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BA (Hons) English Literature and History course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your BA (Hons) English Literature and History studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Read on to find out more:

Suggested reading

You’ll 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 some suggested texts you might like to read, if you can, before starting your degree. 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, 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.

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

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