Why I love English Literature at the University of Portsmouth

Where to begin? When I first started looking at universities I wanted to go somewhere where I felt as though I was at home and welcome. I went and looked around several universities and felt as though I was in alien territory. The staff at these universities did not make me feel welcome whatsoever. Then I came to Portsmouth, and although cliché to say, I felt like I had found where I belong.

The course itself is wonderful, there is so much variety and a plethora of opportunities to go with it. The staff I met that day made me fall in love, and at that very point I was decided; I was overwhelmed with excitement to join. The lecturers were so warm, and both interesting and interested in us. They have exceeded my expectations even through a pandemic and threats of redundancies. It’s hard for me to believe that within five months of finding my feet in a new city and getting used to university life, I am now being betrayed by the executives. The university once promised an incredible experience, yet now I feel so much pain and anxiety about the future for not only the course but for the lecturers, who without realising have shaped my mind and perceptions of both the mundane and the extraordinary.

Literature in Portsmouth is backed up with its history of resident writers who have sparked the imagination of the minds of those young and old. Writers such as Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H G Wells have called this city their home, and to diminish the literary history by sabotaging this course would be an insult. I have loved this course, but it will be hard for me to love it just as much when it has been greatly reduced in order for, what seems, monetary gain.

I had a wobble finding my feet during the first few weeks and had it not been for the lecturers, perhaps I would probably still feel like I did in September. Both students and staff come together and create this community as we share our passions. Everyone enjoys the company of each other as we understand literature and the history behind it. Literature has, in modern times, been mocked but it gives us an amazing understanding of history and cultures, not to mention that it gives us an empirical understanding of emotion.

University of Portsmouth Students

The English Literature course at the University of Portsmouth has allowed me to expand my understanding of not only British culture but cultures from all around the world; the religion, geography, and politics that shape texts. Not only are we taught about novels, but there is also the critical aspect that I had not even considered prior to the course: how do we interpret the texts, what significance is the author to the text or how do sociological theories take play into literature? Following this, there is the exploration into the history of the novel and what makes it popular or not. We are asked what the effects of popular fiction have on the wider society. These theories and opinions are delivered so passionately by lecturers, they always push us further into understanding and they are always keen to listen to our interpretations. This bodes well for future employment as analysing, criticising, debating and understanding emotions are key for the working world and just as importantly, to be a functioning moral human.

I could not speak higher of this course because it is quite frankly perfect. The diversity of modules is incredible. I feel like myself a year ago was so ignorant of the depth of the literature out there, and I am so excited for the next couple of years exploring the bounds of writing.


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