English Literature A Level

"Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart."    Salman Rushdie

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”  - Sir Richard Steele

Quite simply, English Literature captures the essence of humanity.  If you want to understand yourself and others, there is no better to place to look than towards plays, poems and novels.   As a subject, it complements any other A Level as you are encouraged to think deeply and write accurately: vital skills for any student hoping to continue into university education.  Furthermore, as a traditional, tried and trusted subject, it is therefore universally respected and seen as a difficult and reliable marker of one’s academic ability. Being well read is seen as part of being a well-rounded, independent-minded and cultured person. English also develops your analytical skills, close reading and questioning of what you read, looking beyond the obvious and, of course, through writing, it develops your own unique perspective and voice.

What do you need to study A Level English Literature?

An A for GCSE English Literature is the usual requirement.  Nevertheless, a genuine interest in reading and writing is by far the most important factor.  Inevitably, you will have to read a number of hopefully very interesting texts, so you need to be up for this challenge.   An interest in history is also very useful as each text has its own unique historical and cultural context.   You are not assessed for “speaking and listening” but the most successful students often look to get involved in class discussions, through offering their ideas or through raising apt questions.  Finally, being able to think and write quickly, whilst meticulously evaluating your work is a key skill, which will bring exam success.

Course Outline

Pupils will study the AQA LitB course.


Further Study and Careers

English Literature prepares you for most graduate positions.  You develop analytical skills and an ability to express yourself with confidence and precision.  Future lawyers, journalists, doctors, scientists, researchers, businessmen will all hugely benefit from studying English Literature - as, indeed, will artists, budding poets, novelists and actors.