Cambridge, United Kingdom

Literature Summer Programme

when 5 July 2020 - 1 August 2020
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. The following have been invited to teach courses:

TERM I (5 – 18 July)

Week 1:
9.15am – 10.45am
Ga1 - The plays of Tom Stoppard Dr G Frederick Parker
Ga2 - Reading Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse and A Room of One's Own Dr Claire Nicholson
Ga3 - Tears and laughter: Samuel Beckett and Irish comic fiction Dr Andy Wimbush
Ga4 - Passion and repression in English fiction: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and D H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley’s Lover Mr Simon Browne

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Ha1 - Magic, faeries and gods: A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest Mr Valentin Gerlier
Ha2 - An introduction to The Canterbury Tales Dr Scott Annett
Ha3 - Moby-Dick: an introduction to a Great American Novel Dr Andy Wimbush
Ha4 - Three great British fantasists: Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake, J R R Tolkien Dr John Lennard

Week 2:
9.15am – 10.45am
Gb1 - Variations on the tragic in modern drama Dr G Frederick Parker
Gb2 - Virginia Woolf’s early fiction: The Voyage Out and Night and Day Dr Claire Nicholson
Gb3 - Style, text and context in James Joyce's Dubliners Dr Mark Sutton
Gb4 - Corruption and evil in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Mr Simon Browne

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Hb1 - Spies and assassins in fiction through the ages Dr Erica Wickerson
Hb2 - Exploring poetry in the British landscape Dr Holly Corfield Carr
Hb3 - Plotting girls: looking at Little Women Dr Jillian Caddell
Hb4 - Frankenstein/s then and now: Mary Shelley's fable and its legacies Dr John Lennard

TERM II (19 July – 1 August)

Week 1 (19 - 25 July 2020)
Group Gc: 9.15am - 10.45am
Gc1 - Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist Mr Clive Wilmer
Gc2 - James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and other early writings Dr Mark Sutton
Gc3 - Short stories of Katherine Mansfield Dr Claire Nicholson
Gc4 - Facing the fear: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Hound of the Baskervilles Mrs Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie

Group Hc: 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Hc1 - Philosophy of literature: literary fiction and morality Dr Jon Phelan
Hc2 - Dream poetry: from Chaucer to Bunyan Dr Lotte Reinbold
Hc3 - Nature and justice in King Lear Dr Paul Suttie
Hc4 - Understanding poetry (Double course: to be taken with Hd4) Dr John Lennard

Week 2 (26 July - 1 August 2020)
Group Gd: 9.15am - 10.45am
Gd1 - Charles Dickens: Great Expectations Mr Clive Wilmer
Gd2 - Catullus and love in Rome Dr Charles Weiss
Gd3 - An introduction to the Bloomsbury Group Dr Claire Nicholson
Gd4 - Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion Mrs Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie

Group Hd: 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Hd1 - Philosophy of literature: literary fiction and understanding Dr Jon Phelan
Hd2 - An introduction to Sophocles Dr Charles Weiss
Hd3 - Deeds and consequences in Macbeth Dr Paul Suttie
Hd4 - Understanding poetry (Double course: to be taken with Hc4) Dr John Lennard

Plenary lectures
All participants also attend the morning plenary lecture series.

The lecturers will examine a range of issues related to the theme of Interpretations. 'Interpretation' needn't only mean decoding, but also the kind of thing that happens when an actor interprets a role, or a musician performs a score. Exploring a range of literary works, these talks will highlight how we find meaning as we read, what is at stake between different interpretations, and how one writer's work may interpret another's.

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