The study of A level Literature requires more than a working knowledge of just one text. Literature emerges from its context, and every example emerges as part of a wider commentary on a particular issue. What do texts say over time about love, conflict, oppression, society? Is there any typicality? What do writers say about their own contexts? What are the issues of their day? And what, importantly, are the methods that they use to express themselves that so readily fuels imagination?
19th Century Literature
The 19th Century saw rapid industrial development in Britain and its empire? But what was the cost of this modernisation? Our 19th Century workshop explores Literature that addressed the great socio-economic change of the Victorian period. We look at the realist fiction of the time, particularly that of Hardy, Eliot, Gaskell, and Dickens, and the ways in which society was affected. We look at the loss and threat to the countryside, the effects of patriarchy, and the aesthetic of Victorian values.
20th Century Literature
Writers’ methodologies are frequently part of a wider trend. Just as Byron broke conventional rules in his poetry, so too did Philip Larkin, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and Seamus Heaney. The breaking with and conforming to convention appeared like never before in the poetry and fiction of the Twentieth Century. The frequency with which humanity attempted to destroy itself, coupled with economic growth, and a patriarchal class system that suffocated and constricted the vulnerable, made the twentieth century a melting pot of artistic expression in English Literature.
Writing at the A-A*
Writing at the A-A* takes more than simply following a plan. Students that attain the highest grade at A Level do so because they are well read. Reading a breadth of Literature is the best access to the higher grades. However, examination practise and argumentative essay structure are important. Students must know what examiners require in their responses and write in coherent and concise ways. We understand what it takes to attain the highest grades, we have a proven track record here, and we can provide strategies and process to students to ensure they get the best results.
Original writing that achieves success according to a mark scheme is frequently a contradiction in terms. Strategies that engender readers’ interest, particularly strategies that ‘show’ and ‘don’t tell’ enable the creative writer with a greater ability to manipulate readers’ reactions. In our A Level creative workshops we explore ways of writing about setting, character, point of view and narrative that stimulate writer and reader.
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