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A-Level English Literature

The course is for all students who have a love of reading and a willingness to share their ideas and insights. English Literature is, primarily, a reading subject. We want you to enjoy the texts set by the Examining Board, in addition to a wider range of general literature of your own choice. However, experience has shown that students who do best at English are usually those who are prepared to sharpen their critical analysis through engaging in class discussion.

Lessons are usually characterised by lively debate, which we encourage, guide and support. If you like reading widely, can formulate and voice your opinions then English Literature would be an ideal choice for you. English Literature is an important and influential A-Level as it gives a student the ability to comment upon and analyse a range of literary texts.

Any student wishing to undertake an Arts and Humanities course at university should consider taking this subject. It encourages critical and close analytical focus and develops a high reading stamina. University admissions tutors recognise that A Level Literature students possess fluent writing skills that are of enormous value to any degree subject.

Many universities see English Literature as evidence of a well-rounded and widely-read student who possesses good reading, writing and critical skills.

Course Content

Topics Covered

Component 1

  • Section A Drama pre 1900 Shakespeare: Measure for Measure
  • Section B Poetry pre-1900 Geoffrey Chaucer: The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale

Component 2

  • Section A Drama Post 1900 Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar named Desire
  • Section B Prose Post 1900 F Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby


At the end of your first year you will sit two exams: one on your Shakespeare and Chaucer, the other on American Literature; F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire.


5 GCSEs grades 9-5, including a grade 6 in English Literature. 


English leads naturally to careers in journalism, publishing, law, business and teaching.