Explore literature through the ages.

We've hand-picked a variety of English literature courses for you to choose from. Whether you are interested in twenty-first-century literature and culture, the tales of Babylon, or historical topics such as race and gender, we have a broad selection of literature that’s sure to suit a wide variety of tastes and interests.  

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You might be a newcomer to the world of literature and the great works of authors past and present, or perhaps you consider yourself somewhat of an expert. Whichever group you fall into, our friendly classes are the perfect environment to develop your skills and knowledge. Building on a curiosity or passion is what we do best! 

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Our dedicated tutors will guide you through the different genres and time periods in English literature, helping you to develop your critical reading and analysis skills - perfect if you're a beginner.   

Our learning experience is one of the things that sets us apart, with many of our learners going on to achieve incredible things. You’ll learn at a pace that’s comfortable for you, with a friendly supportive tutor on hand to answer any questions you might have.  

Start your journey today and learn all about the works of Agatha Christie, Shakespeare and many, many more.  

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Literature: Victorian Literature Through the Decades - The 1840s

During this course we will consider a wide range of novels that were pubished in the 1840s as a continuation of an exploration of literature published through the decades of Victoria’s long reign. We will consider a range of novels by both male and female writers: Barnaby Rudge (Charles Dickens 1841); The Luck of Barry Lyndon (W M Thackeray, 1844); Sybil (Benjamin Disraeli, 1845); Agnes Grey (Anne Bronté, 1847); Shirley (Charlotte Bronté, 1849). The 1840s were a prosperous time for many but but this decade was also known as the Hungry Forties. The 1840s also saw the growth of the realist novel.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 07/01/2025 -
Tue 01/04/2025
Times:
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Duration:
13 sessions
Location:
Exeter Community Centre (Exeter)
17 St. Davids Hill
Exeter
EX4 3RG
Tutor:
Greta Depledge
Course code:
Q00016886
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.80

British Novels in the 70s and 80s (Part 2)

This course will consider and analyse the following authors and their texts. These are: Strange Meeting - Susan Hill. So Long Hector Bebb - Ron Berry. Flaubert’s Parrot - Julian Barnes. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro. Innocence - Penelope Fitzgerald. These texts will provide a window into the different regions of Britain during two decades of major change in the social fabric and political nature of Britain, though several of our texts will trace these changes back to the earlier part of the twentieth century, and in doing so, we will encounter themes of identity, class and the decline of Empire. There will be much to prompt discussion and challenge our assumptions.

Course Information

Dates:
Wed 08/01/2025 -
Wed 19/03/2025
Times:
2:15pm - 4:15pm
Duration:
10 sessions
Location:
Rose House (London)
70 Barnes High Street
London
SW13 9LD
Tutor:
Stephen Smith
Course code:
Q00017376
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.00

British Literature 1980 - 2011 (Part 2)

On this course we will examine the following novels: On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (2004) Day - A.L. Kennedy. Affinity - Sarah Waters. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes. These texts will take us inside contemporary British fiction, and earmark those authors who have contributed to the evolution of a distinctive voice in British fiction in the last fifty years, from the years of Thatcher, New Labour to the present. We will explore each writers’ techniques and themes, and how they address the themes of British identity. Discussions will be lively with plenty of opportunities to voice your opinions.

Course Information

Dates:
Wed 08/01/2025 -
Wed 19/03/2025
Location:
Friends Meeting House (Sutton)
10 Cedar Road
Sutton
SM2 5DA
Course code:
Q00017594
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.00

Literature: Gissing and Zola – further studies in 19th century naturalist fiction

This course will look at a range of novels by late 19th century naturalist writers George Gissing and Emile Zola. Zola is seen as the leading exponent of French naturalist fiction and Gissing is often classified as an English naturalist writer. Naturalism is a literary genre that considers human character as being determined by environment, social conditions and evolution. Naturalism is similar to realism in that both genres focus on social commentary, they reject romanticism, but naturalism emphasises scientific objectivism. The novels we will study are Zola’s: The Earth (1887); La Bête Humaine (1890); L’Assommoir (1877) and Gissing’s: The Odd Women (1893); The Nether World (1889); The Whirlpool (1897).

