'Love Through the Ages' wider reading recommendations? Watch

Drewkman
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I'm in the middle of my year of A2 English Literature, which is based on wider reading around the theme of 'Love Through the Ages'. My teachers' selections so far have been things like Jane Austen and Restoration comedies. Although I'm learning to appreciate them, I've found them difficult to get into, and I'm starting to worry about the exam this summer. I think the best thing to do would be to invest some time in texts I think I can get into. Could anyone help point me in the right direction?

I think the main reason I'm not gelling with the current material is that it seems petty and trivial to me. I'd like something a bit more intense and serious. A couple of things I've thought about so far have been Ian Mcewan's novel A Child in Time and Brian Friel's play Translations, and I might revisit George Orwell's 1984. Something from school that I have really enjoyed is The Great Gatsby. 'Love Through the Ages' doesn't necessarily mean hardcore classic romance; it just has to contain some meaningful comment on any kind of love (parental, familial, Platonic, humanitarian romantic...). Bonus points if its historical setting is relevant to that. Poetry, prose and drama all welcome.

Thanks very much, and please don't think I'm dismissing the Jane Austen/Restoration stuff out of hand... I'd just like some things I can get stuck into more easily stuck in the middle of an essay, alongside it. The course is AQA English Literature A if that's relevant.
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Cassius
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http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/u...ves/index.html

I've been making my way through these 20 books throughout the past year (they're all pretty short). They're a selection of the greatest love stories, from Virgil, through the ages, to Updike. The 20 books span 20 authors, from Tolstoy to Stendhal to Nabokov to Casanova. Though you may not use them, they might be useful for getting you going in the right direction, or giving you some indication of where you want to go.

Hope this helps
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by Drewkman)
I'm in the middle of my year of A2 English Literature, which is based on wider reading around the theme of 'Love Through the Ages'. My teachers' selections so far have been things like Jane Austen and Restoration comedies. Although I'm learning to appreciate them, I've found them difficult to get into, and I'm starting to worry about the exam this summer. I think the best thing to do would be to invest some time in texts I think I can get into. Could anyone help point me in the right direction?

I think the main reason I'm not gelling with the current material is that it seems petty and trivial to me. I'd like something a bit more intense and serious. A couple of things I've thought about so far have been Ian Mcewan's novel A Child in Time and Brian Friel's play Translations, and I might revisit George Orwell's 1984. 'Love Through the Ages' doesn't necessarily mean hardcore classic romance; it just has to contain some meaningful comment on any kind of love (parental, familial, Platonic, humanitarian romantic...). Bonus points if its historical setting is relevant to that. Poetry, prose and drama all welcome.

Thanks very much, and please don't think I'm dismissing the Jane Austen/Restoration stuff out of hand... I'd just like some things I can get stuck into more easily stuck in the middle of an essay, alongside it. The course is AQA English Literature A if that's relevant.
Because it's love through the ages, you do have to have knowledge of a range of texts from a broad sweep of history. The extracts on the exam papers can be very challenging, so you need to be familiar with texts from all periods, if you can, and your teachers are probably getting you to do the older stuff to make sure you're prepared for things being complex on the day. Don't forget that you can use texts from your AS study as part of your wider reading, and the syllabus allows literature in translation also. As for recommending texts, I'm not sure where your tastes lie. If you want intense and serious, that's possibly a cue to have a bash at Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, but I'm not quite sure from your post whether you are wanting modern stuff. What texts are you doing for your coursework? (I teach this, btw.)
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by Cassius)
http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/u...ves/index.html

I've been making my way through these 20 books throughout the past year (they're all pretty short). They're a selection of the greatest love stories, from Virgil, through the ages, to Updike. The 20 books span 20 authors, from Tolstoy to Stendhal to Nabokov to Casanova. Though you may not use them, they might be useful for getting you going in the right direction, or giving you some indication of where you want to go.

Hope this helps
Very useful post. Thank you.
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aspirinpharmacist
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Well, of course I'm totally obsessed with Elizabeth Gaskell, so if you want some industrial revolution type stuff, read Mary Barton or North and South. Can't recommend them enough.
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RunningHam
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(Original post by Drewkman)
I'm in the middle of my year of A2 English Literature, which is based on wider reading around the theme of 'Love Through the Ages'. My teachers' selections so far have been things like Jane Austen and Restoration comedies. Although I'm learning to appreciate them, I've found them difficult to get into, and I'm starting to worry about the exam this summer. I think the best thing to do would be to invest some time in texts I think I can get into. Could anyone help point me in the right direction?

I think the main reason I'm not gelling with the current material is that it seems petty and trivial to me. I'd like something a bit more intense and serious. A couple of things I've thought about so far have been Ian Mcewan's novel A Child in Time and Brian Friel's play Translations, and I might revisit George Orwell's 1984. Something from school that I have really enjoyed is The Great Gatsby. 'Love Through the Ages' doesn't necessarily mean hardcore classic romance; it just has to contain some meaningful comment on any kind of love (parental, familial, Platonic, humanitarian romantic...). Bonus points if its historical setting is relevant to that. Poetry, prose and drama all welcome.

Thanks very much, and please don't think I'm dismissing the Jane Austen/Restoration stuff out of hand... I'd just like some things I can get stuck into more easily stuck in the middle of an essay, alongside it. The course is AQA English Literature A if that's relevant.
We did 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' which at first doesn't seem as though it would really be applicable, but surprisingly it is. There is a lot of different examples of love in that book, it is definitely more serious, modern and a lot different from Jane Austen. Hope that helps!
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Drewkman
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Thanks a lot everyone – I really appreciate it! The gears are beginning to grind.

