Geneva English School

English Literature

English Literature

For voracious readers, word lovers, poets and theatre-goers, English Literature is the perfect choice.

Studying literature feeds the imagination. It is a study into the human psyche, human experience and social influences over the years. It allows you to travel back in time, share the experiences of others and take on new perspectives. You can explore ideas, beliefs and values and challenge or discover your own.

On our A Level course you will discover some of the greatest poetry, prose and drama ever written. You will learn how to confidently approach the analysis of texts from a range of different genres, eras and cultures. You will be able to express informed and independent opinions and judgements about them based on sound evidence. You will develop the skill of incorporating critical viewpoints into your essays to support and develop your own arguments.

Analytical skills are central to this subject. Many of these skills are related to independent thinking — the ability to analyse sophisticated ideas and the ways in which they are presented. You will need to synthesise large and complex texts, and to know how to build a convincing argument are just a few.

Course Content

Year 12: Love Through the Ages.

One Shakespeare play, one prose text and an anthology of Love poetry.

Year 13: Shared Contexts – Modern Times: literature from 1945 to the present day. 

This takes the end of WW2 as its historical starting point. It explores both modern and contemporary literature’s engagement with some of the social, political, personal and literary issues which have helped to shape the latter half of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st century.
One prose, one poetry and one drama text, at least one of which must be written post-2000.

For another unit ‘Texts across time’, non-examined, you will write an independent comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900.

Possible themes include:

  • The struggle for identity, 
  • Crime and punishment, 
  • Minds under stress, 
  • Representations of class, 
  • Women, 
  • Ethnicity, 
  • War and conflict.  

Inspirational Starting Point

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
Alan Bennett, The History Boys

Course Preparation

Reading! Read a minimum of 3-5 texts (drama, poetry or prose), including at least one pre-1900.

Future Pathways

English Literature is a highly regarded A Level. It is one of the Russell Group universities’ ‘facilitating’ subjects — so called because choosing it allows a wide range of options for degree study.

English Literature is widely recognised by universities because the skills developed through the study of English Literature are among the most transferable. English graduates go on to develop the widest range of careers — among the most popular are:

  • Publishing, 
  • Broadcasting, 
  • Marketing and PR, 
  • Journalism, 
  • Law, 
  • Teaching, 
  • Politics. 


  • Entrance criteria
  • Exam board & Specification
  • Assessment

Entrance criteria

Exam board & Specification