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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. You will never look at literature in the same way again!

What Will You Study?

You will study an engaging range of literature, from stalwarts of the English literary cannon to more modern texts. You will cover poetry, prose and drama from a range of different authors, and have the opportunity to compare texts, as well as looking at historical context and critical views. Texts will cover issues that remain at the heart of society today, such as gender, sexuality, race and power. Classroom lessons will involve a mixture of lively discussion on the literature studied, as well as timed essay practice to prepare you for your exams.

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, Journalism 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


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