(Original post by carnationlilyrose)
Because it's love through the ages, you do have to have knowledge of a range of texts from a broad sweep of history. The extracts on the exam papers can be very challenging, so you need to be familiar with texts from all periods, if you can, and your teachers are probably getting you to do the older stuff to make sure you're prepared for things being complex on the day. Don't forget that you can use texts from your AS study as part of your wider reading, and the syllabus allows literature in translation also. As for recommending texts, I'm not sure where your tastes lie. If you want intense and serious, that's possibly a cue to have a bash at Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, but I'm not quite sure from your post whether you are wanting modern stuff. What texts are you doing for your coursework? (I teach this, btw.)
My coursework will be on Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility and A Streetcar Named Desire (which we're about to make a start on). I read Jane Eyre and snippets of Wuthering Heights at AS, and though it's good that I can bring in those and my other AS texts, I don't want to overload the examiner with Victorian literature (that was our topic). I suppose that modern texts are probably what I'm after, since they're the ones I'm most confident in studying independently; I quite like the idea of reading something classical as well though. I generally go for novels which are sociopolitical in one way or another; 1984 is one of my favourites ever. I'm also a huge science nerd and in love with things like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (I don't think I'll be bringing that up in the exam though, much as I'd enjoy it); in general I enjoy stories where technology plays an important role or serves as an interesting backdrop. But I'd like to think I'm open to anything. One of the main reasons I chose and enjoy English is that it broadens my horizons and teaches me to appreciate things I'd otherwise be ignorant or dismissive of. That's worth it even if it means I'm initially unwilling. Thank you for your advice!
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by Drewkman)
Thanks a lot everyone – I really appreciate it! The gears are beginning to grind.



My coursework will be on Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility and A Streetcar Named Desire (which we're about to make a start on). I read Jane Eyre and snippets of Wuthering Heights at AS, and though it's good that I can bring in those and my other AS texts, I don't want to overload the examiner with Victorian literature (that was our topic). I suppose that modern texts are probably what I'm after, since they're the ones I'm most confident in studying independently; I quite like the idea of reading something classical as well though. I generally go for novels which are sociopolitical in one way or another; 1984 is one of my favourites ever. I'm also a huge science nerd and in love with things like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (I don't think I'll be bringing that up in the exam though, much as I'd enjoy it); in general I enjoy stories where technology plays an important role or serves as an interesting backdrop. But I'd like to think I'm open to anything. One of the main reasons I chose and enjoy English is that it broadens my horizons and teaches me to appreciate things I'd otherwise be ignorant or dismissive of. That's worth it even if it means I'm initially unwilling. Thank you for your advice!
Well, I'm in agreement about giving Hitchhiker a miss, fond though I am of it. Your coursework texts are an eclectic mix. I'm wondering what your title will be. Love sends you a bit mad, I guess. If you're a sci fi fan, your options are a bit limited as they don't tend to overlap with love in my very limited experience, but you might try The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It might not be to your taste (it isn't to mine) because it's a bit feminist and boys don't always feel comfortable with that, but it is set in a futuristic world. If we leave aside sci fi for a bit, I'd give some thought to On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (him again) because it's short and graphically about sex. Three or four of my male students have chosen to do it for their coursework in the past few years, so it works for them. In practice, for this exam you are much better off knowing a few multi-purpose texts really well than having a thousand one line quotations in your memory which will only fit into a narrow range of contexts. In any case, the focus in the exam should always be on the texts on the paper, with wider reading brought in as backup, not as the end of the paper in itself. So that lets you off the hook a bit! Let me know if there's anything else you want to know.
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Dunc1
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If you feel up to it, you could have a look at some Chaucer and notions of fin'amor.
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TeamPingu
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I did this for A Level although my choices were Othello, The Crucible and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Good wider reading options include the following:

-The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
-The Crucible- Arthur Miller
- All My Sons- Arthur Miller
-Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
Trainspotting- Irvine Welsh
- Lady Chatterley's Lover- D.H. Lawrence
- Sons and Lovers- D.H. Lawrence
- The Glass Menagerie- Tennessee Williams
- She Walks in Beauty- Lord Byron
- My Love is like a red, red rose- Robert Burns
- American Psycho- Brett Easton Ellis
- Poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- The Color Purple- Alice Walker
- To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
- Marabou Stork Nightmares- Irvine Welsh
- A Doll's House- Henrik Ibsen
- A Woman of No Importance- Oscar Wilde

I think this should keep you busy Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions!

P.S. It's also vital you get some more poetry down you as well as you have to use them for wider reading examples.
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dan673
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(Original post by TeamPingu)
I did this for A Level although my choices were Othello, The Crucible and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Good wider reading options include the following:

-The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
-The Crucible- Arthur Miller
- All My Sons- Arthur Miller
-Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
Trainspotting- Irvine Welsh
- Lady Chatterley's Lover- D.H. Lawrence
- Sons and Lovers- D.H. Lawrence
- The Glass Menagerie- Tennessee Williams
- She Walks in Beauty- Lord Byron
- My Love is like a red, red rose- Robert Burns
- American Psycho- Brett Easton Ellis
- Poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- The Color Purple- Alice Walker
- To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
- Marabou Stork Nightmares- Irvine Welsh
- A Doll's House- Henrik Ibsen
- A Woman of No Importance- Oscar Wilde

I think this should keep you busy Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions!

P.S. It's also vital you get some more poetry down you as well as you have to use them for wider reading examples.
why would you say about Trainspotting? i've read it before but might revisit it if you say it's valuable. i guess how you can compare the obsession (and devastating withdrawal) of drug addiction to love "addiction"? plenty to talk about context too i suppose
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