How You Learn
Inevitably, Cambridge English students spend a lot of their time reading! A love of extended reading is essential to flourishing on our course. But there are lots of resources to help you.
English Faculty Library
The English Faculty Library has one of the largest collections of books in Cambridge. In addition to its extensive collection of literature and literary criticism, it also covers the history of printing, art and architecture, music, performance arts, feminism and gender studies; general, social and political history, philosophy, psychology, science, anthropology, religion, and education, eco-criticism, and land art. And it has a extensive collection of films - including English and foreign language films, and adaptations of Shakespeare. It is renowned for being one of the friendliest libraries in Cambridge! As well as offering a quiet location for independent study, it hosts social events, organises tea breaks, and offers help with bibliographies and study skills.
Cambridge University Library
From as early as the middle of the fourteenth century, the University of Cambridge owned and kept in its treasury a collection of books. Since 1710, the Cambridge University Library has been among the nine privileged libraries of copyright in the UK: it is legally entitled to a copy of every book published in this country. It is now home to over 8 million books, journals and other items, and has one of the largest collections on open shelves in Europe.
With over two million volumes housed on open shelves, you can benefit from immediate access and unparalleled opportunities for browsing. Uniquely for a legal deposit library, much of its collection may be borrowed by students.
The Library is ideal for in-depth research, and there are seven large reading rooms perfect for private study. Many of its collections can also be accessed online, so that you can use the UL wherever you are. It runs tours throughout the year and subject specific research skills classes to help you navigate the collections.
Beyond the Library
Although our course is focused on literary criticism, we warmly encourage our students to pursue creative writing and drama: this is not an assessed part of the degree, but there are many opportunities, prizes, and publications open to student writers.
The Faculty and Colleges also host public lectures by visiting professors from overseas such as Elaine Scarry or famous writers such as Seamus Heaney. And around the Faculty and your College, you will cross paths with other students and academics for informal exchanges and conversations – part of the rich atmosphere of university life.
Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio
We are lucky to have a bequest that supports the study and practice of poetry and drama here in the Faculty. This came as a generous donation from Judith Ellen Wilson, who founded a lectureship to bring together those interested in the academic study of drama and poetry and those who were practitioners in these fields. She hoped that her bequest would be used to draw live theatre and the university closer together.
Her legacy is maintained in the form of a dedicated studio space in the Faculty basement, which hosts live performances and creative events, by a public lecture series given each year by an esteemed poet or dramatist, and by a visiting fellowship which allows a practicing poet or dramatist to spend the year in the faculty working on her or his own projects and collaborating with our students. Former visiting lecturers include Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, and Louis MacNeice, while former holders of the Judith E. Wilson Fellowship include Paul Muldoon, Jo Shapcott, and John Kinsella.