English Literature

A Level

Exam Board: Edexcel

2 years


Course Content:

At Alton College on the English Literature A-Level you will study:

  • Poetry written since 2000; really modern, exciting poems.  Some are funny, some tragic, some experimental and all are thought provoking.
  • Classic poetry by John Keats; a Romantic poet who writes beautifully about love, loss and the concept of beauty.
  • Shakespeare; one play from a choice of eight.
  • 20th Century drama; the modern classic play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams set in 1950s New Orleans.
  • Novels: ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde, written and set in 1890s London following the story of a debauched party-goer who remains supernaturally youthful, compared with ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison.  This second novel about the supernatural explores the trauma of slavery.
  • Coursework: a comparison of a radical new British play ‘Jerusalem’ written by Jez Butterworth and sold out in London theatres in 2006 with a second text about rebellion and magic.


20% course work, 80% exams.

3 exam papers; Prose, Drama and Poetry

Studying at Alton College:

Lessons activities are wide ranging, from debates to drama-based interpretations to detailed analysis and feedback.  Lessons include creative responses to texts like painting, collage, or ‘found-poetry’, as well as mini-lectures and research on context or theory.  We also organise a huge range of trips to theatres, poetry competitions and to develop understanding of context.

Entry requirements:

Students should normally have achieved at least five GCSEs at grade 9-4. 

You must have achieved at least a grade 5 in GCSE English.

Course costs:

Purchase of set texts: c. £40 over two years

Optional trips from £20 each

English Literature works well with:

English Language