Our guide to English literature

Our guide to English literature

First published date February 05 2014 Amended date February 06 2015

Ever wondered how the greatest authors are able to inspire us so much? Well look no further because an English literature course will teach you how to critically analyse the authors you look up to. The complexity of the course will depend on the difficulty of the course you enrol on but all courses will teach you how to analyse and come up with theories and ideas. You will learn to construct and defend sophisticated arguments while communicating clearly through your essay writing abilities. Deconstructing the prose in novels will also teach you the methods that authors use in different genres to create different atmospheres and if you’re an aspiring writer you will be able to use these techniques to write your own novels.


What next

If you want to take your English literature learning further you can go on to study an English literature A level or even a degree. An English literature undergraduate degree will teach you a wide range of skills that you will be able to apply to future career paths. The skills learnt on an English literature course are often referred to as transferable skills and can be applied to many potential career paths. English lit graduates often pursue careers in journalism and writing, advertising, teaching, broadcasting, performance, publishing, PR and even law.  


How can I become an author?

Studying literature is certainly a good idea for those who are aspiring authors but it won’t make you an author overnight. It will teach you a lot about writing techniques and also prepare you for a reliable career before you can make that shift to a career that involves writing. Many authors find it hard to make a living from being an author; Terry Pratchett, one of the bestselling authors in England, wasn’t able to give up his career as a press officer until the release of his fourth book in his successful Discworld series. However, with time and practice you will have a chance of turning that passion into a career. 


Places to visit in London for writing inspiration

The University of London Senate House: The Senate house was the inspiration behind George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in his famous novel, 1984. Orwell also spent time slumming the poorest parts of London, recording his experiences for his first English essay The Spike and his book, Down and Out in Paris and London.

The Grapes: Pop down for a drink at public house, The Grapes located at 76 Narrow Street, backing onto the Thames. The pub was a frequently place for Dickens to have supper and is even mentioned, scarcely disguised, in the opening chapter of his novel Our Mutual Friend.

221B Baker Street: Home of the fictional Sherlock Holmes and possibly the world’s most famous address. Step inside the world of Sherlock Holmes and more importantly the mind of Sir Conan Arthur Doyle.

The Charles Dickens Museum: Welcome to the only remaining London home of renowned author Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens resided in this house from 1837 to 1839, in that short time he wrote both Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. 

Bloomsbury: Why not take a walk around Bloomsbury where the famous Bloomsbury Group lived, worked and studied together. The influential group was made up of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, with the most notable authors being Virginia Woolf and E.M Forster.

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