Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Welcome new students

Welcome to English at Warwick! We're really looking forward to meeting you in the new term.

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. However, please see important note for new students joining us in October 2023 to your right. If you want to, 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 our degree pages 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 and Early Modern Literature, and Modern World Literatures (although you can swap out Modern World Literatures for a Language if you would like - you will be advised on how to do this during Welcome Week).

Modes of Reading

For Modes of ReadingLink opens in a new window, you could start reading Chris Kraus' I Love Dick, 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 "Unit 1" on Narrative. See the syllabus pageLink opens in a new window for further details. Students might want to become familiar with Michael Groden, Martin Kreiswirth and Imre Szeman's Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory: the Johns Hopkins Guide and David Lodge and Nigel Wood's Modern Criticism and Theory: A ReaderLink opens in a new window. You will have free access to both once you're enrolled.

Medieval and Early Modern Literature

For an introduction to the literature of the medieval period, our focus in term 1, we recommend J. A. Burrow, Medieval Writers and their Work, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2008). For an overview of historical and social developments, please see Maurice Keen, English Society in the Later Middle Ages 1348-1500 (Penguin, 1990).

For a taste of some of the primary texts we'll be studying, you might like to read the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, which we'll be studying in the first half of term 1. You can find it with an interlinear modern English translation on the Harvard Geoffrey Chaucer website.

Further details about the texts we will be studying on this module can be found on the module webpage:

Modern World Literatures

For Modern World Literatures, 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, you could start reading Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey (Norton, 2018), which we will study in full; and The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics, 2002, trans. Andrew George), which we'll study in week 1 (please make sure to get the Andrew George Penguin translation, and not the 1973 Penguin Gilgamesh by N. Sandars).

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.


For our incoming students 2023-2024, we will provide the following textbooks for the modules you are taking as below, which you can pick up for free in Welcome Week:

Modes of Reading

Chris Kraus, I Love Dick - 9781781256480

CA Conrad, The Book of Frank - 9781802062304


Medieval and Early Modern Literature

The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol B: The Sixteenth Century the Early Seventeenth Century - 9780393603033

The Norton Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales - 9780393643503


Modern World Literatures

Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Stories, 9780142437162

Natsume Soseki, Kokoro, trans. Meredith McKinney, 9780143106036


Epic into Novel

The Epic of Gilgamesh, trans. Andrew George - 9780140449198

Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Emily Wilson - 9780393356250

Homer, The Iliad, trans. Caroline Alexander - 9781784870577

Vergil, The Aeneid, trans. Shadi Bartsch – 9781788162685


Wentworth welcomes you to the department.


When you're ready, please consider joining the Warwick Literature Society, which offers support and advice to new students and is supported by the department.