Reading Suggestions

To prepare for your first year with us, you can make a start by dipping in to the Norton Anthology of English Literature (Volumes A,B,C and Volumes D,E,F) edited by Stephen Greenblatt and others, 10th edition (New York: Norton, 2018).

You can also start reading Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, by Andrew Bennett (who teaches in our Department) and Nicholas Royle (5th edition, London: Routledge, 2016). This is a set text for ‘Critical Issues’ in your first term and you will find it a useful book for essay-writing throughout your degree.

The key text for ‘Approaches to Poetry’ is John Lennard, The Poetry Handbook: A Guide to Reading Poetry for Pleasure and Practical Criticism (Oxford, 2006).

And for some facts and fiction relevant to Bristol, some of them by Bristol-based writers, try these:

Literary and Classic Fiction

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (Vintage, 2012)

Fanny Burney, Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World (1778)

Angela Carter, Love (1971) – the third and best of Carter’s ‘Bristol Trilogy’, with Shadow Dance (1966) and Several Perceptions (1968)

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883)

Contemporary and Popular Fiction

Stephen Benatar, Wish Her Safe At Home (New York Review Books, 2010)

Melvin Burgess, Junk (Andersen Press, 1996)

Helen Dunmore, Birdcage Walk (Windmill Books, 2017)

Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall (Borough Press, 2013)

Philippa Gregory, A Respectable Trade (1995; HarperCollins, 2006)

Sanjida Kay, Bone by Bone (Corvus, 2013)

Emily Koch, Keep Him Close (Harvill Secker, 2020)

Christopher Wakling, The Devil's Mask (Faber and Faber, 2012)


Peter Aughton, Bristol: A People's History (Carnegie, 2007)

Charlie Revelle-Smith, Weird Bristol: The Ultimate Guide to a City’s Secrets (2018)

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