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Sixth Form: English Literature

Updated: Mon 12 Nov 2018   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email

English Literature


Subject Leader:  Mr N. J. Patterson

Examination Board:  Eduqas

A-Level Syllabus: A720QS

Examinations: 80%

Coursework: 20%

‘George Eliot said that the function of the novel is to extend sympathy.  To make you feel other people’s pain, or to make you capable of feeling other people’s pain.   Literature doesn’t make you a better person.   It doesn’t necessarily make you a happy person.   But it does refine your feelings.’  

- John Sutherland, Professor of English Literature, University College London


What is A-Level English Literature?

Taking English Literature to A-Level involves the study of four units, all four knitting together to form a varied and invigorating tapestry of complementary and contrasting genres and authors.  There is a coursework study of two modern novels which allows students some choice over what they write about.

In English Literature the students study literature from Shakespeare to the present day covering the three genres:  in poetry, this may range from Chaucer and Keats through to Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy; in drama, students may look at playwrights as diverse as John Webster, Tennessee Williams and Lucy Prebble whilst the modern novel may be written by F Scott Fitzgerald or E M Forster or may go further back to some of the nineteenth century greats like Thomas Hardy or Jane Austen.


What makes a good Literateur*?

Someone who loves to read, and loves to read widely – both across author, genre and time.  They are also someone who likes to discuss what they have read and are not short of an opinion.

* One who is extremely well acquainted with literature and takes every opportunity to remind the world of this fact.


What can I expect to learn in English Literature?

About the world.  About how people think and feel.  About why people behave in the way they do.  Indeed, this is where students learn what it is to be alive before they have the opportunity to find out what it is to be alive.  Students will also, of course, learn how to critique a text and then write about that text.


Where could English Literature take me?

The English Literature course will not only provide all students with a superb grounding for further study at university but will also give them a taste of the wealth of literature out there to be discovered.