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.  

Skip to courses

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! 

Enrol on a literature class near you  

Whether you prefer online learning from the comfort of your own home, or you want to attend an in-person class in your local community, we have a huge amount of flexibility to suit how you learn best. This means that you can pick the environment that’s right for you, giving you that piece of mind that you can learn in a place that you feel comfortable with. 

The support you’ll receive 

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.  

Please enter your postcode

In order for us to give you accurate results for your courses, please click on the Search options and enter your postcode and the mile radius for your search.

Refine search

How you'll learn

Your location

Please enter your postcode or town for your search in the boxes below.

We have defaulted the search to ten miles, but you can change this number in the box as you wish.

Sort by start date

Choose to sort the course start date in ascending order (furthest away dates first) or descending (most recent dates first)

Results per page

Days

Other Filters

Part of day
Level of study
Availability
Search for the branch name/location, without adding branch e.g. Barnet

Literature: British Colonial & Post Colonial Literature 10

This course will explore the following texts: Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad; Short Stories by Kipling; The Siege of Krishnapur - JG Farrell; The Jewel in the Crown - Paul Scott, and The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje. The course will track the decline of Empire and the concomitant social and political uncertainty, the relationship between the colonial and the colonised Other, and develop themes relating to identity and the subjective nature of historical revision. There will be ample scope for discussion of at times difficult and controversial debates, and we will focus on the continuing relationship that exists between contemporary writers and later writers vis-a-vis issues of guilt and responsibility.

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 09/09/2024 -
Mon 18/11/2024
Times:
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Duration:
11 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Stephen Smith
Course code:
Q00017456
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £74.00

Literature: Victorian Literature Through the Decades - The 1830s

During this friendly course you will have the opportunity to consider a number of novels that were published in the 1830s as the start of an exploration of literature published through the decades of Victoria’s long reign. In order to get some sense of how literature was beginning to cross borders in this decade, you will look at works by English authors and also a French and an American writer. The following works will be studied: Old Man Goriot (Honoré de Balzac, 1835); The Vicar of Wrexhill (Frances Trollope, 1837); The Pickwick Papers (Charles Dickens, 1837); The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (Edgar Allan Poe, 1838).

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 10/09/2024 -
Tue 10/12/2024
Times:
2:30pm - 4:30pm
Duration:
14 sessions
Location:
Exeter Community Centre (Exeter)
17 St. Davids Hill
Exeter
EX4 3RG
Tutor:
Greta Depledge
Course code:
Q00016877
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £109.20

British Literature 1980 - 2011 (Part 1)

On this course we will examine the following novels: The Stranger’s Child - Alan Hollinghurst. Last Orders - Graham Swift. A Pale View of Hills - Kazuo Ishiguro Innocence - Penelope Fitzgerald The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps - Michel Faber. 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:
Thu 12/09/2024 -
Fri 22/11/2024
Times:
2:15pm - 4:15pm
Duration:
10 sessions
Location:
Friends Meeting House (Sutton)
10 Cedar Road
Sutton
SM2 5DA
Tutor:
Stephen Smith
Course code:
Q00017587
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.00

Literature: 19th Century Russian Literary Classic - War and Peace

This course will explore Leo Tolstoy’s classic nineteenth-century novel War and Peace. The novel was originally published in the 1860s and provides readers with a panoramic study of early nineteenth-century Russian society. This novel is regarded as not only one of the finest examples of Russian literature but also one of the world’s greatest novels. We will consider the fragmented publication of the novel and its social and political context. The novel’s historical setting is the French invasion of Russia in 1812 which was seen as a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars and a period of patriotic significance to Russia.

Course Information

Dates:
Thu 12/09/2024 -
Thu 12/12/2024
Location:
Online
Course code:
Q00017327
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee:
Free

SPƵվ Membership

For just £15 a year, you can:

  • Join our popular, award-winning weekly lecture series,
  • Access an archive of over 100 past lectures,
  • Get priority online and phone booking for autumn courses (England only),
  • Receive our Highway magazine and access back issues,
  • Attend our members’ annual conference.

Just add us to your basket to sign up today!

Membership Information

Duration:
12 months
Fee:
SPƵվ Membership

Literature: British Literature in the Belle Epoque.

This course will explore four novels: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James; Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame; Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence; The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, and the work of one poet, Thomas Hardy, specifically Poems 1912-1913, a record of his reactions to the death of his first wife. We will discuss the end of Empire, the rise of Modernism and Feminism and psychological study, and the political situation leading up to 1914 and changing perceptions of individual and national identity. There will be ample opportunity for discussion and a chance to reassess what may in some instances be familiar texts.

