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English Literature


English Literature A level builds on the skills developed at GCSE, giving pupils the opportunity to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature. They are encouraged to read widely and independently, engaging with the set texts and other texts they have selected themselves. They engage creatively and critically with a substantial body of writing, both from the canon and from more contemporary sources, and they develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in discussion and written assignments.

Pupils are also encouraged to explore the contexts of the books they are studying and to read widely from critical authors. Studying this subject requires commitment, a genuine enthusiasm for reading and a willingness to hone writing skills. English Literature A level provides a foundation for undergraduate literary studies of English Literature but also rewarding and highly valued critical skills and insights into history and culture from a modern perspective, useful for lifelong learning.

Pupils are required to write about unseen prose and poetry and they will undertake one coursework assignment which is worth 20% of the final marks.

We will study three components: Drama and Poetry pre-1900, which includes study of a play by Shakespeare and comparison of one drama and one poetry text both of which were written before 1900; Comparative and Contextual Study, which includes comparison of two prose texts which have similar concerns or areas of thematic interest, and critical appreciation of a passage of unseen prose; Coursework on literature written after 1900.

Pupils will:

  • Synthesise and reflect upon their knowledge and understanding of a range of literary texts and ways of reading them, from Shakespeare to more contemporary authors.
  • Make appropriate use of the conventions of writing in literary studies, including references to quotations and sources.
  • Hone their skills in extended essay writing and become confident in using written English accurately and effectively to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.
  • Write under examination conditions but also spend time researching and writing extended pieces of coursework.

course specification