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English Literature


Course overview

English Literature is an enjoyable course which provides an opportunity to explore the richness and variety of our great literary heritage in all its forms: novels, poetry and plays, from Chaucer’s writing in the medieval period to literature published after 2000. An enthusiasm for literature is required, together with a willingness to read widely around the set texts to place them in their cultural and historical contexts and to develop critical understanding of the ways in which literary texts are interpreted.

A great deal of independent study is necessary to support the detailed work undertaken in lessons and the course is time-consuming, though very rewarding. 

Course content

  • Drama and Poetry pre-1900 - Shakespeare text, ‘Hamlet’ and comparison of Chaucer’s ‘The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale’ and Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’.
  • Comparative and Contextual Study: Women in Literature – Comparison of two linked novels, Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ and Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ plus a comparative element with an unseen thematically linked text.
  • Literature post-1900 - analytical commentary of an extended passage from Tennessee William’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and a comparative essay on Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’ and the collected poems of Judith Wright.


You will develop skills which are transferable both to university study and a wide range of career options where independent thinking, the evaluation and comparison of information, and close analysis of a variety of sources are required.