English Literature

Studying English Literature offers us the opportunity to explore our identities and emotions; it examines the society we live in now, and the past which created it. It questions the ideas and ideals by which we live. All of this is expressed in language and form carefully crafted to affect us and therefore something we examine in the texts we study.

So, if you enjoy reading and discussing interesting and challenging texts from a variety of genres,that are of cultural and literary significance, this will be the course for you. As you progress through the two-year course, your studies will be extended in breadth and depth; developing and enhancing your techniques of analysis, evaluation and comparison of literary works.

You will explore three different genres: three plays (one Shakespeare) and a variety of poetry and prose texts, all of which you are examined on at the end of the course. There is also an independent written assignment on the study of two prose texts one of which you choose from a range of 21st century novels. We read, analyse, discuss and write, in order to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the ways in which writers use and adapt language, form and structure in texts. You will consider interpretations by different readers over time, as well as how culture and context influences readers and writers.

PLEASE NOTE: Studying English Literature at Advanced Level is an invitation to engage in and examine critical and theoretical discourse on challenging and sometimes difficult topics, all of which are dealt with intellectually and sensitively. You will also be expected to read at least two novels independently as preparation for study in class and for coursework.

I have greatly enjoyed the way teachers encourage us to develop our own ideas about texts, which at first sight appear opaque, helping us gain an understanding and sensitivity to underlying themes and messages which are hidden in literature.

Rosemary Little

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements

The ability to read prose work independently is essential.

How The Course is Assessed
80% exam, 20% coursework
Career Pathways
Large numbers of Varndean students go on to take English Literature at university, sometimes in conjunction with subjects like History, Media or Drama. This course is also useful for careers in journalism, media or teaching.
Transferable Skills
Effective communication: oral and written, analysis and critical examination of diverse forms of alternative perspectives; teamwork, independent thought, reflection and judgement.
Other Information
You can also participate in workshops, trips to the theatre, conferences and university visits. There are visits to the College by writers and speakers, workshops in creative writing and the opportunity to become involved in public readings and producing anthologies.
Enquiries To
Catherine Jackson: