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Head of Department - Mr A Doyle
The study of literature is an exploration of the trials and rewards of human experience through text. This can take many diverse forms, a fact reflected in the range of writers studied at A Level: whether experiencing the loves and lusts of The White Devil, driving through the wastes of America with Cormac McCarthy, or chasing a monster in Frankenstein, we are mining what it is to be human.
As a department we try to make literature exciting and relevant. The course begins with an introduction to poetry and prose, when you will read excerpts from stimulating and challenging texts, before developing the critical skills to dissect them. The department specialises in contemporary literature and you will study writers such as Angela Carter, Harold Pinter and Cormac McCarthy. You will also study classic writers such as Shakespeare, Milton and Coleridge, and complete an extended coursework essay.
Whilst studying English you will develop both analytical and presentational skills. You will cultivate sensitivity to the subtleties of language and the range of human emotion, and an aptitude for drawing out the multiple meanings in texts. You will grow in your capacity to express coherent arguments. Lessons are in small seminar-style groups and you will learn to articulate and defend your ideas in discussion with fellow students. Outside the classroom Senior Reading Group offers the chance to talk about books over drinks and snacks. The weekly Literary Society explores topics as diverse as The Observational Pop Song, How 9/11 Changed American Literature, and Sherlock Holmes and Detective Fiction. You will be invited to broaden your cultural awareness on the frequent theatre trips to London and to extend understanding of the context of American writing on a visit to New York.