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The English Literature curriculum at Reading is pioneering, contemporary, and comprehensive. The wide range of expertise among our teaching staff means that you can study literature in English from every period of history and from across the globe.

Our degrees are flexible, allowing you to choose the modules that best suit your interests. After the groundwork of Part 1, you will choose your individual pathway through the broader period or thematic modules of Part 2 and a wide range of specialised options in Part 3. You can, in effect, design your own degree by picking the modules that appeal most to you.

We are proud of the range of options available to our students. Many of our modules are unique to Reading because they reflect the research specialisms of our expert teaching staff.

How our degrees work


Your first year will teach you new methods for getting to grips with literature, including literary theory and criticism, textual analysis and comparison. First year modules include:

Genre and Context

Poetry in English

Research and Criticism

Twentieth Century American Literature

What is Comparative Literature?

Introduction to Creative Writing

Thinking Translation: History and Theory

Persuasive Writing



During your second year, you will be able to pick from a wide range of modules covering key historical periods, themes and concepts. Here at Reading we allow you to choose all six of the modules in your second year, giving you a real breadth of experience and expertise. Our current second year modules include:

The Business of Books

Contemporary Literature

Chaucer and Medieval Narrative

Critical Issues

Introduction to Old English

Modernism in poetry and fiction

Early Modern Theatre Practice

The Romantic Period


Victorian Literature

Writing America

Writing, Gender and Identity

The Romantic Period

Renaissance Texts and Cultures

Communications at work

Writing and Revising

Languages and literature in the media

Lyric voices

Languages and literature in education

Restoration to revolution



In your third year you delve further into specialised fields of expertise. You will also have the opportunity to carry out a personalised research project in the form of your dissertation. This project is on a subject of your choice and will involve individual supervision and mentoring from one of our academic team. Below are just some of the huge variety of third-year modules that we offer.

American Graphic Novels

Nigerian Literature

American poetry

Children's literature

Contemporary American fiction

Decadence and degeneration: The literature of the fin de si├Ęcle

Editing the Renaissance

Family romances: Genealogy, identity and imposture in the nineteenth-century novel

James Joyce

Margaret Atwood

Class matters

19th-century American fiction

Shakespeare on film

'Eyes on the prize': Literature of the US Civil Rights movement

Wordsworth, Coleridge and their circle

The writer's workshop: studying manuscripts

Alfred Hitchcock

Black British fiction

Classical and Renaissance tragedy

Colonial explorations


The Eighteenth-century novel: Sex and sensibility

Eighteenth-century text, culture and education

From Troy to Camelot: Medieval romance

Holocaust fiction

Irish poetry after Yeats

Lord Byron and his contemporaries

Modern and contemporary British poetry

Modern and contemporary British poetry

Packaging literature

Renaissance travel drama

Renaissance women writing

Samuel Beckett

Shakespeare and gender

Victorian and Edwardian children's fantasy

Victorian literature and the history of medicine

Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury

Writing global justice

Writing the North American wilderness

Writing Women: nineteenth-century poetry

Fiction and ethnicity in post-war Britain and America