The course offers the opportunity to read widely and develop your engagement with, and enjoyment of, a range of literary styles from different periods. You will also be encouraged to undertake independent research and writing to deepen your appreciation of literature and its changing traditions.
Prose: we will start with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, a nineteenth century novel that, in its day, was seen as a radical, ground-breaking exploration of a young girl’s physical and psychological journey toward womanhood. As well as analysing the novel’s powerful use of language, we will examine the influence of Bronte’s life and times on the attitudes and values it expresses.
Our second novel will be either Jean Rhys’s prequel to Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, or Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. Again, the focus of study will be on the way language is used to create meaning and feeling, as well as what a text tells us about the time, place and author from which it sprang. In the second year we will range more freely, exploring an exciting array of extracts from a variety of prose texts from different genres and periods.
Poetry: we will focus on the inspirational work of Seamus Heaney in the first year and another poet, Owen Sheers, in the second, comparing and contrasting the way each muses on topics such as love, family, place, belonging, childhood, aging and death.
Drama: in the first year we will study the thought-provoking Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, a play about a man who sells his soul to the devil in return for twenty four years of power and pleasure. In the second year we will compare and contrast this with Lucy Prebble’s play, Enron, named after an American company whose 1990s culture of arrogance and greed precipitated the economic crash we are still feeling the effects of today. We will also study a play by Shakespeare – King Lear or The Tempest – in the second year, exploring the rich world and characters conjured by Shakespeare’s use of language and stagecraft.
Coursework: this component offers you the opportunity to explore and develop skills acquired during the first year in a more independent way. You will choose two prose texts (including a novel studied in the first year, if you so wish), and compare and contrast them in any way that you find relevant and interesting.
What We Add
- We can provide you with a stimulating range of texts for wider reading.
- We will also offer opportunities for visits to theatre productions and visiting writers.
- Teachers are committed and enthusiastic and will expect you to be so too. They will be supportive of your work and will bring the best out of you. We do our utmost to make the classes as enjoyable and interesting as possible. All you need to bring with you is a desire to learn and an open mind.
You will need to meet the standard college entry criteria for A Level courses.
After Sixth Form
English Literature can be studied at university, where it is a highly regarded and very valued subject which offers skills for any degree course, and can lead to careers such as journalism, teaching, law and politics.