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Welcome to English at Warwick

Hi to everyone joining us in September 2021!

To help you get a sense of what to expect when you join us later in the year, your tutors in English and Comparative Literary Studies have put together some recommendations for summer reading. We know you're excited to start your new degree and discover a whole world of new writers and writing. Most texts listed here are easily accessible online; you don't have to read all of them, but you might choose a few to get on with before you join us here at Warwick in September. We're really looking forward to meeting you then.

English Literature

Below are some recommendations for those starting on our English Literature degree this September.


In term 1 you'll be reading Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (Part One) on your module 'Modern World Literatures.'

If you want to read some other plays, or find out more about studying them, we recommend these:

Novels and essays

You might want to read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness , Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or Natsume Sōseki's Kokoro , all of which are set texts on Modern World Literatures. Or maybe tackle George Eliot's Middlemarch (a set text on 'Epic into Novel') or Ngugi wa Thiongo's A Grain of Wheat, also on 'Epic into Novel'.

We think you'll also like:


In term 1 you will be reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight on your module 'Medieval to Renaissance English Literature.'

Other poems and readings we think you might like:

English and History

We recommend the following to those starting our English and History degree this year:

Novels and short stories
  • Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities – core text for History & Textuality (first-year core module)
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home – core text for History & Textuality
  • Octavia Butler, Kindred
  • Herman Melville, ‘Benito Cereno’ – core text for Writing History (second-year core module)
Online materials

English and Theatre

If you're coming to join our English and Theatre degree, you might want to have a look at John Osborne's 1956 play Look Back in Anger, and Dominic Shellard's critical work British Theatre since the War (Yale University Press, 2000).

You might also enjoy:

  • Cyprus Avenue. A dark comedy about the legacy of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, filmed at the Royal Court Theatre in London. This is a play that we cover on the second-year core module, Drama and Democracy.
  • The Complete Plays of Oscar Wilde: we recommend The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and Salomé.

Cyprus Avenue on screen, Royal Court Theatre

Cyprus Avenue on screen, Royal Court Theatre