This degree allows you to explore the great variety of literature, both originally written in English and in English translation, within a programme that covers a wide range of genres and periods.
This degree will enable you to examine in greater detail authors and genres that you already know (from tragedy to Gothic, from Shakespeare and Dante to Plath and Barthes), but it will also introduce you to aspects of literary studies that you may not know so well, from children’s literature to publishing studies and the history of the book. Our academics have published research on everything from medieval poetry to contemporary American fiction, and they will help you to develop your own literary enthusiasms.
In English literature, the first-year core modules ensure that all of our students have the advanced skills in literacy analysis necessary for undergraduate work. We explore the different ways that literary texts respond to their cultural context (‘Genre and Context’); we trace the development of poetry in English over time and across the globe (‘Poetry in English’); we examine how literary texts accrue new meanings in the process of interpretation (‘Research and Criticism’). In the second year, you choose modules that range from Medieval lyric poetry to contemporary fiction. In the third year, your module choices are more diverse and specialised: you can do archive work on ‘Studying Manuscripts’, or look at the politics of literature in ‘Writing Global Justice’. Creative writing modules are available in all three years of the degree. Our team of writers will help you to develop your skills, whether you want to explore creative writing in one module or make it a designated part of your degree.
The Comparative Literature modules have been designed by experts with the aim of crossing and dismantling borders: they look at literatures from different communities, national traditions, and time-periods. We take in a broad range of traditional genres (e.g. the novel, theatre, poetry), as well as varying modes of cultural expression (e.g. autobiography, film, myths). The core modules you will study introduce you to the notion of comparative writing, and to what can be lost – and found – in the process of translation. All students of comparative literature will take an extended writing module on a topic of their own choosing from a range of optional modules. Throughout, the emphasis is on comparative literature's ability to do justice to the interconnectedness of human experience.
We place a strong emphasis on small-group learning within a friendly and supportive environment. In your first and second years, you will have a mix of lectures (which can be quite large) and seminars (which will usually have about 14 people). We believe that the study of literature is a discursive process in which we learn by sharing our ideas. For this reason, all our third year teaching takes place in seminars taught by research-active experts in the field. We provide detailed and thorough feedback on your written work within 15 working days: this is crucial to your development as a writer, whether you intend to make your career in creative or professional writing.Study abroad - In your second year, you can spend a term studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in the USA, Canada, or Australia. Within Europe, we have exchange programmes with the University of Heidelberg in Germany, with Charles University in Prague, and with the University of Salamanca and the University of Valladolid in Spain. This is a great opportunity to continue your study of English literature while immersing yourself in a different culture and enhancing your language skills.