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English Literature

English Literature at A Level offers the opportunity to experience the world though others' eyes, to appreciate the craft of the writer and to broaden your understanding of the human condition.  And it helps if you like reading too!

Study of literature at A Level builds on the enjoyment and appreciation of texts established at GCSE; the course offers the freedom to develop your own informed personal response and explore the wider contexts of texts. In particular, the coursework unit in the Upper Sixth offers you the freedom to pursue your own areas of interests.

The choice of texts varies from year to year but you will study literature covering the three main genres of poetry, prose and drama, ranging from Chaucer to texts written post-2000. Shakespeare will be studied, as well as modern and canonical writers in other genres. A great deal of independent reading and research work is called for in support of the set texts as there is more emphasis on wider reading than at GCSE. You will be required to take part in discussions, argue and defend your views and opinions, prepare critical work and examine the works you study in close detail.Your study will require an analytical mind and a willingness to explore different perspectives.

We follow the Edexcel English Literature specification. In the first year of the course, you will study a selection of recent modern poetry, a modern drama text and two prose texts. In the second year of the course, you study a Shakespeare play, a pre-1900 poetry collection and texts on which you write your coursework essay.

We encourage literature students to make the most of every opportunity to broaden their experience of literature; we run theatre trips and visits to relevant exhibitions such as the Artist and Empire exhibition at Tate Britain.  We invite outside speakers and lecturers to talk in school and we run extension sessions for everyone hoping to study English Literature at university.

If all this seems a lot of hard work - yes, it is. The rewards are, however, considerable, lasting beyond the bounds of school and university. Apart from giving you an enhanced understanding of the written word, a powerful command of the English language and an increasing self-confidence, English Literature teaches you about yourself.

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