Literature - Online

Literature Courses in London

Explore our exciting range of Literature courses, from Literary History, to specialist courses in Fiction, Poetry and Drama. We offer introductory and in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, where you can revisit classic texts and discover new writers.

Study in-person or online from the comfort of home, with classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students and share your passion for literature as part of a learning community. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long.

Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many also teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion for fiction, poetry and drama through presentations, readings, interactive discussion, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit literary community; others are inspired to progress onto university study.

Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.

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  1. Beowulf and the Origins of English Literature 700-900
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    After Conversion brought writing to England, Christian monks scribed poems and other literature in manuscripts that were often composed in an earlier, pre-literate culture. It is widely held that Beowulf is a product of this period of Old English writing, between 700 and 900, but most of the poetry is found in manuscripts dated centuries later, around the year 1000. There is thus much speculation as to the circumstances surrounding the composition of earliest literature in England, and this course explores the creativity of those poets and scribes, and the world in which they lived.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  2. The Art of the Essay: from Walter Benjamin to Claudia Rankine
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will go on a journey to investigate the art and form of the essay through a variety of women essayists from the early 20th century to the present day. We will explore the essay’s hazy boundaries between memoir, confession, nature writing, elegy, sermon, polemic and mystical/religious experience through key women essayists including Virginia Woolf, Simone Weil, Audre Lorde, Clarice Lispector, Kathleen Jamie, Anne Carson, and Claudia Rankine.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
  3. The present and the past in historical fiction: Maggie O’Farrell, Pat Barker and Sara Collins
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Why are we drawn to historical fiction? What do we want to discover? This course investigates historical fiction written in the twenty-first century and how it reimagines past societies for contemporary readers. Reading novels and selected extracts, we’ll explore the strategies, pleasures and challenges of historical fiction: how it can bring unknown lives into the light and ask us to think again about the present. Includes The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £79.00
  4. The Complete Ishiguro Part Two: 2000-2021
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the world of Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro as we focus on the second twenty years of his writing career. Books include When We Were Orphans, Never Let Me Go, The Buried Giant and Klara and the Sun. We also take a look at his ventures into song lyrics and film screenplays.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00
  5. Wild Justice: power and revenge in English Renaissance Tragedy
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course explores English Renaissance Tragedy through Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, , Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy. We will consider how these plays represent revenge and power in relation to authority (individual, state and religious); death; grief; gender and sexuality; language - and theatricality itself.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  6. Contemporary Scottish Women's Fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore and discuss a selection of contemporary fictional texts by Scottish women writers, including Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon and Ali Smith’s Hotel World. We will think about key themes and issues, such as nationhood, women’s contribution to remapping the nation through its fictional imagining and relationship beyond its borders, social class, gender, sexuality, and journeys.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00
  7. Japanese Feminist Literature
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Japanese literature in translation has often been dominated by male writers such as Haruki Murakami. Increasingly, however, books written by female authors are now receiving English-language translations and critical acclaim, as seen with the publication and success of Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman last year. This 6-week online course explores some of the most exciting literature translated in the last few years, which give an insight into the experiences of women in modern Japan.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00
  8. The Power of Language: the emergence of Middle English Literature 1100-1300
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Around 1100, after the Norman Conquest, English language and literature went underground. The powerful elite didn’t speak it, and they definitely didn’t write it. This course is about the resistance movement of vernacular-speaking lower-class poets and authors who kept English alive as a literary language, setting the scene for the great re-emergence of Middle English literature that culminated in the works of Chaucer and Gower.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00
  9. Ways into Literature: Shakespeare to the Romantics
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Come on a journey through literature from Shakespeare to the Romantics! Delve into the complex mind of Hamlet to understand his actions and inaction; explore seduction and faith in two Metaphysical poems by Andrew Marvell and George Herbert; embrace the Romantic revolution and the power of nature in two poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge; and examine the terrifying and tragic world of Victor Frankenstein and his monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  10. Vagabonds in Literature and Film
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    “I aint got no home, I’m just a roamin’ round” (Woody Guthrie). This class explores the figure of the vagabond and representations of hardship and the road in works by celebrated authors and filmmakers. From Charlie Chaplin and George Orwell to Woody Guthrie and Agnès Varda, we investigate the historical and cultural contexts of the image of the vagabond in 20th century literature and cinema.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  11. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 17 Jan 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    The late 19th/early 20th century was a tumultuous time in London, and many fiction writers sought a new way to explore the themes of poverty, social injustice, gender and ethnicity in the capital. We will explore each author’s approach to the subject matter, and travel in fiction to many vividly realised London locations, ranging from Lambeth to Soho, Whitechapel to Seven Dials, Shoreditch to Shadwell, identifying innovations in narrative style and literary genre.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £60.00
  12. Film of the Book
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will read works of fiction and view their cinematic transformations, developing an understanding of plot,



    characterisation and narrative in a film making context. Each session includes analysis and discussion of the literary



    text and an opportunity to view and consider the film.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £79.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  13. America in the 70s: culture and society
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Journey through the history, literature, film, music and art of the 70s, an era of economic struggle and cultural change. While America continued to reflect aspects of 60s social upheaval, a more energised 'New Right' was emerging in defense of political conservatism and the traditional family, schisms that still exist today. We investigate the cross currents across the many facets of the 70s through a 'taster' of each subject area.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £91.00
  14. Battles, Riddles and Spells: the Old English tradition 900-1100
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 21 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Great changes occurred in England between 900 and 1100. Viking invasions had turned to settlement, influencing the culture and language. Events in 1066 changed the ruling elite. The language used at court changed from Old English to Norman French. However, English was still the common tongue, and much of the great store of Old English poetry and prose was produced during this time. This course looks at the literature of 900-1100, as well as the turbulent events that affected and shaped English writing.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  15. Philip Larkin & His Contemporaries
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 23 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    ‘The shit in the shuttered château / Who does his five hundred words / Then parts out the rest of the day / Between bathing and booze and birds / Is far off as ever, but so / Is that spectacled schoolteaching sod…,” wrote Larkin in his poem, ‘The Life with a Hole in it.’ Who is the real Philip Larkin? Our course slices the bard of Coventry, Larkin loved and Larkin reviled, into four periods during the second half of the twentieth century to set him in context, with a view to unravelling some of his guises and understanding how he came to have such a hold on the British reading public.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00

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