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English Literature A Level at St Angela's Ursuline School

Course description

This course aims to encourage you to develop your interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies as you:
- read widely and independently both set texts and others that you have selected for yourself
- engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them
- develop and effectively apply your knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation
- explore the contexts of the texts you are reading and others’ interpretations of them.

English Literature’s historicist approach to the study of literature rests upon reading texts within a shared context. Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, English Literature encourages you to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Studying texts within a shared context enables you to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives.

Entry requirements

The course is aimed at those students who want to develop their experience of studying literature beyond that required for GCSE and who have already achieved GCSE English Language and Literature at Grade B or its equivalent. The specification followed is that of AQA A English Literature. The course will consist of a wide range of literature but forming a coherent body, framed the theme of “Love Through the Ages”:


In Love through the ages, the theme of love, one of the most central themes in

Literature is explored across time.
- Read widely across a range of texts.
- Work with texts over time, looking at ways in which authors shape meanings within their texts.
- Think about a wide range of relevant contexts, some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing, some to do with how the text has been received over time, and how the text can be interpreted by readers now. Because texts and their meanings are not fixed, interpretation is not fixed, and multiple interpretations are possible.

Whilst the course invites a variety of written response types, these will all encourage critical debate. In each exam task, you will be required to argue and to show personal responses and critical preferences, supported by the terminology relevant to the topics and contexts with which you are engaging. In doing so, you will be able to show ‘creativity’.


What will I study for AS?

Paper 1: Love Through The Ages
What’s assessed:
Study of two texts: One Shakespeare play (Othello) One AQA Anthology of love poetry through the ages (pre- 1900)

Paper 2: Love Through The Ages
What’s assessed:
Study of two prose texts: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald The Awakening Kate Chopin Exam will include an unseen prose extract

Future opportunities

An advanced GCE in English Literature is welcomed as a qualification for many careers and provides a very wide range of opportunities for courses in the Arts, Humanities, Media and Communications at degree level. AS English Literature can also be a valuable contrast to scientific, technological and economics based subjects opening up greater breadth of interest, range of reference and facility with ideas and language

What are the different types of English degrees?
- BA English Language/Linguistics study of language and how it works, analysis of speech and writing
- BA English Literature study of literary texts – poetry, drama, novels, criticism
- BA Teaching English often has language component with additional focus on teaching English – often as a foreign language
- BA Comparative Literature includes the study of literature written in other languages and in translation

Why is the study of English so useful and how will it help in my career?

Buzz-phrase “Transferable Life Skills” – interpersonal, communication, analytical, presentation, co-operation, lateral thinking skills- all helpful in any of these professions:

Personnel Banking
Armed Services
Civil service
Film and television
information technology

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Angela's Ursuline School directly.

Last updated date: 15 March 2017
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