A future less ordinary

English Literature

English Literature

Our Subject

English Literature is an A-level for students who love reading and enjoy sharing their views on literature with like-minded souls. If you enjoy talking about your own perceptions of texts based on critical reflection and your enjoyment of literature, then this could be the course for you.

A minimum grade B/5 or above is required in both GCSE English Language and English Literature to study English Literature at Bilborough.

Our links with HE

We are proud to see many of our students going on to study English-related degrees – as well as English Literature there are Creative Writing courses, American Studies and even Law. English Literature is a preferred subject for the Russell Group universities (something they call a ‘facilitating subject’) and highly valuable for those thinking of going into teaching. Our past students say that A-level English Literature at Bilborough prepared them well for their degree courses and they enjoy coming back to talk to our current students about their experiences.


Course Structure

We use AQA Specification B. There are two units in your first year (AS): ‘Aspects of Narrative’ and ‘Dramatic Genres’. You will read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Small Island by Andrea Levy and poetry by W.H. Auden and Robert Browning for the first unit, assessed by an exam in which you will use clean (that is, not annotated) texts. The second unit is coursework and the theme is comedy. You will study The History Boys by Alan Bennett and Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. There are many coursework questions to choose from and you’ll need to write 1,500 words on each piece. This is the year in which you’ll be a fledgling.

And in Year 13 you’ll fly – into the Gothic! You will read The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, and either Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, The Pardoner’s Tale by Chaucer, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. You’ll be assessed at the end of the course in a closed book examination (which means you cannot use the books in the exam). The coursework unit ‘Further and Independent Reading’ consists of two pieces. One is a comparative essay (2,000 words) for which you will choose your own texts and formulate your own question. The second piece is a critical appraisal (1,200-1,500 words) of one text (which could be a poem) using what you have learned from studying critical approaches to literature such as Feminist, Marxist and Aesthetic.


Inspiration

“English Literature has changed my life by helping shape me as a person, and shaping the way I read, write and think. English Literature isn’t just a subject you study and get graded on. It is so much more, it is an experience, an element that I and certainly many others will implement in our lives and cherish till the end of our days.”
– Kieran, former student







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