English Literature

This highly valued and popular academic course aims to broaden and deepen appreciation of literature through a wide range of genres and contexts. The texts studied are varied and exciting and include modern and classic novels, poetry, and drama. You will improve your critical abilities and develop your academic essay writing through careful and profound analysis of the ideas in literary texts.

What skills will I develop?

Primarily, you will be developing your ability to read: to discern the inferences and influences in literary texts, to explore the thematic implications, to consider character and narrative. You will be able to examine the ways in which literary texts use language, form and structure to create meanings and how they are influenced by historical and cultural contexts.

You will be exploring the fascinating links between texts and how writers explore universal themes and concerns in very different ways.

You will therefore develop the skill of analysis.

You will also become a better writer and communicator on this course: you will refine your essay writing skills as well as your ability to discuss and argue with flair and sophistication.

What topics will I study?

Component 1 - Examination: Drama (2 hours, 15 minutes - 30%)

  • Section A: William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Section B: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Component 2 - Examination: Prose (1 hour - 20%)

  • Section A: A comparative essay on Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights & Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Component 3: Examination: Poetry (2 hours, 15 minutes - 30%)

  • Section A: Selection of modern poetry from Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry 2002-2011
  • Section B: Selection of poems from English Romantic Verse

Component 4: Non-examined Assessment: Coursework (3000 words - 20%)

  • Section A: Extended comparative essay on Pat Barker, Regeneration & Siegfried Sassoon, War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon

Where does the course lead?

A Level English Literature can lead directly to a highly regarded Literature degree or a degree combined with other subjects (e.g. Creative Writing, Drama, History, Law, and Media).

A degree in English can also lead to a range of careers such as journalism, broadcasting, publishing, advertising and teaching.

English Literature is recognised and highly valued by Universities and Employers as a useful and rigorous subject and can therefore be the bedrock of an A Level Programme for students who go on to many careers and degrees not directly related to literature.

Exam Board


Head of Department

Richard Vardy

Entry Requirements

Five grades 4-9 (or equivalent) including at least a grade 4 in English Language & English Literature

Assessment Breakdown

Coursework = 20%, Examination = 80%