Ways into advanced literary study

Course Dates: 16/09/19 - 08/06/20
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Jenny Baynes
Patricia Sweeney

From Shakespeare to Emily Dickinson, from Charles Dickens to Ibsen, Henry James and Virginia Wolf, this course will enhance your appreciation of literary genres and styles from different periods, developing the rigour and skills of reading and writing that belong to a higher level of study. Includes three Saturdays.


What is the course about?

From Shakespeare to Emily Dickinson, from Charles Dickens to Ibsen, Henry James and Virginia Wolf, this course will enhance your appreciation of literary genres and styles from different periods, developing the rigour and skills of reading and writing that belong to a higher level of study. Includes three Saturdays.

This course is taught by Jenny Baynes and Patricia Sweeney.

What will we cover?

Do you enjoy reading and discussing books, but want to gain a wider grasp of the history and development of English literature? Are you perhaps thinking of studying literature at a higher level, and want to gain knowledge and confidence about what that study might entail? This course is for enthusiastic readers who want the enjoyable challenge of meeting some significant poems, plays and novels that contribute to a traditional but also changing sense of what studying literature is about. The course will encourage close reading of texts, acquaintance with the wider social and historical picture, and awareness of different ways of reading, in order to arrive at often differing interpretations. An important aspect of the course is the development of confidence in the writing of critical essays (one in term one and one in term three) and a seminar presentation and discussion in term three.

The course is structured in units which give access to five centuries of (mainly English) literature through the medium of poetry, prose and drama.The central units are concerned with Drama (reading 'Othello' and 'A Doll's House'), Romanticism (including poetry by Blake, Wordsworth & Keats), the Victorian age (including 'Hard Times'), late 19th century fiction (Henry James) to modernist literary works (including T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf). A poetry anthology is provided by the course tutors. You will be introduced to different theoretical approaches within literary studies, and will be able to explore those that you find stimulating.

Term 1 16 September – 9 December 2019 (half term 21/10/19)
Term 2 13 January – 30 March 2020 (half term 17/2/20)
Term 3 27 April – 8 June (5 weeks)
Saturday Tutorials (11am – 2pm): 16 November 2019, 7 March & 28 March 2020.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

By the end of the course you will have met a wide and contrasting range of poetry, prose and drama
You will have considered how literature responds to historical, social and cultural conditions
You will have seen how different approaches can be used in the reading of literature
You will have practised the skills required of a good student of literature at higher level, including seminar discussion and the writing of two critical essays.
A completion certificate will outline what you have covered on the course.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to a wide range of applicants, who will have differing intentions in following this course of study. You will need to be ready to read, discuss and write about literature willingly and with enthusiasm, and should have at least a grade B in GCSE English or equivalent. Those with higher level or professional qualifications in other subjects are welcome. Admission to the course is by online assessment, to ascertain that you will benefit from the course and that you will contribute positively.

You will receive a completion certificate from Build which will outline what you have covered on the course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Small group and whole class discussion, led by the tutor, will be central to this course. In addition to the class sessions, there will be three Saturday tutorials from 11am -2pm, which will be devoted to skills, particularly of essay writing. These tutorials will allow you to take full advantage of developing your study skills.

The writing of the two essays (one in each term) and preparation for seminar presentation will also take up time outside class. There will be between 2-3 hours of preparation for classes each week.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will be provided with a poetry anthology and copies of short stories and contextual handouts. You will need to provide a file for these materials, for reference.

Texts you will need to buy or borrow: (in order of study)
Othello by William Shakespeare (Penguin Classics, 2015)
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (Methuen Student Edition, 2008)
Hard Times by Charles Dickens (Penguin Classics, 2003, ed. Kate Flint)
Washington Square by Henry James
Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov (Penguin Classics)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (Penguin Classics)
You will be able to pay for this course in instalments. Please ask enrolments for details.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please look for other literature courses under History, Culture and Writing at bildutrapagaran.info.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 8 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This is a fantastic course for anyone who loves literature. The teachers are incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic - I really can’t recommend it enough!
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 22/05/2019)
An in-depth study of poetry, drama and prose supported by enthusiastic and excellent teachers. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to go that bit further.
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Review by CW / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
Unbelievably good course. Outstanding teaching, I learnt so much. Hard to express the high quality of everything...
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Review by Cali / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
Well structured and thought-provoking course, taught by enthusiastic and encouraging mentors. A fabulous instroduction to a higher level of literary study.
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Review by Barbara / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
Gentle but thought-provoking discussion in the classroom, supported by strong support materials and the expert guidance of the tutors. Also the opportunity to submit two essays for detailed feedback. A hugely enjoyable and engaging course, and I'd recommend to anyone.
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Review by Possum / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
An inspirational course covering drama,poetry and novels,run by 2 inspiring and dedicated teachers.......worth every penny and more!!!
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Review by Michael / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
This course gave me exactly what I wanted, an introduction to various literary genres and some really thought provoking discussion. The course leaders were greatly committed to providing very good quality teaching and used a variety of stimulating approaches.
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Review by Short Story Sister / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
One of the best courses I have ever taken, which gave me a 'tree' on which to hang my various bits of literary experience - plus a lot more experience to hang on the tree. The course materials, which included contextualising material from the period of the literary work being studied, were excellent and helpful to my understanding of the work itself. The tutors could not have been more thorough in their preparation and provision of materials or more enthusiastic in the delivery of of the sessions. Their love for the subject shone through and inspired us all. A most instructive and enjoyable two-term course. Be prepared to work hard between the sessions but don't let that put you off. Your efforts will be amply rewarded.
Course Rating
Review by Maggie / (Posted on 20/06/2017)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

This course has now started

Course Code: HLT120

Full Mon+Sat, eve, 16 Sep - 08 Jun '20

Duration: 31 sessions (over 39 weeks)

Full fee: £439.00
Senior fee: £439.00
Concession: £220.00

Call us to check your level, see if you can still join the course or to discuss other suitable courses

020 7492 2652

[email protected]

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.



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