English at Leicester

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 academic writing – 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.

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

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

The module Writing Matters (EN1070) is part of your year-long induction to University English, and focuses on our identities as writers and readers, on writing for academic purposes, and on writing and reading as professional attributes. The module will also give you the first step to start thinking about your career, enabling you to reflect on and articulate your motivations, strengths and experience of developing transferrable skills.

Try dipping into a book on writing skills. We recommend:

  • Sam Leith, Write to the Point (2017)
  • Joe Moran, First You Write a Sentence (2018)
  • Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2009)

The module Reading Poetry (EN1010) 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 

Finally, on the module Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (EN1050) 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.

Back to top