BA (Hons) English Literature preparatory reading

When you begin your studies in September you’ll receive further details about the course content and structure, but this is intended as an introduction to the reading for your first modules.

It is helpful to use the summer, before the trimester begins, as an opportunity to get ahead with some of your reading - you might especially prioritise some of the longer works on the list, such as the novels and plays.

The essential purchase for your first year in English Literature (which will be an invaluable resource for second and third year, too) is The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 10th edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (2018), 6 vols (A-C and D-F). This anthology is a great investment as we use it as a set text for many modules on the course, in first year and beyond. There are quite a few second-hand copies available online and, while we recommend the recent edition, you are welcome to purchase and work with an earlier edition of the anthology if more accessible. Once you arrive at ARU, you will also find copies of the Norton Anthology in the university library. Many of the texts listed below can be found in the Norton Anthology. For other works, the module leaders have in some cases recommended specific editions, but if these are not accessible you are welcome to read any version of the texts.

While we read imaginative literature for this multidisciplinary subject, we also study history, politics, psychology, philosophy, media, art, geography, and even science, amongst much more. This is a degree about people, the world, and the power of language: from recording the immediacy of present experiences, to preserving voices otherwise far away in space or in time. We are very much looking forward to meeting you in September and to working with you. If you have any questions in the meantime, please email your Course Leader Cassie Gorman at [email protected]

A History of English Literature 1: Writing Matters

The essential set text for this module is The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (2018), vols D-F (see above). But please get the full six volumes, as you will be working with A-C in trimester 2.

The only other text we recommend you buy is Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. You’ll receive instructions for ordering the essential texts with a discount before you start the course, but second-hand copies are fine, if you buy the right edition (see below).

Set reading for the module:

Zadie Smith, 'The Waiter’s Wife' (1999). Also available in The Norton Anthology.

Ali Smith, 'May', from The Whole Story and Other Stories (2015). You will be provided with a copy of this text during the trimester.

Katherine Mansfield, 'Bliss' (1918). Text available in The Norton Anthology.

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1953). Text available in The Norton Anthology.

Imagist poetry taken from The Norton Anthology.

Rudyard Kipling, 'The Man Who Would Be King' (1888). Available in The Norton Anthology.

Victorian women poets. Poems taken from The Norton Anthology.

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817). Any edition, but the Norton Critical Edition edited by Susan Fraiman (ISBN 9780393978506) is the best and most affordable.

William Wordsworth, poems from Lyrical Ballads (1798). Available in The Norton Anthology.

William Blake, poems from Songs of Innocence and Experience (1789). Available in The Norton Anthology.

Key set texts for Myth, Miracle and Magic

Please note that all the texts indicated in bold are recommended for purchase. As you only need to read extracts from the other texts you are not required to purchase these although you may find it more convenient to have your own copy of these texts too.

Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. D. A. Raeburn. Penguin, 2004.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. Wordsworth Classics, 2001.

Homer, Odyssey, trans. Walter Shewring. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Apuleius, The Golden Ass, trans. P. G. Walsh. Oxford World’s Classics, 2008.

Naomi Novik, Uprooted. 2016

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, ed. Peter Holland. Oxford World’s Classics, 2008.