Literature

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. Exploring Medieval Literature: Shakespeare and the Medieval Age
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 1 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Shakespeare is seen as the great writer of the Renaissance period in England, yet he was influenced by the literature and culture of preceding centuries. On this course we will consider several of Shakespeare’s plays, including Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest, and various history plays, exploring various aspects of his writing to discover just how influential the medieval world was on his thought, language, and subject matter.



    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
  2. The Art of the Essay: women essayists and the bending of genre
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 1 Nov 2021

    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 European city in contemporary literature
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 2 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Reading our way through Paris, Madrid and Berlin, in this course we’ll be taking in some of the standout works of urban literature to have been written since 2000: texts that tell us about places, identities and contemporary life, and which prompt us to question how we think about, inhabit and visit cities.



    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
  4. Shakespeare's ghosts: Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 3 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online





    This online Literature course explores Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar, taking a close look at the ghosts that feature in these plays – Old Hamlet, Banquo and Julius Caesar - as a way of investigating some of their wider themes and concerns, including memory, grief, revenge, agency, power, ambition, guilt and the psyche.



    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
  5. Advanced Literary Study: approaching fiction, poetry and drama
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 3 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the rewards of close reading analysis, focusing on the three main literary genres of fiction,



    poetry and drama. Read, analyse and debate works from different periods of time, including



    The Awakening(1899) by Kate Chopin], drama [The Cherry Orchard (1903) by Anton Chekhov, and poetry



    by William Shakespeare, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson and Edward Thomas.







    This course gives you a taste of our longer course offered in term two, Ways into Advanced Literary Study (HLT120), running from Jan – April 2022.



    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
  6. 19th Century American Literature
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 4 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This class explores 19th century American literature, reading classic texts to broaden knowledge of literary history through a range of influential novels, stories and poems. Among the writers considered in their literary, political and cultural contexts will be Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Hawthorne, Melville, and Twain.



    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
  7. Battles, Riddles and Spells: the Old English Tradition 900 -1100
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 4 Nov 2021 (and 1 other date)

    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 £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00
  8. 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
  9. Russian Literature in the Golden Age
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Explore and discuss the work of key writers from 19th century Russian literature, including Chekhov's "Lady with Lapdog", Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich", Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground" and Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons".



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Romantic Visions
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    This online literature course will trace the development of the Romantic shift in sensibility, from the rediscovery of medieval ballads – and the lucrative trade in fakes – in the late 18thC, to the first generation of Romantics such as Wordsworth and Coleridge ,who set English poetry on a new course by declaring that poetry was not the cleverly crafted expression of accepted truth but “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”; to the brilliant second generation of poets such as Keats and Shelley who found new areas of the imagination to explore; to its legacy in later centuries and our own time.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  13. 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
  14. Hidden Treasures: stories from everywhere
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    You will read, analyse and discuss carefully selected treasures of international fiction, several of them freshly translated, from the second half of the 20th century, including a moving study of urban life from Denmarks’ Tove Ditlevsen, an Anatolian saga from Turkey’s Yashar Kemal, a satirical study of postwar Germany by Irmgard Keun, a portrait of a modern marriage by Italy’s Alberto Moravia, and a classic tale of life in a Welsh mining village by Kate Roberts.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  15. 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

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