English Literature

Examination Board: OCR

Quotation: ‘Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart’.

Quotation: In the finest critics one hears the full cry of the human. They tell one why it matters to read.

English Literature is a popular and constantly growing A-level at SGS. It appeals to a diverse range of students, all with differing interests and aspirations. The balance of the course means that students are able to study modern texts along with classics from the English literary heritage.

What topics are covered?

Year 1 (AS)

Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900

Students study a Shakespeare play such as The Tempest, Richard III or Hamlet. In addition they will study poetry from poets such as Coleridge or Rossetti.

Drama and prose post-1900

This unit will include the study of American drama including Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and an introduction to modern gothic prose with Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber.

Year 2 (A-level)

Shakespeare and Poetry and Drama pre-1900

Students will revise the Shakespeare play from Year 1 and then compare the AS poetry text with a new drama text, such as The Duchess of Malfi, She Stoops to Conquer, An Ideal Husband or A Doll’s House

Comparative and Contextual Study – The Gothic

Students undertake a specialist study of the gothic genre, through the study of set texts (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bloody Chamber and wider reading of other gothic fiction).

Literature post 1900 and post 2000 (non-exam assessment)

This unit enables students to compare the play from AS study (A Streetcar Named Desire) with another modern text, such as On Chesil Beach or Rebecca. They are also required to analyse modern poetry.

Who should study English Literature?

People are at the centre of English Literature; if you want to develop an understanding of humanity within and beyond your own experience, then English Literature is for you. The course will appeal to those who have an interest in reading a wide variety of literature from the past and present; by both British and American authors; who enjoy expressing their opinions and developing independent ideas; who would be stimulated by a subject which draws upon their own experiences; and who want to keep their opinions open for further study.

What skills will I gain studying English Literature?

Students of English Literature learn to express their enthusiasm for novels, poems and plays in carefully crafted prose of their own. You will learn to express your informed personal opinions with maturity and sophistication. You will also learn to engage with and debate critical material.

What career paths would this subject be suitable for?

English Literature combines well with many subjects. The subject attracts students with career aspirations ranging from medicine and business to law and journalism.

The course is delivered by all of the subject specialists within our lively department.

We aim to bring the subject alive and to engage our students by fostering within them the same enthusiasm for literature.

Pleased be advised that students wishing to study English at A-level must choose either English Literature or English Language and Literature combined. Both courses cannot be taken.