Our BA History and English Literature gives you the opportunity to study two subjects that speak closely to each other.
Just as poems, plays and novels can offer historians different ways to look at the past, historical documents can also be read as texts to be interpreted as works of narrative.
For both English Literature and History we have modernized and diversified our curriculum to reflect our changing world. Within our research-led courses you’ll study canonical texts and periods of history familiar to a traditional English or History degree but also voices and histories that reflect our modern, globalized 21 st century experiences.
You’ll start this joint degree with a core module that will teach you the skills of close analysis of literary texts. Reflecting on poetry by Danez Smith and Sylvia Plath, Caryl Churchill’s play Cloud 9 as well as work by Shakespeare and Zadie Smith, you’ll discover new ways of thinking about what literature is, and how to read it.
Also in your first year you’ll work through the Historian’s Toolkit, which helps you make the transition from school to university-level study. You will be introduced to an array of primary sources. You’ll also gain insights into historiography, to understand what influences historians, why they write the way they do and how they interact with one another.
Throughout your course, the common link between the two disciplines will be your analysis and interpretation of texts. The skills you’ve learned in your close reading of fiction are in many respects the same as those you will apply to your analysis of historical documents.
One of your second-year core English Literature modules is period-based, focusing on the 18th century, and offers a good example of how English and History are complementary. Your study of 18th century print culture and the emergence of the novel will be enhanced by your understanding of the politics of the day.
Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too.
In your final year your courses will cover themes aligned to our academics’ research interests. You’ll have the chance to follow your interests and shape your studies, which could include African American literature, young adult fiction, or literary adaptations. Your History modules may focus on a particular region, such as Europe, or period, such as the 20th century.