Exam Board – AQA

Qualification – A Level 7712

Entry requirements – GCSE grade 5 in English language and grade 5 in English literature

Course specification

‘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.’

“I loved being able to read the classics that I’d always heard about. I get swept away to different  places and different times in history. It doesn’t feel as though this is work – it’s enjoyment. I love being able to sit around and talk about books. They’re not lessons – it’s like being at a book club.”

– Student

In year one, under the theme ‘love through the ages’, students are able to study and analyse a variety of unseen extracts, from an assortment of novels and from different historical periods. Two classic novels are studied at greater depth and compared – at least one pre-1900 text will be included to ensure historical coverage. All genres of literature will be covered, including one Shakespeare play and a collection of classic poetry.

In year two, the revised subject content continues to keep a strong focus on advanced literary studies and the reading of major literary genres through the historicist’s lens. The content studied in year one will be developed and reviewed, so as to meet the demands of A Level questions. Students also have the challenge of completing a non-exam assessment, an independent critical study based on novels – of their choice – across time.

Students are then able to look at historical periods in more detail, studying texts with the shared context of WW1 and its aftermath. This covers the study of novels, plays and poetry and also includes unseen extracts from a multitude of Great War literature. This will make sure students have a good historical coverage which was requested by higher education representatives.

What doors does this open up for me?

The skills of analysis, perception and communication you develop during this course are important in many fields of employment and are highly regarded by all institutions of higher education. Law, teaching, journalism, media, advertising, librarianship, literary agent, publishing or jobs in the arts sector are some examples of future careers.

Learning journey

Our learning journeys can be used to understand each subject in more detail.