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 16/09/2024 -
Mon 25/11/2024
Times:
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Duration:
11 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Stephen Smith
Course code:
Q00017457
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
7 places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £74.00

Literature: Strange Worlds in Twentieth Century Fiction

This course will discover five texts ranging across twentieth century European and British literatures. The texts are: Stories from the City of God by Pier Paolo Passolini; Baron Bagge by Alexander Lernet-Holenia; Forbidden Notebook by Alba de Cespedes; The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps by Michel Faber and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. These texts include essays, novellas and novels are by turn extravagant fantasies and profound social commentaries on the last unlovely century. There will be ample scope for discussion of issues such as class identities, social and political identities and the desire to create stories to explore the nature of the mutable worlds of the twentieth century.

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 16/09/2024 -
Mon 25/11/2024
Times:
10:00am - 12:00pm
Duration:
11 sessions
Location:
Online
Tutor:
Stephen Smith
Course code:
Q00017462
How you'll learn:
Online
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £74.00

Literature: Dickens and the struggles of life

For Charles Dickens, writing and worrying went hand in hand. His books were knitted together out of his own anxieties and struggles. And yet, despite the weight of all these worries, his novels are never depressing. To read Dickens is to glimpse the possibilities of new life. We all probably intend to read Dickens ‘one day.’ We all know his characters from various films and TV adaptations, so perhaps the time has finally come to get stuck into a major work. On this eight-week course we will read ‘Little Dorrit.’ We will also study some of Dickens's essays, short stories, and letters. You may already be a Dickens enthusiast, or a complete newcomer to his work. Either way, I hope that you will join us to explore a writer whose books still have the power to move and enlighten us today.

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 16/09/2024 -
Mon 11/11/2024
Location:
Krowji (Redruth)
West Park
Redruth
TR15 3AJ
Course code:
Q00013086
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £67.20

Literature: Crime through Time

For the last century, crime fiction has been the most popular and lucrative of literary subgenres. But this commercial success belies a formal inventiveness and experiment, a constant drive to ‘make it new’, which has long been central to the genre. In this course we will read six crime novels (and three short stories) which chart the development of crime fiction. As well as considering each of these novels in isolation from week to week, we will also use the eight week course to ask ourselves: how has crime fiction changed through the years, and how has it remained the same? No previous knowledge of crime fiction is necessary – everybody is most welcome!

Course Information

Dates:
Mon 16/09/2024 -
Mon 11/11/2024
Times:
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Duration:
8 sessions
Location:
Emmanuel Church Aylsham (Aylsham)
Cawston Road
Aylsham
NR11 6BX
Tutor:
Joseph Williams
Course code:
Q00018193
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £58.80

Literature: Selected plays by Brian Friel

Plays of Brian Friel will be studied, read and workshopped. The group will discuss his stage devices and how his plays might be produced. We shall look at aspects of how he creates characters and tells epic stories on stage that resonate with current modern theatre audiences. His plays use intriguing theatrical metaphors and poetic structures to reflect on the ways in which Ireland has evolved, resisted and grown over its history. Friel’s writing produces powerful imagery on-stage that take audiences into the heart of the issues he explores. Over ten weeks, two to three plays will be discussed and workshopped to appreciate the various theatrical devices that Friel often uses.

Course Information

Dates:
Tue 17/09/2024 -
Tue 26/11/2024
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:
Q00017604
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.00

British Literature in the 1950s

In this course we will discuss and analyse the following authors and their works. These are: Look Back in Anger - John Osborne. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark. The Vet's Daughter - Barbara Comyns. A Voice Through A Cloud - Denton Welch. A Kind of Loving - Stan Barstow. These texts are an eclectic blend of plays, novels and the autobiographical in the case of Denton Welch, an eccentric and now largely forgotten. There will be great scope for discussion and the voicing of opinions, and you will be encouraged to develop your own theories and interpretations in a supportive atmosphere.

Course Information

Dates:
Wed 18/09/2024 -
Wed 27/11/2024
Times:
10:30am - 12:30pm
Duration:
10 sessions
Location:
Duke Street Church
Quadrant Road
Richmond
TW9 1DH
Tutor:
Stephen Smith
Course code:
Q00017580
How you'll learn:
In venue
Availability:
10+ places remaining
Status:
Available
Fee range
Free to £100.00