English Personal Statement
To me, English holds great appeal in its power to provide an inexhaustible area of research: no matter how many times novels, plays or poems are studied, they can still reveal new secrets to a canny reader. It is a subject which can be entirely personal - all works of literature are subject to the reader’s own imagination and can therefore be approached in a variety of different ways, provided the author’s original intentions are, at least, considered.
While I had a keen interest in literature before my ‘A’ level course, this introduced me to the field of literary criticism, which I have found to greatly enhance my depth of reading, regardless of the work in question. In addition to the studies of the novel as an art form by David Lodge and E. M. Forster in The Art of Fiction and the controversial Aspects of the Novel (which have made me pay more consideration to the composition of each novel I read, taking the views of both author-critics into account), I have used Alfred Tennyson: the Critical Legacy to aid my understanding and appreciation of the poet’s work, through examining the reception and criticism it has received over the years. To the same ends, I have read and drawn comparisons between Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and the Idylls of the King, allowing me to realise the extent to which Tennyson tailored the Arthurian legends to fit his own Victorian audience, dwelling on ideals and issues which were central to their society, whilst producing an enduring work which has supplanted its predecessor in many ways. This was particularly apparent in the RSC’s theatrical production of Le Morte d’Arthur, in which aspects of Tennyson’s poetry still seemed to shine through.
English has always appealed to me as a subject through which I can express my own interests – although I enjoy reading and analysing a wide range of literary works, I often seize the opportunity to examine literature which is related to another passion of mine. For example, through my admiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the art and ideals of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, I have been led to Rossetti’s poetry, which he deemed to be of equal value to his art, and with which he examines similar themes and sentiments. I have found Rossetti’s poetry to be unusually compelling, due to his exceptionally vivid imagery and ‘inner standing point’ technique, as well as the use of Christian (and often overly Catholic) concepts by one whose own faith was unorthodox. Moreover, the juxtaposition between his passion for beauty and the despair he has been left with by love, both for the deceased Lizzie Siddal and the unavailable Jane Morris, lends his work a striking poignancy.
Performing in and studying theatre both inside and outside school has introduced me to a variety of plays and has allowed me to take performance into account during study and analysis. After performing an extract from Equus for a LAMDA acting exam, I developed a particular fondness for the plays of Peter Shaffer: in particular, I was captivated by both the descent into darkness through envy and the examination of divine guidance in human life displayed in Amadeus.
Through this widened awareness of the vast field the study of English covers, I have realised that it is impossible to cover much of it with only my own knowledge and powers of analysis, which is why I wish to study it with the aid of others at university.
Universities Applied to:
- Magdalen College, Oxford (English Language and Literature) - Offer from Mansfield College (AAA) Firm
- Royal Holloway (English Literature) - Offer (AAB) - Insurance
- Exeter (English Literature) - Offer (AAA) - Declined
- Bristol (English Literature) - Rejected
- St. Andrew's (English Literature) - Rejected
- English Literature (A2) - A*
- History (A2) - A*
- Theatre Studies (A2) - A*
- Classical Civilisation (A2) - A
Reviewing sections of your textbook by summarizing and reciting information meaning??