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English Literature A Level at Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley

Course description

Through the study of a range of literature, students not only strengthen and hone their literacy skills but also develop a sharp critical instinct. Literature embraces history, philosophy, the Classics, psychology, art, politics, linguistics and even science in its reach, so students will find something that especially engages them. Literature, past and present, aims to reveal a truth about the world we live in, about the fundamental importance of narrative and human expression.

Course content

The course is designed to create a balanced programme of poetry, prose and drama from early literature to contemporary writing. Coursework widens the experience of literary study and allows candidates to explore individual interests and develop independent learning skills. Essential to this course is a love of reading and a willingness to engage in discussion work. Candidates will also be expected to undertake other reading to enrich their A Level studies.

The A Level course is made up of:

· Paper 1: Love through the ages – 3 hour exam (40%)
Candidates study 3 texts from these groups:

  • Shakespeare (e.g. Othello, Measure for Measure, The Winter’s Tale)
  • Unseen Poetry – set by the exam board
  • Comparing Texts (e.g. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Persuasion by Jane Austen)


· Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts – 2 hour 30 minutes exam (40%)

Candidates study 3 texts – one prose, one poetry and one drama (one of these must be post-2000):

  • Prose (e.g. The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood)
  • Poetry (e.g. Ariel by Sylvia Plath, Feminine Gospels by Carol Ann Duffy)
  • Drama (e.g. Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams)


  • Coursework: Independent Critical Study: Texts across Time (20%)

2500 word comparative essay. One text must be pre1900.
(e.g. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde + Dracula by Bram Stoker).

Entry requirements

In order to cope with the demands of the course, students should have gained at least a grade 5 in English Language at GCSE.

Future opportunities

A Level English Literature is a facilitating subject for the Russell Group Universities and is widely valued and respected by employers, colleges and universities as an excellent discipline to prepare candidates for a wide variety of occupations from Law and the Civil Service to Medicine and the Accountancy. It is specifically appropriate for a number of Arts based occupations, including the Media, Theatre, Journalism, Librarianship, Writing and Teaching.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 15 October 2018
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