A Level
English Literature

Private Study

Students who:

  • reread texts that they are studying
  • read widely for pleasure
  • research additional ideas about texts
  • engage in debate and conversations about literature outside of lesson time

Below is a reading list of recommended books you should be dipping into in full or in extract, to give you a wider grounding in representation of Love Through the Ages and Modern Times. We suggest you record as an aide memoire what you have read in a scrapbook. 

The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Sons & Lovers – DH Lawrence
We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Emma – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
Wise Children – Angela Carter
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
On Beauty – Zadie Smith
Howard’s End – EM Forster
Brick Lane – Monica Ali
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Oranges are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – DH Lawrence
Maurice – EM Forster
Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Madame Bovary – Flaubert
A Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel
A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare
Antony and Cleopatra – Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare
The Crucible – Arthur Miller
The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
A Woman of No Importance – Oscar Wilde
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Willams
The Rover – Aphra Behn
Tis Pity She’s A Whore – John Ford

The Middle Ages:
Chaucer – The Miller’s Tale, The Knight’s Tale, The Wife of Bath’s Tale

The Renaissance (1509 – 47) and The Elizabethans (1558 – 1603):
Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 42) dip into some sonnets
Sir Philip Sidney (1554 -86) sonnets from “Astrophil and Stella” sonnets (read a couple)
Shakespeare (1565 – 1616) sonnets, “My Mistress’ Eyes are nothing like the sun” and “The expense of spirit in a waste of Shame” 

16th and 17th Century – The Metaphysicals: 
John Donne (1572 – 1631) “ The Flea”, “The Sunne Rising” 
Andrew Marvel (1621 – 78) “To His Coy Mistress” 

18th Century – The Augustans:
Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) “The Rape of the Lock

18th Century – The Romantics:
William Blake (1757 – 1827) “Songs of Innocence and Experience” – read a couple of each
William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) “The Lucy Poems”, “Tintern Abbey”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1776 – 1849) “Frost at Midnight”
John Keats (1795 – 1821) “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, “Eve of St Agnes”
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) “She walks in Beauty” 

19th Century – The Victorians (1837 – 1901)
Christina Rossetti (1831 – 94) “A Birthday”, “Remember”
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 86) “My Life Closed Twice”, “Love’s Stricken Way”
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 92) “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal”, sections of

In Memoriam
Elizabeth Barrett Browning – “Poems for the Portugese”
William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939) “When you are old and grey and full of sleep” “Prayer for my daughter”
Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) “The Voice” ( written after the death of his wife)

20th Century – Modernism (1910 – 52)
TS Eliot (1888 – 1965) “The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock” 
WH Auden (1907 – 1973) – “O Tell me what you think about love”, “Stop All The Clocks”

20th Century – Post Modernism (1952 - )
Ted Hughes (1930 – 1998) - “Birthday Letters”
Sylvia Plath (1932 – 63) – “Ariel”
Philip Larkin 1922 – 1985) – “High Windows”, “Whitsun Weddings”, "When First we Faced and Touching Showed”

If you have any questions about the titles listed above or you would like some tailored recommendations, then ask your teacher or Mrs Beales (the librarian). Equally, if you would be interested in helping to create and maintain a sixth form book club, in which you could explore some of these titles, then please liaise with Mr Berry and Mrs Smith