Study English Literature

What Is an English Literature Degree?

English literature is the study of written works in the English language. This includes plays, poetry, films and long-form creative writing. A degree in English Literature equips students with an understanding of the cultural context of writing, and draws upon the fields of anthropology, history and linguistics. Graduates of English Literature are analytical, critical and expressive which means that they are highly employable in a vast array of professions.

What will I study?

During an English Literature degree you will be required to read and analyse many different kinds of text. You will study classics such as Shakespeare, Chaucer and Austen alongside contemporary writing from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students are given the skills to analyse and critique writing, and to understand the historic and cultural context of it. You will develop a deeper appreciation of literature and enhance your own writing skills. You will be given the opportunity to diversify and study options such as media writing, linguistics or film.

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The first year will give students a firm grounding in critical reading. You will learn to research and analyse the context of literature. Group projects and seminars will help you to develop presentation skills, whilst individual projects will develop your own writing skills. You will take modules in poetry and drama, and will begin to study linguistics.

During the second year you will undertake an in-depth study of romanticism which will enable you to critically evaluate the relationship between literature and history. You will study print media and journalistic writing, and may have the opportunity for a short work-placement in this industry. You will also take three modules in areas which interest you. These could include ‘Victorian literature’, ‘foundations of screenwriting’ or ‘documentary drama’.

In your final year you will study modernism: Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence and Samuel Beckett. You will learn how these classic modern texts are situated in contexts of changing political and social norms. You will be required to submit a personal project which will take the format of a dissertation, poetry, drama or a research project. You will also have the opportunity to study areas of your own interests from a range of elective modules including: ‘short film writing’, ‘language and gender’ or ‘Shakespeare studies’.

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