A Level

A level English Literature will allow you to discover a whole new world of literature and writing.

You will study Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Othello, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, as well as a collection of post-1900 love poems from poets such as Heaney, Larkin and St Vincent Millay. Texts such as Tennessee Williams’ tragic melodrama A Streetcar Named Desire, Jeanette Winterson’s ground-breaking novel Oranges are not the Only Fruit and Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection, Feminine Gospels are also stuided.

For the coursework element, you will research your own literary interests by comparing two texts, which are connected either by genre, such as the Gothic or Dystopian fiction, or by theme, such as gender, class or ethnicity.

Sounds like the subject for you? Scroll down to find out more...

Preparing for this course

Reading this Guardian article and highlighting the key ideas about the love genre summarised in it is a great introduction.

Knowledge of literary terminology is very important in A Level English Literature in order for students to explore how ideas and meaning are shaped by the writers of the texts studied. So recording those you know in a notebook, please revisit and revise key terms in preparation for starting your course.

Here are some terms to get you started:

  • Metaphor
  • Pathetic Fallacy
  • Symbolism
  • Imagery
  • Rhyme scheme
  • Stanza
  • Sonnet
  • Iambic Pentameter
  • 1st person narrator
  • Soliloquy

More about the course

What will I study

English Literature is a subject that has a wide ranging significance to the world. Studying literary texts encourages students to be able to think analytically and look at ideas and issues from a range of different perspectives. The diversity of the texts studied for English Literature A Level also help students to develop an understanding of a range of different historical periods and other cultures. These skills are important for so many different careers and especially for undergraduate study.

There are two examined elements of the English Literature A Level course and one non-examined assessment: Unit 1 is called ‘Love through the Ages’ and explores Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy ‘Othello’, Emil Bronte's famous love story ‘Wuthering Heights’, as well as fourteen post 1900 love poems.

Unit 2 is entitled ‘Texts in shared contexts: modern times: 1945 to present day’. As part of this unit, you will study texts such as Tennessee Williams’ tragic melodrama ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Jeanette Winterson’s ground-breaking novel ‘Oranges are not the Only Fruit’ and Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection ‘Feminine Gospels’.

The non-examined assessment is essentially a coursework unit, which is largely independent and allows students the opportunity to research their own literary interests by comparing two texts.

Why choose English Literature at KGV

English Literature at KGV allows you to experience a variety of literary texts in an in-depth way. The set texts have been chosen to offer a diverse learning experience, which helps students to develop their understanding of a range of genres from a broad time period. We also interpret texts from a range of thought-provoking perspectives such as Marxist, Feminist and Psychoanalytical which helps students to develop valuable critical and analytical skills, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of some of the most prominent writers and genres in English Literature.

Students who study English Literature at KGV have gone on to study a wide range of courses at university, such as English at Lancaster University and The University of Oxford, Law at The University of Liverpool and Classical Studies at The University of St Andrews.

Entry Requirements


5 GCSEs at grades 9 - 5 and or including, English Language and Maths at grade 4 or above.

Course specific

You will need a grade 5 or above in English Language and Literature .

You can study 3 a levels or a combination of 2 a levels and 1 btec subsidiary (a level equivalent).
Click the button to find out how to apply.

Career opportunities

Career advice

As a journalist you could be writing content for local, regional or national newspapers or for a wide variety of magazines and other publications.

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A writer will produce creative works such as novels, poetry, plays, scripts or perhaps travel or technical publications

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