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A Reading List for English Applicants

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    (Original post by GameGod)
    I suppose that's completely true, and is also a major strength of the book which I somehow failed to consider when I read it (being someone of a deeply tragic bent of mind , I focused on the satire).
    Don't patronise me, OK?:erm:
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    Hmm... I'm applying for English & Spanish at Oxford for 2012 entry, but the problem is that I only have started serious reading since the beginning of summer. I do genuinely enjoy the subject, but all the other English applicants at my school run circles around me in terms of books that they have read.
    I also seem to have fallen into the trap of talking about cliched topics, Romanticism, dystopian literature, because I really did enjoy them, but after having read them, I realise that maybe it sounds a bit false...
    Also reading through the 'expected oxford reading list'... only read 12 of those books which doesn't help me feel any better either :/ Anyone in a similar situation?
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    (Original post by digestives)
    Also reading through the 'expected oxford reading list'... only read 12 of those books which doesn't help me feel any better either :/ Anyone in a similar situation?
    What 'expected Oxford reading list'?:confused:
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    What 'expected Oxford reading list'?:confused:
    The one that was posted on page 2. Probably utter rubbish, but it doesn't exactly raise your hopes
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    (Original post by digestives)
    The one that was posted on page 2. Probably utter rubbish, but it doesn't exactly raise your hopes
    Oh that. That's just a list of suggestions which LostHorizons' friend seems to have misunderstood as mandatory reading.
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    Just to clear this up, does anyone have a list which could be construed as "basic", i.e. a mandatory reading list? Because these lists vary a lot in size.

    (Original post by hobnob)
    Don't patronise me, OK?:erm:
    I wasn't patronising you ...
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    (Original post by GameGod)
    Just to clear this up, does anyone have a list which could be construed as "basic", i.e. a mandatory reading list? Because these lists vary a lot in size.
    I don't think there's anything which you could really call mandatory. Just read what you like and what interests you.
    I wasn't patronising you ...
    Well, all I said was that I had read it and enjoyed it while I was still at school, yet you leapt straight to the conclusion that I must have read some kiddie version and that my reading of it must have been unsophisticated (unlike your own, of course) and lacking a proper 'grasp'. In my book that's patronising. You weren't the only precocious child on the face of the planet, you know...:sigh:
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    I don't think there's anything which you could really call mandatory. Just read what you like and what interests you.
    OK, thanks.

    (Original post by hobnob)
    Well, all I said was that I had read it and enjoyed it while I was still at school, yet you leapt straight to the conclusion that I must have read some kiddie version and that my reading of it must have been unsophisticated (unlike your own, of course) and lacking a proper 'grasp'. In my book that's patronising. You weren't the only precocious child on the face of the planet, you know...:sigh:
    I never came to the conclusion that you must have "read a kiddie version"! I was under the impression that you were treating it (be it in "kiddie version" or fully fledged form) as a comedy, not because I just assumed that you're unsophisticated (I try never to assume this of anyone), but because your post suggested to me that you had read it as a comedy. Let's see; was Don Quixote meant purely as a comedy? No, Cervantes' purpose for it was probably as a satire which can also be read as a comedy (presumably), which is why it is often considered the one of the best works of literature ever written. You did say "I thought it was great fun", and if Don Quixote is read as a satire (considering that the alternative - reading it as a comedy - would no doubt be great fun) I wouldn't choose the words "great fun" to describe it. Let's agree to disagree here, OK? I just didn't get the first impression from your post that you had read it as a satire; that doesn't mean I don't believe you, or that there's anything wrong with you having read it as a satire. It just means that it wasn't clear to me when I read your post. So, sorry.
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    (Original post by GameGod)
    I never came to the conclusion that you must have "read a kiddie version"! I was under the impression that you were treating it (be it in "kiddie version" or fully fledged form) as a comedy, not because I just assumed that you're unsophisticated (I try never to assume this of anyone), but because your post suggested to me that you had read it as a comedy. Let's see; was Don Quixote meant purely as a comedy? No, Cervantes' purpose for it was probably as a satire which can also be read as a comedy (presumably), which is why it is often considered the one of the best works of literature ever written. You did say "I thought it was great fun", and if Don Quixote is read as a satire (considering that the alternative - reading it as a comedy - would no doubt be great fun) I wouldn't choose the words "great fun" to describe it. Let's agree to disagree here, OK? I just didn't get the first impression from your post that you had read it as a satire; that doesn't mean I don't believe you, or that there's anything wrong with you having read it as a satire. It just means that it wasn't clear to me when I read your post. So, sorry.
    See, that's where we differ, then. I tend to apply that phrase quite loosely to texts / authors I like for a variety of reasons. Oh well, never mind.
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    (Original post by GameGod)
    I never came to the conclusion that you must have "read a kiddie version"! I was under the impression that you were treating it (be it in "kiddie version" or fully fledged form) as a comedy, not because I just assumed that you're unsophisticated (I try never to assume this of anyone), but because your post suggested to me that you had read it as a comedy. Let's see; was Don Quixote meant purely as a comedy? No, Cervantes' purpose for it was probably as a satire which can also be read as a comedy (presumably), which is why it is often considered the one of the best works of literature ever written. You did say "I thought it was great fun", and if Don Quixote is read as a satire (considering that the alternative - reading it as a comedy - would no doubt be great fun) I wouldn't choose the words "great fun" to describe it. Let's agree to disagree here, OK? I just didn't get the first impression from your post that you had read it as a satire; that doesn't mean I don't believe you, or that there's anything wrong with you having read it as a satire. It just means that it wasn't clear to me when I read your post. So, sorry.
    But humour is a major component of Horatian satire, to say that you can't read Don Quixote as a satire and find it funny just doesn't make any sense. It wouldn't be a Horatian satire if it wasn't funny. (I am aware of the fact that I'm opening the door for a discussion about what kind of satire DQ is, but the theory that it's mostly a Horatian satire enjoys the most popular support so let's just say that most readings of DQ as a satire imply reading it as a Horatian satire.) See, one of the reasons why it's useful to read books like Don Quixote at pre-undergrad (instead of waiting to acquire in depth theoretical knowledge) is because they make you learn about a wide variety of stylistic devices, literary techniques, modes, genres, etc - which is something on which there isn't that much emphasis put in schools.
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    (Original post by GameGod)
    Let's see; was Don Quixote meant purely as a comedy? No, Cervantes' purpose for it was probably as a satire
    I think satire is meant to be funny.

