Who Should Study English Literature?
Anybody hoping to study English at AS must enjoy reading books and writing essays. English Literature at AS has a depth and scope that is far beyond GCSE. This can be very challenging, but is also very rewarding for those who are prepared to work hard. You will study a selection of classic and contemporary prose, poetry and drama texts. English Literature works very well with almost any other subject, and particularly History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Psychology and languages.
What Does the Course Aim to Do?
English A-level courses aim to develop your ability to interpret and write about literary texts. For the Edexcel AS course, you will study four texts: one play, two prose texts, and a collection of contemporary poetry. All four of these texts are re-examined as part of the English Literature A-level.
Component 1: Poetry and Drama
Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of Poetry 2002-2011
Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus
2 hours - Open book - 60% of AS
Section A: one essay comparing two poems from Poems of the Decade
Section B: one essay question on Dr Faustus
Component 2: Prose
Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
1 hour - Open book - 20% of AS
One comparative essay on Wuthering Heights and Mrs Dalloway.
What Skills Will You Develop?
English Literature helps you to build a wide range of skills. For a start, you will develop your ability as an independent reader and thinker. You will be doing a lot of writing, so you should expect to develop your ability to write clearly and articulately and to assemble complex arguments. These are invaluable skills for every university course, and indeed for many careers.
What Will You Find Challenging About The Course?
It is easy to underestimate the sheer volume of reading required for this course. In addition, you will be expected to think in a lot of depth about the texts that you are studying. You will need to consider contextual issues and respond to critical views. You will be expected to write long and detailed essays. Making this transition from GCSE to AS can be challenging for many students.
Structure of the Course
You will have five one-hour lessons per week.
Homework will be set weekly and deadlines must be adhered to.
Suggestions for Further Reading
English A-level students will read extensively outside the classroom. If you don't already read for several hours a week in your own time, English may not be the subject for you. The list below is just meant to provide inspiration. You should feel free to follow your interests in your wider reading and there's no need to limit yourself to fiction.
Alain-Fournier, Le Grand Meaulnes
Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
Austen, Pride & Prejudice
Bronte, C, Jane Eyre
Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Camus, The Outsider
Carter, The Bloody Chamber
Chekhov, Short stories
Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
Conrad, The Secret Agent
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Great Expectations
Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Eliot, G, Silas Marner
Eliot, TS, The Waste Land
Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night
Fowles, The Collector
Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Golding, The Inheritors
Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
Hartley, The Go-Between
Heaney, Selected poems
Heller, J, Catch-22
Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Huxley, Brave New World
Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
James, The Turn of the Screw
Kafka, Metamorphosis & Other Stories
Kerouac, On the Road
Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Levi, The Periodic Table
McCarthy, The Border Trilogy
McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener
Poe, Short stories
Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Tartt, The Secret History
Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
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