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The Resource List of the Week – English Literature

This week, our Resource List of the Week concentrates on English Literature. Before starting, let’s give a definition to this topic.

What is English Literature?

According to The Classroom….

“English literature includes literary works like novels, stories, poems, nonfiction and plays composed in English.”

To better understand the topic, we recommend you read the following titles and resources.

1. A History of English Literature – Alexander, M.

A History of English Literature

This text traces the development of one of the world’s richest literature, from the Old English period through to the present day. Firstly, it discusses a wide range of key authors without losing clarity or direction. Secondly, it provides a full final chapter on the contemporary scene, focusing more on genres and the impact of globalization. Finally, this accessible book remains an essential companion for students of English literature and literary history.

2. English Literature in Context –  Poplawski, P.

Wildlife of the World

This book is an essential resource and reference tool for all English literature students. Firstly, it offers a detailed narrative of the diverse historical and cultural contexts that have shaped the development of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. Secondly, it offers eight chronological chapters written by a team of expert contributors and highly experienced teachers. Finally, each chapter includes a detailed chronology, contextual studies of selected literary texts and annotated suggestions for further reading.

3. Studying English Literature – Young, T.

Studying English Literature

This text is a unique guide for undergraduates beginning to study the discipline of English literature. Firstly, the title invites students to engage with the subject’s history and theory without rigid guidelines on how to write essays. Secondly, it offers information about reading, researching and writing. Finally, this book is practical yet not patronizing: for example, whilst the discussion of plagiarism provides clear guidelines on how not to commit this offence, it also considers the difficulties students experience finding their own ‘voice’ when writing, provoking reflection on the value of originality.

4. The Oxford Companion to English Literature –  Birch, D.

The Oxford Companion to English Literature

This book has long been established as the leading reference resource for students, teachers, scholars, and general readers of English literature. It provides unrivalled coverage of all aspects of English literature – from writers and their works to the historical and cultural context in which they wrote to critics, literary theory, and allusions.

5. The Tempest – Shakespeare, E.

The Tempest

This text is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, both in the classroom and in the theatre. This edition includes a new introductory section, that discusses new thinking about Shakespeare’s sources for the play. Also, the text examines his treatment of colonial themes along with covering key productions of the story. Finally, this edition is highly valued for its authority and originality making the title more relevant and useful to students and theatre practitioners.

6. A Short History of English Literature  – Evans, I.

This book remains one of the best surveys of English literature. The author considers the most important writers within each period from the time of Chaucer and focuses on one or two of their works in detail. Furthermore, the title only outlines briefly the earlier periods, focusing more on the last two centuries and the present with detailed coverage of the post-war novel and theatre.

7. WJEC Website – English Literature Resources

The WJEC’s Educational Resources team provides high quality digital and paper-based resources. They work closely with the WJEC Continuing Professional Development team to provide effective training for schools and teachers. One of the subjects they cover extensively is English Literature.

8. How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1

This is a video from the channel CrashCourse which covers different areas of English Literature.


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