Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Any current students here?

    Just have a few questions specifically about the English Lit course. What are the reading lists like? And what books do we actually need to buy? Everyone always says that there are really only a few books that are that essential, and the others can easily be borrowed, or the relevant parts photocopied. But I might have a look round and see whether I could get the really essential ones cheaply on the internet to save time when I start!

    Also......is the course interesting? Difficult? What are the lectures like?

    Any information you could give me would be great.

    Thanks!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You will be sent a reading list after exam results day which will detail the exact copies you need. Though they are available once you get here from either 2nd year students or the Uni bookshop, the department does want you to do prep reading - mostly from the Norton Anthologies. It depends on which tutor you get for Critical Issues and Approaches to Poetry (your first two units) as to what texts you do - some of my own texts included 'Heart of Darkness', 'Frankenstein,' 'The Great Gatsby', 'Paradise Lost', various single poems found within the Nortons and often single chapters from novels (Wuthering Heights, 1984, some Joyce, Chekov... it goes on). These can be found on the Departmental website before you come up, but not for a while yet.

    As for literary criticism, I should imagine they'll get you to buy Bennet and Royle again, since the guy who co-wrote it is a lecturer here.

    The course IS interesting, and certainly stretched my pre-concieved ideads. My first critical issues tutorial will remain with me forever - the Dr stormed in, sat down, lit a match, stared around at us madly and blew it out. He then read from the match box thus: "Strike away from body. Keep away from children". The next hour was spent discussing whether this was a poem or not, and if it WAS, then what did it mean? Good times....

    You're going to have to accept that most academics are completley insane, doubly so in English.

    The lectures are vaired, since they follow no particular course (they're not linked to tutorials). Some very very good, some not. One day might be spent having Latin meter explained to you, the next, the Prof might ask you all to stand up and sing Blake's Jersualem at the top of your voices (Yes, this DID happen!). I think it was meant to emphasise how poetry can infiltrate a national conscience. It also demonstrated that none of us could sing!

    Any questions, give us a bell.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hmm... I was hoping Bristol seminars and tutorials might help to bring me out of my shell a bit, and it looks like they really will!!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    You can't help but be brought out, since every member of the group has to make a comment every tutorial.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Does anyone know if Bristol are sending out reading lists yet? Or any idea of any really hefty texts that might be on there that I can get reading over the summer? Thanks
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    if i remember correctly, you get the reading list after you make the offer.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    are you actually expected to make serious headway into the reading list before term starts as well as have bought the books...?
    also, what kind of books are on it - is there a lot of theoretical stuff? are the novels generally old, modern or a mixture?

    thanks!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by symun)
    if i remember correctly, you get the reading list after you make the offer.
    My offer is unconditional and I haven't had anything from the department. Should I give them a ring?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    There's no need to ring them - the Dept is capable of keeping track of it's own students, so don't worry! The reading lists will all be sent out in due course. Plus. the books you study in the first term depand largely on your tutors - who haven't been decided yet, since results aren't out. When they are, the Dept website is the place to go (www.bristol.ac.uk/english), you'll need to look at Critical Issues and Approaches to Poetry tutorial groups and reading lists.

    The general reading list is just the book they want everyone to get i.e. both Norton Anthologies, Bennet and Royle and some English grammer books - they'll probably recommend Riverside Shakespeare as well, but don't get this since most tutors ask you to buy individual copies (No, I don't know why the reading list therefore has this on! :rolleyes: )

    What else can I tell you about the course....hmmmm. Obviously Critical Issues is very theoretical, but generally English at Bristol is very literary, with a preference towards the older stuff than more modern stuff - hence 2nd year being medieval for at least 50% of the time. if you get the chance, DO OLD ENGLISH BECAUSE IT'S GREAT. There were only 9 of us this year...

    My best advice now, which I wish I had know, would be to get the Nortons and actually read as much of it as you can. Try buying 'A very short introduction to literary theory' and reading it - things like deconstructionsim etc take a little getting used to. Hmm what else? Generally chill out - they ease you in, and you won't have to do your first essay for a couple/thee weeks or so after the start of the course.

    Questions? Comments?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    That's great, thanks! Can you give me the full titles of both the Norton Anthologies? I tried looking for them on Amazon but could only find American ones.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol I and II.