Course Information

Dates:
Thu 09/01/2025 -
Thu 03/04/2025
Times:
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Duration:
13 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Greta Depledge
Course code:
Q00017844
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £81.60

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12 months
Fee:
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Literature: Selected plays by Aristophanes

Aristophanes (c.450-388 BCE) writing in the Fifth Century is regarded as the key author in Ancient Greek comedy. His plays will be studied, read and workshopped. We shall look at how his plays might be put on, and staged today. His plays often have structures similar to a sketch show and he uses many comic devices still popular with comedians today. His plays are a little rude though (sometimes very rude). We shall look at how he creates his comic characters and situations. We shall discuss the issues that he wants to write about and consider if these are still relevant to a modern audience trying to make sense of the political and social world today. Over ten weeks, two to three plays will be discussed and workshopped to appreciate the various theatrical devices that Aristophanes often uses.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 14/01/2025 -
Tue 25/03/2025
Times:
10:00am - 12:00pm
Duration:
10 sessions
Location:
The Greenleaf Centre (Walthamstow)
67-69 Greenleaf Road
Walthamstow
E17 6QP
Tutor:
Thomas Crowe
Course code:
Q00017605
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.00

Literature: American Literature - On Land & Sea

This course will explore some of the classics of American Literature. You will study a range of poetry and prose by writers both ancient and modern, including Moby Dick by Herman Melville, My Ántonia by Willa Cather and other works by Maya Angelou and Cormac McCarthy. You will also explore how American Literature relates to other art forms, including film, photography and music.

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 20/01/2025 -
Mon 17/03/2025
Times:
10:30am - 12:30pm
Duration:
9 sessions
Location:
Redruth Community Centre (Redruth)
Foundry Row
Chapel Street
Redruth
TR15 1AN
Tutor:
Mark Crees
Course code:
Q00016867
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £37.00

Literature: Detective Fiction in Society and Culture

In these lectures Stephen Wilkinson will introduce students to the history of the detective genre and discuss its relationship to the development of capitalism, urbanisation and consumerist commodity culture. Students will be encouraged to read detective fiction as a prism through which societies, their anxieties and underlying psycho-political natures can be understood. Using the examples from the UK, US and Cuba students will gain an insight into the ways in which popular literature gives shape and form to our lives.

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 24/02/2025 -
Mon 10/03/2025
Times:
10:30am - 12:30pm
Duration:
3 sessions
Location:
Friends Meeting House (Berkhamsted)
289 High Street
Berkhamsted
HP4 1AJ
Tutor:
Guest Speaker
Course code:
Q00018325
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £30.00

Literature: Six Classic Novels you can read in Six weeks

Each week we focus on a classic work of fiction, reading and discussing key passages. The texts include short novels which can be read in one week, and longer novels which we’ll study over two weeks. The course is organised chronologically and spans over 200 years, from the mid-19th century to modern times. We begin with Jane Eyre and end with Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. We’ll share and debate interpretations, sharpen our critical and appreciative faculties, understand what fiction can tell us about the society and culture that produced it, and, hopefully, be inspired to read other works by the writers featured on the course.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 25/02/2025 -
Tue 01/04/2025
Times:
10:30am - 12:30pm
Duration:
6 sessions
Location:
Enfield Baptist Church (Enfield) (Enfiel
Cecil Road
Enfield
EN2 6TG
Tutor:
Brandon Robshaw
Course code:
Q00017423
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £72.00

Literature: Ann Radcliffe to Jane Austen - Female Gothic and Literary Homage

This short course will provide the opportunity to study two novels by female authors that are thoughly connected in the minds of many people despite being published 26 years apart by two very different authors. Throughout Northanger Abbey Jane Austen makes many references to Ann Radcliffe’s classic gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho. These two novels, then, are connected in the minds of many readers and this course will provide the opportunity of looking at these two novels side-by-side. We will begin with Radcliffe’s 1794 novel The Mysteries of Udolpho and then look at Austen’s much loved Northanger Abbey, published posthumously in 1817.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 29/04/2025 -
Tue 10/06/2025
Times:
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Duration:
7 sessions
Location:
Exeter Community Centre (Exeter)
17 St. Davids Hill
Exeter
EX4 3RG
Tutor:
Greta Depledge
Course code:
Q00016876
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £50.40