The ability to think independently and critically is the hallmark of a good English student. In the English department we emphasise the need for students to be able to weigh up a variety of interpretations and come to a reasoned and balanced response. Our teaching of individual texts is informed by different critical approaches: Marxist/historicist, feminist, stylistic and post-colonial.

Whatever approach adopted, the aim is always the same: to make students aware of how their own critical response to a text has been informed by a whole set of cultural practices, values and assumptions. As a reader, the text “reads” us just as much as we read it. Doing this subject will enable students to acquire skills in critical thinking, writing and speaking which will be of benefit to them for the rest of their lives.