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UndiscoverdSelf
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#1
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has anyone due to start an english degree at oxbridge (really cambridge, cos its better) had their reading lists yet? if so, what was on them?

i may have raised this question before- if i reraise it maybe there'll be someone new able to answer
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Werther
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#2
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I think there are faculty lists that are handed out once you get there, and that colleges give their own recommendations for over the summer. The list I was sent is an "introduction", and designed as useful preparation.

Nothing too surprising:
- Classical texts to understand allusions (Homer, Virgil, Ovid's Metamorphoses + Plato's Republic), as well as the Bible (quite difficult to read in entirity, as it's longer than 'War and Peace' and wasn't really written with narrative craftsmanship in mind... I think that Oxford World's Classics does an edition printed on full pages, not in columns, which might be easier on the eyes).
- For Mediaeval and Renaissance, some critical texts (I'm not bothered about these right now - I'd rather digest as much primary material as possible) + the Riverside editions of Chaucer and Shakers.
- Definitely read 'Paradise Lost' over the summer, as it's very important, and this will save time once there.
- Lots of 18th and 19th Century novels - Fielding, Sterne + usual Victorian suspects. Although there's a lengthy list of these, it's nowhere near comprehensive.
- Important foreign works, e.g. 'Madame Bovary' + 'Crime and Punishment'
- James Joyce and co. for Modernism (studied in first year), esp. Ulysses
- T S Eliot's selected essays

For poetry, my list says just to read the Penguin Book of English Verse - just to give a general overview. It does end by saying that really, it's best to read whatever you can, as it's bound to be useful.
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UndiscoverdSelf
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#3
Report Thread starter 14 years ago
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(Original post by Werther)
I think there are faculty lists that are handed out once you get there, and that colleges give their own recommendations for over the summer. The list I was sent is an "introduction", and designed as useful preparation.

Nothing too surprising:
- Classical texts to understand allusions (Homer, Virgil, Ovid's Metamorphoses + Plato's Republic), as well as the Bible (quite difficult to read in entirity, as it's longer than 'War and Peace' and wasn't really written with narrative craftsmanship in mind... I think that Oxford World's Classics does an edition printed on full pages, not in columns, which might be easier on the eyes).
- For Mediaeval and Renaissance, some critical texts (I'm not bothered about these right now - I'd rather digest as much primary material as possible) + the Riverside editions of Chaucer and Shakers.
- Definitely read 'Paradise Lost' over the summer, as it's very important, and this will save time once there.
- Lots of 18th and 19th Century novels - Fielding, Sterne + usual Victorian suspects. Although there's a lengthy list of these, it's nowhere near comprehensive.
- Important foreign works, e.g. 'Madame Bovary' + 'Crime and Punishment'
- James Joyce and co. for Modernism (studied in first year), esp. Ulysses
- T S Eliot's selected essays

For poetry, my list says just to read the Penguin Book of English Verse - just to give a general overview. It does end by saying that really, it's best to read whatever you can, as it's bound to be useful.
thanks! will get started then
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blissy
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Report 14 years ago
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Each college tends to cover different papers in different orders and you will find that you do most of the readeing for the paper in the preceding vac (e.g. We covered the Renaissance last term, so I read over Christmas). Your college will probably send a reading list out over Easter which will suggest texts for the paper you will be doing in the first term. It might also include some literary theory books (that could be anything from "A Glossary of Literary Terms" by M.H.Abrams or "How to Read a Novel" to something a little more involved).

Which language will you be doing for your paper 7 - or will you be doing "language for literature" i.e. English language study? I suggest getting a text book to work from to improve your language skills because I only realised this term how competent they expect you to be. "Le Francais en Faculte" was suggested to me.

You will probably want to cover the "core texts" for each period (either before, or when you come up) This will mean that you will be able to go to more lectures and UNDERSTAND what they're on about!:

Paper 2 (1500 -1700):

More, Utopia (in the Three Early Modern Utopias edition by Oxford World Classics).
New Oxford Book of Sixteenth Century Verse, Selton to Surrey edited by Emrys Jones.
Ben Jonson, Five Plays by Oxford World Classics.
Sir Philip Sidney, Defence of Poesy and Astrophil and Stella.
Milton, Paradise Lost.
Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World.

Paper 3 ( 1688-1847)

Anthony Ashley Cooper, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times
Alexander Pope, the foruth book Dunciad (1743)
David Hume, Enquiry concerning human understanding
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
William Wordsworth, the 1805 Prelude
Jane Austen, Persuasion

Paper 4 (1830-Present)
Charles Dickens, Bleak House
Tennyson, In Memoriam
T.S.Eliot, Selected Poems
Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse
Samuel Beckett, Collected SHorter Plays
Iain Sinclair, Lights Out for the Territory

Paper 5 (Shakespeare)
The "gloss" text is Hamlet. Nearly everyone does this in Easter term in the first year when all the lectures are on. Forget Shakespeare for the moment.

Paper 6 (Lit Crit)
No core texts for this, just read the lit theory and crit books they suggest, if any. I personally suggest The New Critical Idiom : Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form by Philip Hobsbaum because they will expect you to know all this already. In the first year you do mainly "pure" prac crit which needs no preparation really.

Other than that, read whatever interests you because there is a lot of free choice and you will want to know what you like before you come up! You aren't expected to know much. Our supervisors have to explain all the mythology/classics to us and they don't expect us to know everything.. yet (as they say in the prospectus).

Whatever you do, don't read criticism of the works. Just get a feel of everything. You will regret speding too long on prep work over the summer when you could be having fun when you get here and realise just how immature you are academiclly. Read for pleasure (with a little bit of purpose) but don't go all-out.

(p.s. I didn't copy and paste all that )
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UndiscoverdSelf
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#5
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thanks for your reply. lots of exciting books! however, will take your advice and not read them all before i come up... actually i'm going to be in brazil for most of the summer so i won't get much of a chance. good to know what's coming though...

do you get to choose which books to cover for paper 7? i'm doing german a-level but am pretty schlecht- i thought it might help to carry on doing language classes when i'm at cambridge. do you think this will be necessary?

thanks v much for your help
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blissy
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#6
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German core texts are:

Goethe, Faust Part I
Brecht, Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder

There's also an online German anthology of poetry that you won't be able to access until you come up, so don't worry about that!

I only got a C for my French A Level and I'm doing OK. Some people only have GCSE but they arrange with their DoS (Director of Studies) what to do about that. I just muddle my way through and do some extra French work when I can fit it in/be bothered
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