English Literature



Description Linear course


English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships

that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received, and understood. Studying texts within a shared context enables students to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives.

Course content


Paper One: Love through the ages


Study of three texts: one poetry and one prose text, of which one must be written pre-1900, and one Shakespeare play. Examination will include two unseen poems.



·       Written exam: 3 hours

·       open book in Section C only

·       75 marks

·       40% of A-level



Section A: Shakespeare: one passage-based question with linked essay

–        OTHELLO


Section B: Unseen poetry: compulsory essay question on two unseen poems

Section C: Comparing texts: one essay question linking two texts

–        Anthology of Love Poetry through the Ages: Pre-1900

–        F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby


Paper Two: Texts in shared contexts



Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day.


Examination will include an unseen prose extract




·       Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

·       open book

·       75 marks

·       40% of A-level



Section A: Set texts. One essay question on set text

Study at least ONE of three texts:


–        Poetry: Carol Ann Duffy – Feminine Gospel (post 2000)


Section B: Contextual linking

·       one compulsory question on an unseen extract


·       one essay question linking two texts


–        Drama: Tennessee Williams – A Streetcar Named Desire

–        Prose: Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale



Non-exam assessment (NEA): Independent critical study: texts across time

·       Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900


·       One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography




·       50 marks

·       20% of A-level

·       assessed by teachers

·       moderated by AQA


Enrichment opportunities
  1. Regular theatre trips to a range of productions
  2. Creative writing workshop
  3. University taster days
  4. Additional programme of lectures to support the unseen paper