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Personal statement Oxford, English lit

I am drafting a PS hopefully to apply to Oxford for English lit+Lang.(Currently summer of yr 12) Does anyone know whether it is a good idea, or not, to mention Non-English texts such as Russian literature? At a talk, a lecturer said the course is Literature in English so I assumed it was ok to do that but not 100% sure as the book I’m considering (Crime and punishment) is a translation ..?. Any advice much appreciated:smile:
I seem to recall reading a successful Oxbridge personal statement that included Russian literature. Perhaps talk about translation, if you're interested in that?
I can't see how it'd be a problem! :smile:
While formally the course is literature in English (i.e. literature written in English originally) and there aren't that many options for studying literature in translation I gather, it's still reasonable to read other literatures in translation and discuss them in the context of literary works written originally in English. Inevitably other literatures would have had influences on literature in English, to varying extents (certainly one can't understate the influence of some genres of classical Greek literature for example).

Equally Oxford will realise not everyone is applying exclusively to their course, and other courses may have slightly less narrow definitions of English literature :tongue:

So it won't harm things and you can still use some of your literary analysis skills there. The main thing to bear in mind is in the course you will be needing to do quite detailed literary criticism with reference to e.g. grammatical constructions used, specific syntax of lines etc, which you can't really do with translated work because it's usually impossible to translate all of that as well as the meaning (and hence reading literature in translation restricts what kinds of literary criticism you can do, to an extent).
(edited 1 year ago)
I have an acquaintance who has just finished his A-Levels and mentioned his reading of Russian literature in a PS for English Lit. He applied for Cambridge, received an interview, but unfortunately not a place - if it were such a problem I doubt he would've made the interview stage
I have an Oxford English Lit and Lang offer and briefly mentioned Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ in my Personal Statement to flesh out a topic I was discussing (Doubles + Doppelgängers in literature). It wasn’t brought up in any of my interviews, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker.
Literature is literature after all: even if it’s translated.
From my understanding, Old English is studied on the course, which I guess would technically also count as a translation.
Original post by revert2
I have an Oxford English Lit and Lang offer and briefly mentioned Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ in my Personal Statement to flesh out a topic I was discussing (Doubles + Doppelgängers in literature). It wasn’t brought up in any of my interviews, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker.
Literature is literature after all: even if it’s translated.
From my understanding, Old English is studied on the course, which I guess would technically also count as a translation.


You do learn Old English in the course though and so read them in the original as well I gather - it is also English, technically :wink:

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