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English Literature A Level at The Ashcombe School

Course description

Reformed subject

Why study the subject?

English Literature A-level is held in high regard by employers and colleges. It complements other Arts/Humanities courses and is a must for those who are considering Higher Education courses in literature.

Advanced Level English Literature provides students with the opportunity to consider cultural, social, historical, scientific and religious influences that shaped modern and traditional texts. Candidates analyse the values, attitudes and ideas within a wide range of stimulating and challenging texts. Students are exposed to a wealth of texts and expected to read widely and willingly.

English is an interactive subject taught in seminar and discussion groups; students’ own contribution and research play a key role in their enjoyment of the course. Theatre visits and excursions will take place throughout the course.

Course content

Unit 1: 

Shakespeare (Measure for Measure)

Drama (John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi)

Poetry pre-1900 (John Milton: Paradise Lost books 9 and 10).

Measure for Measure requires students to demonstrate their detailed knowledge and understanding of the play. In the case of The Duchess of Malfi and Paradise Lost books 9 and 10, students are able to establish connections between the texts from the genres of drama and poetry. Students are also expected to demonstrate their appreciation of the significance of cultural and contextual influences on the writers, readers and/or audiences and be able to explore relationships between their chosen texts. Students must be able to read texts in a variety of ways and respond critically and creatively.

Externally-assessed (40% of A-level).


Unit 2:

Comparative and contextual study of Dystopian fiction (George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale)

This exam requires students to demonstrate an understanding of the significance and influence of contexts in which the chosen texts were written and received, explore connections across the texts as well as explore the texts informed by different interpretations.

Externally assessed (40% of A-level).


Unit 3:

Literature post-1900 (texts to be confirmed)

The aim of this internally assessed component is to encourage individual study, interest and enjoyment of modern literature and for students to develop an appreciation of how writers shape meanings in texts through use of language, imagery, form and structure. Students also develop an understanding of texts informed by an appreciation of different interpretations and explore connections across texts, such as stylistic, thematic or contextual.

Internally-assessed (20% of A-level)


Entry requirements

Grade A*-C in both English and English Literature GCSE. An enthusiasm for reading and a good standard of written expression are also essential for success in this course.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Ashcombe School directly.

Last updated date: 25 August 2016
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