United Kingdom, Cambridge

Literature Summer Programme

when 7 July 2019 - 3 August 2019
language English
duration 4 weeks

This programme gives you an experience of 'Cambridge English', with its emphasis on small group teaching, close attention to the actual text, and radical inquiry into why literature matters. Enthusiastic lecturers draw on writings of many different kinds and periods to offer a rich variety of voices and approaches. The programme attracts a mix of students of all ages, from the widely read to keen beginners, to study world-renowned poets, playwrights and novelists.

The academic programme
• Four courses (two per week)
• Series of plenary lectures: Relationships
• Evening talks
• Contact hours: up to 49 hours per term

Programme description
Our lecturers are chosen for their expertise and their enthusiasm for the subject. Participants from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds sharing views makes the programme a stimulating and rewarding experience for all.

"The Literature Summer Programme allows us to enjoy the experience of reading and thinking together as we immerse ourselves in inspiring words and powerful ideas."
Dr Jenny Bavidge, Joint Programme Director, Literature Summer Programme


You choose one morning and one afternoon course per week, each has five sessions. The maximum class size is 25 participants.

TERM I (7 – 20 July)

Week 1:
9.15am – 10.45am
Ga1 - King Lear
Ga2 - Being human: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go
Ga3 - Tears and laughter: the Irish comic novel
Ga4 - Poetry and protest: William Blake and TS Eliot

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Ha1 - The tragic South: literature of the American South
Ha2 - An introduction to the Bloomsbury Group
Ha3 - 21st-century fiction and the ghosts of Modernism
Ha4 - Understanding poetry

Week 2:
9.15am – 10.45am
Gb1 - John Keats: 'Beauty that must die'
Gb2 - Great short stories of the 20th century
Gb3 - A journey through James Joyce's Ulysses
Gb4 - Criminality in 20th-century film: The Third Man, The Ladykillers and Psycho

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Hb1 - American nightmares: Nabokov's Lolita and Roth's The Plot Against America
Hb2 - Loves in literature
Hb3 - Female perspectives on World War I: Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby
Hb4 - Understanding poetry

TERM II (21 July – 3 August)

Week 1:
9.15am – 10.45am
Gc1 - Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
Gc2 - An introduction to Aeschylus, father of Greek tragedy
Gc3 - Jane Austen: light and shade
Gc4 - The Anglo-American encounter with Italy: Henry James and EM Forster

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Hc1 - The philosophy of literature: morality, creativity and understanding
Hc2 - Reading Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse and A Room of One's Own
Hc3 - Power and wonder in Shakespeare's The Tempest
Hc4 - Three great Young Adult fantasists: Pullman, Rowling, Nix

Week 2:
9.15am – 10.45am
Gd1 - WB Yeats: 10 great lyric poems
Gd2 - An introduction to Homer: the Iliad and the Odyssey
Gd3 - Dangerous books for girls? Fairy tales past and present
Gd4 - Facing the fear: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Hound of the Baskervilles

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Hd1 - The philosophy of literature: what can we learn from literary fiction?
Hd2 - Reading Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway and The Years
Hd3 - Shakespeare and self-knowledge
Hd4 - Three great British fantasists: Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake, JRR Tolkien

Plenary lectures
Our speakers will explore the factors - social, biographical, and intellectual - that go into the making of literary works, including how writers respond to works by predecessors and contemporaries. We shall also investigate how characters in fiction work upon one another, and how literature influences its readers' behaviour and ideas.

Evening talks
Eminent speakers will present a variety of general interest talks. These are shared with students on our other programmes.

Course leader

Dr Fred Parker
Dr Jenny Bavidge

Target group

We welcome those coming from any background with a real commitment to the subject. Many courses offer introductions to new subject areas, others are a little more specialised. Classes allow for close and continuing discussion, and you will be expected to have done substantial preparatory reading before you arrive.

Credits info

The University of Cambridge does not use a credit system for the awarding of its internal degrees, and cannot award credit directly for its International Summer Programmes. Students wishing to obtain credit as a result of our evaluation should consult their own institutions in advance about the acceptability of the Summer Programmes evaluation for credit purposes.

Fee info

GBP 0: See official website