    However, I would avoid buying them yet (unless you can find them cheaply) as reading lists are subject to change at the whim of the All Powerful Fuhrer-in-Chief, Dr Archibald (Head of Department don't ya know). Though I would put money on them being on it, there might be certian editions they want you to get which differ from my years (again, though, I doubt)

    Basically I'm covering my back so you don't buy them then shout at me when they're not there.

    Once more, I reiterate that the 'very short intro' to literary theory is worth a buy. You can probably get the other grammar/theory books off 2nd and 3rd years. In fact, the grammar books are only really needed if you feel you don't know enough of it well enough. Yes, you WILL lose marks for mistakes like its/it's, effect/affect, and (one that caught me out) semi-colons with no following complete sentance.

    Not surprisingly, when doing an English degree, your fellow non-English friends will ALWAYS turn to you when they have a problem with phrasing/spelling/grammar. Be prepared to be perfectly able to explain, with easy to follow puppet movements, what a verb is to a confused maths student, and to explain to historians quite WHY you can't use comma splices, no matter how pretty they look (Yes, I've had to do these both this year).

    (*cough* do Old English *cough*)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Tell me about old English.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Ah, Old English (or even Eald Englisc). In the 2nd - 3rd Term you make a choice between Contemporary Writing or Old English to study alongside Shakespeare. Contemporary, obviously, is novels and poetry written post 1945 --- you can find this years reading lists here (http://www.bris.ac.uk/english/underg...ear1/lectures/)

    Now, the average year size in Bristol is only 65 - it's a small Department, despite it's world-renown and AAA offers. 50+ of those people choose Contemporay ever year, leaving only a few of us 'special' people to study Anglo-Saxon. Basically, it's Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, Fight at Finnburgh etc in the original language. It's a very challenging option, which requires quite advanced language AND literary skills, so it's not for the faint hearted, but it's so rewarding. It opens up some other units in 2nd and 3rd year which you can't do if you don't do it ... and it's just different. Who else can say they are one of only 9 people in a whole university doing a subject?

    Examples of Old English:

    Hwæt! Ic swefna cyst secgan wylle,
    hwæt me gemætte to midre nihte,
    syðþan reordberend reste wunedon!

    which translates as

    Behold! The best of dreams I shall tell,
    what I dreamt in the midnight,
    after mortal men upon couches dwell.

    For a laugh, it's good. Plus it makes Lord of the Rings more interesting since you can understand so much more of what Tolkien was on about.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    What if you want to do contemporary writing AND old English?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    you also have the choice of taking an open unit, don't you? do many people take those...what are they like?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    No, you can't do both - you must choose your detiny!

    Yes, Open Units can be taken by anyone who can prove they're qualified enough to study that option (e.g. A levels, GCSEs, any other recognised form - thugh for things like Theology, Philosophy etc you don't have to have a formal qualification). You can stick to literature (My mate did Russian literature in the Dept of Russian) or can go all out and do something random like physics...!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    hi simon, ellie here

    just wanted to second the opinion on old english. i did it, it is hard work, but its also very satisfying. the tutor who teaches it has real insights to share about the whole morality of that period which is why i found it particularly interesting - and we had great discussions. i'd also like to appeal to 2005 freshers to do old english, cos i want to do an OE option in my third year and this will only happen if we bolster up numbers now!

    i'm just looking for info on david hopkins, can't remember being lectured by him - need to know if he's properly hardcore do-all-the-work or not. his reading list is immense! i'll never get that all read. not even vaguely. ah well!

    i wouldn't reccommend the short intro to lit theory, tis bland and obtuse, found bennet and royle much meatier. each to their own i guess...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Yeah I was thinking of the 3rd year option - it depends whether i prefer Middle English this year.

    Bennet and Royle is pants (sounds literary criticism there, eh?) I had John Lyon for my poetry tutor, and he ripped it apart, pointing out all the flaws - but then, he is a bit strange.

    Dunno about Hopkins. I have Archibald for Lit 1, so that's me working hard right there.... :s
 
 
 

3,366

students online now

800,000+

Exam discussions

Find your exam discussion here

Poll
Should predicted grades be removed from the uni application process

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.