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English Literature

St Peter's 13-18

English Literature

English LittThe Course

Studying English Literature is not just about reading and dissecting books from different eras. Literary study has, at its heart, the disciplines of psychology, history, morality and ethics, politics and religion and that is why, amongst other reasons, it has been defined by the Russell Group of universities as a ‘facilitating subject’. This is an intellectually challenging and analytical subject: its joy is that literature seeks to elicit an emotional response and this can generate the most animated class discussions and passionate likes and dislikes of texts studied. However, the study of literature as an academic discipline
means the initial engagement on a human level, then a gradual move to a more clinical view of the texts through the study of writers’ methods and their effects. This is truly a transformative subject but it will also offer the hard currency of: excellent writing skills; the ability to analyse text quickly and efficiently; the articulation of thoughts and ideas that are clear and intelligent; using secondary sources and a wide range of data whilst formulating an argument; and of course, the holy grail of being well-read in a digital, transient age. Pupils studying English Literature have left to pursue careers in Law, Journalism and Film
but many have also combined English Literature very successfully with science subjects, as close scrutiny, analysis and hypothesising are core skills for our subject also.

In the first year, pupils will read and watch a Shakespeare play and study a modern, post-2000 novel for a short piece of coursework. They will study a literary genre (currently Gothic) and read a set text from that genre (currently Dracula by Bram Stoker). They will then study poetry and drama texts and will be able to choose their own play for a coursework text, with guidance from their teachers. The second year of study sees the writing of this longer piece of coursework and the final drama, poetry and prose texts taught before embarking upon exam preparation. All the external examined units take place at the end of the second year of study.


  • Component 1 - 2hr 30m written paper
    Shakespeare Drama and Poetry pre-1900 - 40%
  • Component 2 - 2hr 30m written paper
    Genre study (Gothic) - 40%
  • Component 3 - Non-examined Assessment (Coursework)
    Close reading OR re-creative writing Comparative essay - 20%

Examination Board: OCR

Additional Notes

We ask that you bring with you an open mind, tolerance and an interest in reading widely. Texts are bought by the department but will be charged to fee accounts, allowing for fulsome annotation by each pupil. We will visit the theatre and sites and exhibitions relating to our areas of study (recent visits have been to The British Library, Haworth and Birmingham City Library Man Booker Evening).

View our beautiful Alcuin Library here.