Suggested reading

During your first year at Leicester, you’ll study modules that will introduce you to the four fundamental areas of English – prose, poetry, drama, and language – as well as the skills and methodologies appropriate to each.

Below we’ve provided a sample reading list, which you can explore in preparation for your degree. There is no obligation or expectation that you will have completed this reading for October; it is purely intended to give you a sense of the topics we’ll be covering together in your first year.

In Semester 1 you’ll tackle a variety of poetry and prose.

For EN1020: The Novel Around the World, consider dipping into the following:

  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • E. M. Forster, A Passage to India
  • James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
  • Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Indra Sinha, Animal’s People
  • Zadie Smith, NW

EN1010: Reading English will familiarise you with a wide range of poetry from different periods, as well as supporting the development of close reading skills. The selection of poems changes year to year, so instead of reading specific works in preparation, we encourage you to cultivate your love of poetry by delving into the wide selection of poetry in English on poetryfoundation.org.

Aim to find:

  • A poem by a writer you have heard of
  • A poem by a writer you haven't heard of
  • A poem written before 1700
  • A poem you find unsettling
  • A poem written between 1700 and 1900
  • A poem from a region outside Europe
  • A poem of more than 14 lines
  • A poem written in the 20th century
  • A poem you can listen to 
  • A poem written in the last 20 years

Try the following:

  • Copying a poem out by hand
  • Learning a poem off by heart
  • Reading a poem out loud

In terms of further reading, you might also enjoy:

  • Rhian Williams, The Poetry Toolkit
  • John Hollander, Rhyme's Reason
  • James Fenton, An Introduction to English Poetry

In Semester 2, you’ll explore language and drama.

For EN1040: History of the English Language you can prepare by reading an engaging introduction to the topic, such as:

  • Simon Horobin, How English became English: A Short History of a Global Language
  • Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that Way
  • David Crystal, The English Language: A Guided Tour of the Language
  • Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: A Biography of a Language

Finally, on EN1050: Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries you’ll have the opportunity to study:

  • Ben Jonson, Volpone
  • Christopher Marlowe, Edward II and Tamburlaine the Great (Part One)
  • William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It and King Lear

During this course you’ll also review theatrical productions and film versions of these plays, so look out for television screenings and productions in your local area.