Department Leader: Nick Hall

English Literature - The examination board for this qualification is AQA.

English Literature A’s historicist approach to the study of literature rests upon reading texts within a shared context. Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood.

In Year 12 students are introduced to all the A level set texts.

Love through the Ages

In this unit students consider the meaning of love and why it is a central theme in literature through the ages.  They also learn how connections and comparisons can be made between literary texts across time. 

Texts studied are:

Othello – William Shakespeare

Poetry – AQA Literature A Anthology: Love Poetry through the Ages

The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

Unseen Poetry – comparing two poems which share a concern with a key aspect of love

Modern Times:  Literature from 1945 to the present day

In this unit students consider the contexts in which post-1945 texts were written and received.  They explore common themes and make connections across a range of texts.

Texts studied are:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Williams

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Skirrid Hill – Owen Sheers

Unseen Prose

Year 13

In Year 13 students research and write a Non-Examined Assessment (NEA).  Their understanding of the set texts (introduced in Y12) is developed and they hone their writing skills so that they can consistently produce perceptive academic essays under exam conditions. 

The NEA (coursework) is based on independent study of two literature texts.  One will be written before 1900.

The A level is assessed by two examinations (80%) and the NEA (20%).  The NEA is internally assessed and externally moderated.

Any questions about this course can be directed to Mr Hall

A full reading list will be provided.  Students should already be hearty readers with a genuine interest in literature.  The following website lists a huge range of books students can read as a supplement to the course reading:

In addition, students should be prepared to research literary criticism and theory.  There are lots of articles and summaries online.  Starting places might be:

Shmoop does a good summary of literary criticism in a very accessible style.  You can access the feminist criticism from here: but the site contains other theories too.

The ‘Universal Teacher’ website includes a number of tutorials and summaries relating to literary texts.  It can be accessed here:

Reading list



Sebastian Faulks

Birdsong, Charlotte Gray

Louis de Bernieres

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Ian McEwan


Mal Peet


Linda Newberry

Sisterland, The Shell House

Aidan Chambers

Postcards from No Man’s Land

Joseph Heller

Catch 22

E M Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front

Lloyd Jones

Mr Pip

DM Thomas

The White Hotel



Science Fiction


Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

Isaac Asimov

I, Robot                                              

John Wyndham

Day of the Triffids

Ray Bradbury

Farenheit 451 

George Orwell


Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin

HG Wells

The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Kashuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go

Mary Shelley




Modern Life


Lionel Shriver

We need to talk about Kevin

Jodi Piccoult

My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes      

Nick Hornby

High Fidelity, Fever Pitch, A Long Way Down, Slam

Alice Sebold

Lovely Bones

Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Nicole Krauss

The History of Love

Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns





Marc Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Tom Sharpe

Wilt, Blott on the Landscape

Douglas Adams

Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Zadie Smith

White Teeth

Alexander McCall Smith

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair/ The Big Over Easy





Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal

John Grisham

The Client, The Chamber, The Firm

Iain Banks

The Wasp Factory

Ian McEwan

Enduring Love

Sarah Waters


Robert Ludlum

The Bourne Trilogy

Jed Rubenfeld

The Interpretation of Murder



Non Fiction


Julian Barnes

A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters

Joe Simpson

Touching the Void

Bill Bryson

Notes from a Small Island

George Orwell

Down and Out in Paris and London

Jung Chang

Wild Swans

Adeline Yen Mah

Falling Leaves, Chinese Cinderella





Lian Hearn

Across the Nightingale Floor

Phillip Pullman

His Dark Materials Trilogy

Terry Pratchett

Discworld Series

JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

Yann Martel

The Life of Pi





Tracey Chevalier

Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels,The Lion and the Unicorn, Burning Bright

Kate Mosse

Labrynthe, Sepulchre

Jennifer Donnolly

A Gathering Light

Bernard Cornwell

The Sharpe novels

C.S. Forester


Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace

Stef Penney

TheTenderness of Wolves





EM Forster

Room with a View, Howard’s End, A Passage to India

Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone, The Woman in White

Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, Villette

Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey etc

George Eliot

The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch

Alexander Dumas

The Man in the Iron Mask

Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D’ubervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd etc

Harper Lee

To Kill a Mocking Bird



Cult Fiction


Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange

Jack Kerouac

On the Road

R M Pirsig

Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Douglas Coupland

Generation X

Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

Albert Camus

The Outsider

JD Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

F Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar

Useful websites   English and Media magazine  AQA Literature exam board site   British Library  The Globe  Project Guttenberg online books Great Expectations Voice of the Shuttle- a literature gateway maintained by the Uni of California

Any questions about this course can be directed to Mrs Johnson at or Ms Canham at 

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