    Anyway, Don Quixote might be a bit too hard work for some, but exploring is what it's all about & it's best to explore in the best books, surely. I don't think it's worth putting anyone off any great books simply for it being "advanced".
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    (Original post by MSB)
    I think satire is meant to be funny.

    Anyway, Don Quixote might be a bit too hard work for some, but exploring is what it's all about & it's best to explore in the best books, surely. I don't think it's worth putting anyone off any great books simply for it being "advanced".
    I did say is Don Quixote meant "purely as a comedy", and there is a difference between a satire and a "pure comedy"; personally, when I read Don Quixote, I focussed on the satirical elements which I believe made it a great work of fiction rather than the comedic ones, which is why I thought it might not be "fun" for pre-undergraduate students. It's entirely possible some, or even most, others would have a different take on it. I wasn't trying to put anyone off it, just giving a warning that it might be difficult to analyze for A-Level students (I tend to analyze any book I read as I go along, but that's just me).
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    (Original post by MSB)
    I think satire is meant to be funny.

    Anyway, Don Quixote might be a bit too hard work for some, but exploring is what it's all about & it's best to explore in the best books, surely. I don't think it's worth putting anyone off any great books simply for it being "advanced".
    I've owned it for a long time and still not read it. It is perpetually near the bottom of the pile, so to speak. I'm sure it will eventually be worth a read but there are just many things I would rather spend 750 odd pages reading.

    Have you considered collecting all the suggestions into one post under some broad time-period/type categorizations? You probably don't have the time but it seems like the logical step
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    Have you considered collecting all the suggestions into one post under some broad time-period/type categorizations? You probably don't have the time but it seems like the logical step
    If I changed the list at all I would not be able to resist changing it a lot more than just it's order, and I'm not sure if I have the time. Maybe I will at some point. (Sort of the same way you feel about reading Don Quixote.)
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    (Original post by MSB)
    If I changed the list at all I would not be able to resist changing it a lot more than just it's order, and I'm not sure if I have the time. Maybe I will at some point. (Sort of the same way you feel about reading Don Quixote.)
    I understand and don't blame you as it would be pretty effort intensive to do it. It remains a good launching point for anyone as it stands anyway
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    Does anyone know if it would be possible to get into a postgraduate english course with a degree in an unrelated subject (in my case politics and international relations)? I plan on taking a 30 credit module at undergrad from the open university... I've not finished my degree yet but I'm averaging a 2.1... I want to be an English teacher...What could you use to get around the lack of an English degree or is it not possible?
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    Love this thread, it's given me a lot of confidence!
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    (Original post by hr30)
    Love this thread, it's given me a lot of confidence!
    Good.
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    Cracking List. Massively recommend Bennett & Royle, Andrew Bennett lectures at my uni, he's amazing.
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    Fifty Shades of Grey

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Updated: August 15, 2014
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