English Literature
English Department
What is
A Level English?
Studying A Level English Literature
will encourage you to develop your
interest and enjoyment of the written
You will gain an understanding of the
traditions of literature, make informed
opinions and judgements on literary
texts and develop your knowledge of
cultural and historical influences on
By reading widely, and critically, across
centuries, gender and genre; you will
develop as an independent reader
and critic.
What skills will I gain
from Studying English?
Whilst studying English Literature
you will gain an excellent range of
diverse skills. You will expand on your
ability to articulate informed and
relevant responses, using appropriate terminology and demonstrate
detailed understanding and analyses
of structures, form and language. You
will also develop the ability to explore
links and connections between texts
and contexts.
What Topics will I study?
You will be taught to critically analyse a text according to its historical and cultural period and, as well as enjoying great works,
you’ll develop keen powers of analysis and an understanding of
literature in all its forms.
There are a total of four units in the specification – two at AS and
two at A2. In your first year you will examine poetry and drama
post 1900 whilst also learning about prose study and creative
In your second year you will examine period and genre study
whilst learning about poetry and drama pre 1800.
Recommended Reading List
This list is by no means exhaustive (although it would take you a
while to get through it all!) nor are there any guarantees that you
will enjoy all the books included. It is merely a list of suggestions
that will give you somewhere to start when faced with a whole
library-full of possibilities. With any luck, there is something on
this list that you will still be re-reading in 20 years time!
Particularly recommended titles (feel free to extend this to other
titles by the same author!)
C. Achebe Things Fall Apart
Richard Adams Watership Down, The
Plague Dogs
Kingsley Amis Lucky Jim
Martin Amis Time’s Arrow, London
A. Asimov anything
Margaret Attwood The Hand-
maid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace
Jane Austen anything
Iain Banks Complicity
Louis de Bernieres anything
John Braine Room at the Top
Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
Anita Brookner Hotel du Lac
Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange
Angela Carter The Passion of New Eve
Wilkie Collins anything
Joseph Conrad The Heart of Darkness,
the Secret Agent
Charles Dickens anything
Margaret Drabble The Millstone, The
Garrick Year
George Elliot anything
William Faulkner As I Lay Dying
Sebastian Faulks Birdsong
F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
E.M. Forster anything
John Fowles The French Lieutenant’s
Woman, The Collector
Mrs Gaskell North and South
William Golding The Lord of the Flies
Robert Graves I Claudius, Claudius the
God, Goodbye to all that
Graham Greene anything
Thomas Hardy anything
L.P. Hartley The Go-Between
Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter
Joseph Heller Catch-22
Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell
Tolls, Farewell to ArmsJohn Hershey
Hiroshima (non-fiction)
Susan Hill I’m the King of the Castle
Aldous Huxley Brave New World
K. Ishiguru The Remains of the Day
Henry James anything
James Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man
Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s
Milan Kundera The Joke
D.H. Lawrence anything
T.E. Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom
John Le Carre anything
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
Doris Lessing The Summer before
Iain McEwan The Child in Time
Toni Morrison Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula
Iris Murdoch The Sandcastle
George Orwell Animal Farm, 1984
B. Pasternak Dr Zhivago
A. Paton Cry, the Beloved Country
M. Peake The Gormenghast Trilogy
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar
Mary Renault anything
Luke Rhinehart The Dice Man
Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea
Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children
J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye
Paul Scott The Jewel in the Crown
Alan Sillitoe Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Loneliness of
the Long Distance Runner
Solzhenitsyn anything
Muriel Spark anything
John Steinbeck anything
Bram Stoker Dracula
Patrick Suskind Perfume
Thackeray Vanity Fair
Tolstoy Anna Karenina
Anthony Trollope anything
Alice Walker The Color Purple
Evelyn Waugh anything
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian
Jeanette Winterson Oranges are not
the only Fruit
P.G. Wodehouse anything
Tom Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities
Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway
For more information
Internal Students: Ms Chorley - Green Wing
External Students: [email protected]
What will English prepare me for?
You will gain many transferable skills that you learn and develop whilst on this course. The knowledge that you will gain will
prepare you for a range of careers and university courses such
as:• Journalism
• Public Sector (Defence, Immigration etc.)
• Diplomatic Service
• Social Work
• Education
• Law
• Media

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