Unsurprisingly, most English degrees will involve a large amount of reading in comparison to GCSE and A Level. In addition to studying texts, you will be reading journals and articles and other scholarly texts in order to support your own ideas.
Reading and researching a broad range of topics is a useful way to prepare for the course as well as watching film versions of plays and texts. Below we have listed some useful resources that can get you started:
Our academics from across the English department have listed their tips and recommendations for preparing for the range of disciplines we offer at Birmingham:
English and Film
English Language and Linguistics
These are a great way to learn a little bit more about a topic that interest you, in a short amount of time. Below are some ideas which cover quite broad topics:
BBC Culture in Quarantine
The BBC have set up a website of art and culture which includes recommendations of interesting books, live theatre performances and poetry recitals.
National Theatre Live
The National Theatre are releasing a pre-recorded live screening of a different play every week. There’s a huge range of plays with some extremely prolific actors such as Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo as Shakespeare's fated lovers in Antony & Cleopatra to Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in Frankenstein.
A reddit community for discussions on all things relating to literature! This subreddit has discussions on pretty much anything you would want to ask during your degree- from how to effectively analyse characterisation to different translations on Beowolf.
You will be expected to engage with literary theory (feminism, Marxism etc.) to inform your reading of other texts. You will find that there are some texts that are particularly useful that come up time and time again; the ones below may be worth your while to get a head start!
- The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes - An essay arguing against using the author’s experiences to create a definitive explanation of a text
- Gender Trouble by Judith Butler - A collection of critical essays about traditional feminism
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf - an extended essay based on two lectures Wolf delivered
- 22 Books to Read Before you Die
- Can a Children’s Book Change the World?