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This programme aims to provide a historically-based overview of the literature of all periods, together with opportunities to specialise in particular periods of literature, in modern English language, and in non-period courses. Students are encouraged to develop their own interests and may choose from a wide variety of specialisms.
The first year of the English BA acts as a foundation for the two
following years, covering major narrative texts from the Renaissance to
the present, background texts from Homer to Freud and Barthes,
Anglo-Saxon and medieval writings and the study of critical method.
In the second and third years you will
study compulsory courses on Chaucer and Shakespeare, and will choose six
further courses from a wide range of options. American Literature and
literature in English from other countries outside Europe feature
strongly on several courses and attention is paid to the study of film.
The first-year course consists of four components which taken together constitute a foundation for the further study of English Literature:
- Narrative Texts
- Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature
- Intellectual and Cultural Sources
- Criticism and Theory
Single honours students follow all these courses, while Modern Language Plus students follow the Narrative Texts course and either Criticism and Theory or Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature.
Second and Third Years
The following courses run yearly:
- Chaucer Core Course - Year Two
- Shakespeare Core Course - Year Three
- Critical Commentary and Analysis
Chaucer is compulsory in the second year, and Shakespeare in the third.
Students should also take Critical Commentary and Analysis unless they are sitting three or more medieval options: in these cases, Critical Commentary is an optional paper.
Students then select five (or six, if they have not taken Critical Commentary and Analysis) further courses across the two years of study.
Please note that if a course is unavailable in second year, students can take that course in their final year instead. Students will therefore be able to take any of these courses at some point in their degree, regardless of their year of availability.
The following courses are running in 2015-16:
- Old English II
- Middle English II
- Restoration and the Eighteenth-Century
- The Romantic Period
- Modern Literature II
- Modern English Language
- American Literature to 1890
- History of the English Language
- Literary Representations and the History of Homosexuality
The following courses ran in 2014-15 will run again in 2016-17:
- Old English I
- Old Icelandic
- Middle English I
- Renaissance Literature
- The Victorian Period
- Modern Literature I
- London in Literature
- Literary Linguistics
- Eighteenth Century Literature
The following course will be introduced in 2017-18:
- The Seventeenth Century
There are also opportunities to take the following papers from outside the Department: Medieval French, Early Italian, Medieval German (all SELCS) and Early Medieval Archaeology of Britain (Archaeology).