Welcome to those of you joining us in September 2020! To help you get a sense of what to expect from your degree, we have listed some possible advance reading below. Don't worry about reading everything listed here—we just want you to get a sense of what to prepare if you have time to do so. We recommend you choose a few books that look interesting to you and read over the summer. You’ll get access to electronic resources once you’ve formally joined the university during Welcome Week.
Please note that you won’t take all the modules below—please see the webpages for your course for specifics. If you're signed up for single honours (Q300) English Literature, you're taking Modes of Reading, Epic into Novel, Medieval to Renaissance, and Modern World Literature.
Modes of Reading
For Modes of Reading, you can start reading Anne Enright’s The Gathering, which we'll be discussing for the first 5 weeks. We also recommend that you take a look at the syllabus and dip your toes into the key theoretical and cultural texts for Term 1. See the syllabus page for further details. Students are advised to look up copies of J. A. Cuddon, ed., Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (revised by C. E. Preston) and Chris Baldick, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (2008). You will have free access to both as e-books once you're enrolled.
Medieval to Renaissance English Literature
In term 1, we will be reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in Poems Of The Pearl Manuscript: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. by M. Andrew and R. Waldron, 5th edn (Exeter, 2007). We will be studying the text in the original Middle English, but you are encouraged to read the translation that comes with this book over the summer. Your copy will contain a code giving you access to the translation online.
You might also like to read one or both of the following as an introduction to the medieval period and its literature: 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).
Modern World Literature
You're 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 the module website for further details.
Epic into Novel
For Epic into Novel, we recommend reading Homer, The Iliad, trans. Caroline Alexander and George Eliot's Middlemarch.
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 John Osborne's 1956 play Look Back in Anger, and also Dominic Shellard's critical work British Theatre since the War (Yale University Press, 2000). Please go and see any plays available to you over the summer! You can also look at the syllabus online to cross-reference plays discussed by Shellard.
History and Textuality (English and History students only)
Incoming English and History students are encouraged to read the core texts for EN126 History & Textuality, which include Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and W. G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn.