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English Literature A Level at The Coopers' Company and Coborn School

Course description

This course takes an historicist approach to the study of literature and looks at reading texts within a shared context. Working with texts over time, students will look at ways in which authors shape meaning and, because texts and their meanings are not fixed, how multiple interpretations are possible. Students will read from a wide range of poetry, prose and drama across the last six hundred years – from Chaucer and Shakespeare, the canonical ‘classics’, to the most contemporary and often controversial writers.

Course content

Love through the ages

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of a central literary theme as seen over time, using unseen material and set texts. Students should be prepared for Love through the ages by reading widely in the topic area, reading texts from a range of authors and times.

Although not an exhaustive list of aspects of Love through the ages, areas that can usefully be explored include: romantic love; love and loss; social conventions and taboos; love through the ages according to history and time; love through the ages according to individual lives (young love, maturing love); jealousy and guilt; truth and deception; proximity and distance; marriage; approval and disapproval.

Method of Assessment Written exam: 3 hours 75 marks 40% of A level

Texts in shared contexts

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of literature connected through a period of time.

Students will choose one of the following options:

Option 2A: WW1 and its aftermath

Option 2B: Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day

Option A explores literature arising out of WW1, but extends this period to allow reflection on the full impact of the war that reverberates up to the present day. It considers the impact on combatants, non-combatants and subsequent generations as well as its social, political, personal and literary legacies.

Option B takes the end of WW2 as its historical starting point and explores both modern and contemporary literature’s engagement with some of the social, political, personal and literary issues which have helped to shape the latter half of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st century.

Students should prepare for Texts in shared contexts by reading widely within their chosen option.

Method of Assessment
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes 75 marks 40% of A level

Texts across time

In Texts across time, students write a comparative critical study of two texts of their choice.

This specification is committed to the notion of autonomous personal reading and Texts across time provides a challenging and wideranging opportunity for independent study.

Texts chosen for study must maximise opportunities for writing about comparative similarity and difference and must allow access to a range of critical views and interpretations, including over time. Students should take an autonomous approach to the application and evaluation of a range of critical views.

The title ‘Independent critical study’ highlights the important idea that, within a literature course, students should have the opportunity to work independently. Although one common text could, if required, be taught to a whole cohort, at least one text should be studied independently by each student. Texts should always be chosen with guidance and support. Students should also individually negotiate their own task.

Assessed by teachers Moderated by AQA 50 marks 20% of A level

Entry requirements

A minimum 6 grade in both English Language and English Literature. An enthusiasm for reading complex texts is also essential.

Future opportunities

A good A level in English Literature is highly regarded for entry onto many university courses, including those subjects outside the Arts, including medicine and law. Employers also look favourably at a candidate who possesses the analytical and written skills gained with the study of English Literature. The most common professions for English Literature graduates include journalism, publishing, law and teaching.

Further information

English Literature encourages critical thinking and also fosters a clear, coherent and fluent written expression. It works well alongside other Humanities subjects and the Sciences.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Coopers' Company and Coborn School directly.

Last updated date: 11 May 2017
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