English Literature Course | Varsity Education

English Literature

This subject is not available on Cambridge Winter College

An introduction to English literature, language and theory

Students opting for the English Literature course will study texts written in English in the United Kingdom. The programme is designed to take students far beyond their school curriculum by looking at a range of texts, authors and genres through time.

The programme will take students through literary movements, such as Romanticism and Modernism, whilst considering influential texts by groundbreaking authors. The course combines the study of broader trends in literature with close textual analysis. Students develop their close reading and practical criticism skills when working with a text, whether it be a poem, a novel or a play.

As well as considering the texts themselves, students will look at the role of the author, reader, and (if necessary) actors in literature, and how literary critics have seen each role through time. The lessons on literary theory will be reinforced with additional English Language classes that will teach students the importance of linguistic techniques, grammar and the etymology of words.

The English Literature programme embraces the interdisciplinary nature of a undergraduate course by allowing students to explore history, additional art forms and even related intellectual traditions in order to inform their analysis.  Students will consider the very essence of English Literature and will be encouraged to challenge their preconceptions of genre and form. For example, whether Shakespeare’s The Tempest is truly a comedy, and not a tragedy, or indeed a romance.

During their time with us, students will also have the opportunity to watch a Shakespeare play before analysing the performance in class. Students will improve their essay writing and analytical skills whilst developing their passion for literature by being exposed to new texts, movements and authors.

“I really enjoyed the lessons, because they were so different from what and how I learn at school.”

– Charlotte

Topics may include:

  • Old English and the origins of language
  • Authorship and readership
  • Middle English lyrics and exegetical culture
  • Shakespeare’s comedies
  • Memories and diaries of Virginia Woolf
  • Renaissance pamphlets
  • Practical criticism
  • Conceptual-technological literature
  • Victorian Literature
  • The Cambridge school of poetry
  • The journals and poetry of Sylvia Plath

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