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Advance Reading

We encourage you always to plan ahead and to read ahead. For those of you who are committed to joining us in autumn 2018, we suggest the following, edited from advice given by the module convenors. You’ll get access to electronic resources once you’ve formally joined the university.

A dictionary of literary terms will be useful. For Modes of Reading, students are advised to obtain copies of J. A. Cuddon, ed., Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (revised by C. E. Preston). Other dictionaries are available, for example, The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms by Chris Baldick (2008). You will have free access to both as e-books once you're enrolled.

Please note that you won’t take all the modules below—please see the webpages for your course for specifics. There may be changes to some modules over the next few months; the information below comes from the module convenors for this academic year.


British Theatre Since 1939 (English and Theatre Studies students only)

For British Theatre Since 1939, incoming English and Theatre students are recommended to have a look at the anthology Methuen Drama Book of Plays from the Sixties (Bloomsbury/Methuen, 2008), and also Dominic Shellard, British Theatre since the War (Yale University Press, 2000). And to go and see any plays that they can over the summer! They should look at the syllabus online to cross-reference plays from the anthology (and the plays discussed by Shellard), but of course it would also be helpful to read beyond the syllabus.

Epic into Novel

For Epic into Novel, please read Homer, The Iliad, trans. Lattimore and read and take notes on George Eliot, Middlemarch. (There may be changes to this module over the summer.)

History and Textuality (English and History students only)

Incoming English and History students are encouraged to read the core texts for EN126 History & Textuality, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn.

Medieval to Renaissance

Recommended summer background reading for EN121:

  • Maurice Keen, English Society in the Later Middle Ages 1348-1500 (Penguin, 1990)
  • J. A. Burrow, Medieval Writers and their Work, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 2008)

Copies of the Set Books listed on the module webpage have been ordered for the University Bookshop, but you may like to buy them before you arrive. Please consult the Module Information section of the module page for details of the selections from the Set Books that we will be studying.

Modern World Literature

Students are encouraged to read across the syllabus in preparation for the module. Most set texts are relatively short, but it's a good idea to get started on Goethe's Faust, Shelley's Frankenstein, Soseki's Kokoro and Conrad's Heart of Darkness for term 1. For background reading, highly recommended, if not required, is Marshall Berman's All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (Verso). See module website for further details.

Modes of Reading

For Modes of Reading, details and links to editions are on the Modes website, which we are updating. We recommend you should begin with Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners.

Modes of Writing (English and Creative Writing students only)

For Modes of Writing, we'd recommend students get their hands on Flash Fiction Forward (edited by Robert Shapard), and the Oxford Book of Essays.