TOP COURSE HIGHLIGHTS
knowledgeable and enthusiastic tutors
wide range of texts
Highly valued by universities
diverse career pathways
Variety of texts
We ensure that the course offers you the opportunity to study texts from a range of genres, from the traditional works of Shakespeare to more modern dystopian texts; these will challenge the way you view literature and the world around you.
We encourage all students to read widely beyond the course and we aim to foster independence. We want you to leave the course with both an enhanced understanding of literature and a love of reading.
Focus on context
You will be encouraged to explore texts in their socio-historical and political contexts; from Renaissance attitudes to magic to the recent political upheavals of the 20th and 21st centuries, you will learn to appreciate Margaret Atwood’s statement that ‘context is all’.
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
You will be introduced first to dystopian fiction. A dystopia is a nightmarish society, and writers use this genre to comment on and criticise the society in which they write. You will study George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, a terrifying vision of the future where everyone is controlled by an oppressive government. You will compare this to Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, a feminist dystopia which shares many themes with Orwell, such as power and identity.
You will then study a unit on 19th century literature, focusing on the poems of Christina Rossetti, including her most famous poem ‘Goblin Market’ and Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’, a play with an ending so controversial Ibsen had to rewrite it in order to have it performed in Germany! You will also study Shakespeare’s last solo play, ‘The Tempest’, which combines magic and innovative theatrical spectacle with political commentary on Renaissance society.
Unit 1: Drama and Poetry pre-1900 (examined unit – 2 hr 30) 40%
Section A: exploration of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
Section B: comparative study of poetry and drama: ‘Selected Poems’, Christina Rossetti and ‘A Doll’s House’, Henrik Ibsen
Unit 2: Comparative and Contextual Study (examined unit – 2 hr 30) 40%
Section A: analysis of an unseen dystopian extract
Section B: comparative study of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ and Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
Unit 3: Content of Literature post 1900 (coursework) 20%
Assignment A: close reading of an extract from Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (1000 words)
Assignment B: comparative essay on two texts (2000 words)
WHERE WILL IT TAKE ME?
A qualification in English Literature is highly valued by universities and employers as it develops your critical thinking and writing skills. English graduates go on to work in many sectors including teaching, publishing, journalism, media and communications, marketing, arts, law, and heritage.
If you are interested in studying English Literature at university, you will also be introduced to a wide range of texts and literary movements which go beyond the A Level curriculum, in order to prepare you for first year at university.
Formal assessment for the A Level is at the end of two years. There are two exams, one for each unit, each worth 40% of your overall grade. Coursework is worth 20%. There will be regular assessments throughout the course and more formal end of Year One internal assessments to track your progress.
Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance and effort. You will learn in a friendly and safe atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods:
- You will be assessed on written essay work which will be completed either as homework or under timed conditions in class and you will be given constructive feedback on your progress.
- Class discussions are a vital part of our assessment process and you will be encouraged to contribute.
- You will review your own performance in 1:1 session with your lecturer.
- You will undertake mock exams on each unit in advance of your final exams.
- You will be formally examined on each unit that you study at the end of the second year.
- Coursework is compulsory.
INFORMATION + SUPPORT
To prepare for this course you should read the core novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. You may also want to read the second core novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. For wider reading in the dystopian genre we suggest one of the following: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro or We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. We encourage all students to read widely beyond the course and we aim to foster independence. We will provide suggested reading lists. If you are interested in studying English Literature at university, you will also be introduced to a wide range of texts and literary movements which go beyond the A Level curriculum, in order to prepare you for first year at university.
Five GCSEs at grade 4 or above including a minimum of grade 6 or above in English Literature and a minimum of grade 5 or above in English Language. You must also enjoy reading. An interest in analysis and studying texts in their historical context is essential. You also need to be highly motivated and capable of carrying out independent research and wider reading.
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