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BA (Hons) English Literature and History course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your university studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Open the links below to find out more:

Suggested reading

You will be given lots of information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks we have for you to access, when you begin your studies in September.

In the meantime, there are a few suggested books you might like to read before starting your degree if you can. We don’t recommend rushing out to buy texts before you arrive but if you can pick some up second hand, borrow from a library or access online to read over the summer, we suggest:

Ready, set, READ!

English Literature

LIT1020: Ways of Reading
LIT1024: Literary History
HIS1010: The Medieval Outlook


HIS1012: Europe Re-Made
HIS1016: Time Detectives
HIS1017: History and Society: Theory, Practice and Impact

Read Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Read Charlotte Brontë as a pre-arrival task – you can pick up cheap editions online. Even if you have studied this text before, please reread over the summer and think about the following questions:

  • To what extent does Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre draw on themes and figures from fairy tales and the Gothic to tell the story of Jane’s development from a child into a young woman?
  • To what extent is Jane Eyre a politically engaged novel? Find out what you can about what events were going on in Britain and the world in the 1840s.
  • How does Brontë represent Jane’s psychological development in the novel?
  • How does Brontë represent masculinity through the different characters of Mr Rochester and St John Rivers, among others?
  • To what extent is Jane a reliable narrator of her own story?

Useful websites

  • If you’re looking for something to read, have a look at the Poetry Foundation website.
  • Make sure to visit the Prospects website if you’re thinking about a future career in English.
  • You can also create an online To Do List here.

Other things you could try over the summer

  • Get into the habit of reading broadsheet newspapers including The Independent, The Guardian, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph. Wrestling with the complexities of the present is good practice for dealing with the complexities of the past.
  • Read for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Try to read in an interactive way – identify the author’s argument, spend time thinking about its validity. Just because something is in print, it is not necessarily either right or accurate.
  • Write a short story
  • Learn a new language, Duolingo is helpful
  • Make a haiku
  • Create a bullet journal
  • Start your own blog

Meet your programme leaders

Additional ways to prepare

Preparing to start

This session examines how to make a successful transition to university. From planning your results day, accommodation and commuting tips, extra support available to you and general advice on uni life.

Watch the session

Find out more about who you are

The following information provides an insight into what to expect when coming to university along with some good advice on how to navigate some of the potential challenges you may face.

Start preparing yourself