20% of the A Level.
You will sit two exams. The exam for Paper 1A is a closed book exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes, worth 40% of the A Level. The exam for Paper 2B is an open book exam lasting 3 hourse, also worth 40%.
Minimum 66555 including 6 in English Literature.
Debating is open to both year groups and is an opportunity to develop clarity of expression and coherence of argument, which will enhance essay writing skills. In previous years we have run a ‘Page to Screen Club’, aimed at both English Language and Literature and English Literature students across Year 12 and Year 13. In the club we watched film versions of set texts and those related to them and discussed directors’ choices and interpretations. The department also offers a range of opportunities to see live performances of our set texts and attend author talks.
“I have been given so much support and encouragement, I love it! I really enjoy the class discussions and the encouragement and respect you get from the teachers. They all know so much but teach it in a really fun and accessible way.”
“If you are passionate about reading, writing and sharing your ideas in a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment, then this is the course for you.”
English Literature takes you all over the world and through many periods of history. It opens your eyes to the perspectives and contexts of people in faraway worlds and situations. You will be able to sympathise, empathise, cry, laugh and rejoice with some of the most interesting and stimulating characters and personas ever created.
Although A Level English Literature is a logical step towards any further study of English or arts subjects at university, it will also mark you out as a strong candidate in almost any employment field. Employers will value the transferable skills that English Literature develops: analysis of communication; the ability to look at things in detail; strong written expression; confident presentation skills; effective time management; an ability to work to deadlines and under pressure; an ability to work collaboratively.
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