English Literature

English Literature


A Level

English Literature is an exciting and rigorous course that allows you to access a wide range of texts in their different forms.

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Your personal response to what you have read is constantly encouraged as you learn how to analyse writers’ linguistic choices and understand how the contexts in which texts are written influence their production.

Course Content

Students study a minimum of eight texts, including at least two examples of each of the genres of prose, poetry and drama, to develop their ability to analyse and evaluate literary texts across a variety of genres and periods.

Component 1: Drama and Poetry Pre-1900

There are two sections.

In section 1:

Shakespeare, students study one Shakespeare play and answer two questions:

  • Twelfth Night (Arden edition).

We begin the year with this text so if you have read it in advance or watched a production that’s a great start!

In section 2:

Drama and poetry pre-1900, students study one pre-1900 drama text and one pre-1900 poetry text and answer one question comparing the texts.

  • Henrick Ibsen: A Doll’s House
  • John Milton: Paradise Lost Books 9 & 10

We don’t study these until year two but don’t let that stop you reading ahead!

Component 2: Comparative and contextual study

There are two questions.

  • Dystopia
  • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale
  • George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

We study these in January of year one. You need to know these books like the back of your hand so if you can read ahead go for it. Any wider reading of dystopian novels is also hugely beneficial.

Component 3: Literature post-1900 NEA (or coursework)

There are two tasks.

  • Close reading with commentary 1000 words.

We study The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy. Best prep here is to revise all of the poetic terminology you learned at GCSE.

  • Comparative essay 2000 words.

Here we compare two texts – a novel and a play. We will start this NEA towards the end of first year. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed and Small Island adapted by Helen Edmundson from a novel by Andrea Levy.

(Exam board: OCR H472)

How it is Taught

The varied nature of the course lends itself to a range of teaching approaches, including whole class and small group work.

Assessment Information

Component 1: Drama and poetry pre-1900, 2 hours 30 mins exam

Component 2: Comparative and contextual study, 2 hours 30 mins exam

Component 3: Literature post-1900 NEA, coursework

Entry Requirements

You should have at least a grade 4 in GCSE English.

In this subject, particular skills and aptitudes will be required, many of which will be demonstrated by students’ GCSE profiles.

Students will also need to meet the general College entry requirements. Entry requirements are subjects to change.

Careers & HE Information

The skills you acquire in English Literature are suitable for a range of careers and university courses including law, journalism and teaching.

Useful Subject Combinations

English Literature combines well with any other subject from Philosophy to Law.

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