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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. 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 can 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, you might like to read J.A. Burrow, Medieval Writers and their Work, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2008) or Thorlac Turville-Petre, Reading Middle English Literature (Oxford, 2007). For an overview of historical and social developments, we recommend Maurice Keen, English Society in the Later Middle Ages 1348-1500 (Penguin, 1990) or Chris Wickham, Medieval Europe (Yale, 2016). For a taste of some of the texts we'll be studying, you might like to read the General Prologue to The Canterbury TalesLink opens in a new window, which we'll be studying in the first half of term 1. It's available with an interlinear modern English translation on the Harvard Geoffrey Chaucer websiteLink opens in a new window. Or you could try Sir Gawain and the Green KnightLink opens in a new window in a modern English translation. We'll be studying this poem in its original language in the second half of term 1, but the set textLink opens in a new window that we'll be using comes with a code giving you online access to a modern English translation.
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.



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.