School of English

Reading list

The books listed on this page are recommendations from module convenors, but please be aware that module content may vary in each academic year.

Search our library collection

The Hallward Library on University Park Campus has a limited number of texts available for loan. 

Check the library collections

Blackwell's price match guarantee

The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). Simply show staff the cheaper price on your phone.

They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.


Buying books: Some students choose to purchase their own copies of books, though this is not a requirement. 

Recommended reading for first-year students (starting September 2022) 

Our core modules are as below:

  • Beginnings of English
  • Drama, Theatre, Performance
  • Studying Language
  • Studying Literature

Reading lists for all modules can be found on our website. For applicants these reading lists are provided as references only, as the module materials can change each year.

School of English reading lists

Core module breakdown

Beginnings of English

Some of the reading for the module will be provided electronically through Moodle when you arrive in September. For most of the medieval texts, you will need to have access to these three books:

  • John Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre, ed., A Book of Middle English (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005). ISBN 978-1405117098. (Note that this is available as an ebook through the university library).
  • Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Anglo-Saxon World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN 978-0199538713.
  • James Simpson and Alfred David, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume A: The Middle Ages (London: Norton, 2018). ISBN 978-0393603026.

Drama, Theatre, Performance

You may find the following books useful for reference:

  • Carlson, M, Theatre: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Lennard, J & Luckhurst, M, The Drama Handbook: A Guide to Reading Plays (Oxford University Press, 2003) provide excellent introductions to the study of theatre and drama and will be useful reading before you arrive
  • Balme, C, The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2008) is a key textbook that we refer to throughout the first year module Drama, Theatre, Performance. It will be available online via the University library.

All the play texts studied on the module will be available online via the University of Nottingham library resources.


Studying Language

The core textbook for the module will be:

  • Fasold, R. W., & Connor-Linton, J. (Eds), Language and Linguistics. (Cambridge University Press. Second Edition, 2014)

Studying Literature

Some texts we will be covering that you could usefully get ahead with before you arrive:

  • John Milton, Paradise Lost. (Recommended editions are: Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg, eds. (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008); or, John Leonard, ed. (London: Penguin, 2003))

Other texts on the module will be shorter and some will be provided for you. You might also like to acquire your own copy of Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory (5th edition) in order to read it in advance, though you will have access to it as an e-book via the library once you arrive.



School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900