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English Literature A-Level

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What is English Literature A-Level?

The English Literature A-Level is the study of poetry, prose and drama from a variety of different historical periods, including current productions. You will analyse texts aesthetically, stylistically and politically as we look at their impact and beauty, their mastery of the English language and the importance of their meanings in contributing to the experience of what it means to be human.

What Will You Study?

Component 1 Poetry Exam

  • Pre-1900: Chaucer The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale
  • Post-1900: Larkin The Whitsun Weddings and Duffy Mean Time

Component 2 Drama Exam

  • Shakespeare: The Tempest
  • Pre and post-1900 drama: Webster The Duchess of Malfi and Williams A Streetcar Named Desire

Component 3 Unseen Exam

  • Unseen prose- 1880-1910
  • Unseen poetry

Component 4 NEA

  • 2,500-3,500 word essay comparing a post-2000 novel to a pre-2000 novel

Reading List

English Literature Reading List >

  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Penguin Modern Classics)
  • The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster (Methuen/New Mermaid)
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Cambridge Schools Shakespeare)
  • The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin (Faber and Faber)
  • Mean Time by Carol Ann Duffy (Picador)
  • The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer (Cambridge)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

What Next?

Popular degree courses chosen by past students have included English Literature, Linguistics, Creative Writing and Drama at top universities such as Lancaster, Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Bristol and York. Students who have studied English Literature at A-Level have gone on to a broad range of careers including teaching, journalism, publishing and marketing to name a few. We even have some past students training with us within the department to become English teachers!

Exam Board

Eduqas (WJEC)

Entry Requirements

At least five 5s at GCSE, including at least a 6 in English Language and English Literature.

Have you considered studying a Mixed Programme (A-Levels and BTECs)? Whether you’re on target to achieve five 5s in your GCSEs or not, there may still be an option to study A-Levels alongside a BTEC qualification at Newman.

Course Type


What other subjects go well with this subject?

English Language, History, Philosophy, Politics, Modern Foreign Languages, Drama & Theatre Studies, Psychology and Sociology all work very well alongside Literature, but equally, we have students study the course successfully alongside Science and Maths based subjects.

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    TELEPHONE: 01772 460181

    Cardinal Newman College,
    Lark Hill Road, Preston, Lancashire. PR1 4HD