Literature Summer School

LIT 2014 v1

Term I: 6 – 19 July 2014
Term II: 20 July – 2 August 2014
Programme Directors: Dr Fred Parker and Dr Jenny Bavidge

The Literature Summer School, now in its 29th year, gives its participants an experience of 'Cambridge English', with its emphasis on small group teaching, close attention to the words on the page, and radical inquiry into why literature matters.

Who can apply?

Programmes are open to university students, professionals and those with other life experience; gap-year students preparing for university may also apply (students must be accompanied by a parent/guardian if under 18 when the programme commences). Participants must also meet our language requirements.

How to apply

To apply for this programme, first select the courses you wish to study from the list below.

Please download an application form and submit by fax or post. Online booking is now closed.

For more information about other Summer School programmes please visit:

The academic programme

  • Plenary course GH0:
    Crime and Punishment
  • Four special subject courses
    (two for each week)
  • Evening lectures

Special subject courses

Classes allow for close and continuing discussion, and you will be expected to have done substantial preparatory reading before you arrive in Cambridge.

Term I: 6 – 19 July

Week 1 (6 – 12 July): Group Ga: 9.15am – 10.45am

Ga1 A long look at Rudyard Kipling
Ga2 His 'scrupulous meanness': style, text and context in James Joyce's Dubliners
Ga3 Jane Austen I: Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park
Ga4 Cli-Fi? Climate change and contemporary fiction

Week 1 (6 – 12 July): Group Ha: 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Ha1 Writing the death of the Raj
Ha2 G K Chesterton: writer and thinker (and saint?)
Ha3 Jonathan Swift, satirist in prose and verse
Ha4 Russian sin: Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Lolita

Week 2 (13 – 19 July): Group Gb: 9.15am – 10.45am

Gb1 Three great British fantasists: Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake and J R R Tolkien
Gb2 ‘A lifetime burning in every moment’: T S Eliot’s Four Quartets in context
Gb3 Jane Austen II: Emma and Persuasion
Gb4 The child in Edwardian fiction

Week 2 (13 – 19 July): Group Hb: 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Hb1 From Baker Street to Bible John: British crime writing 1890-2000
Hb2 Form, style and ideology in Victorian poetry
Hb3 Shakespeare: the mature comedies
Hb4 The tragic South

Term II: 20 July – 2 August

Week 3 (20 – 26 July): Group Gc: 9.15am – 10.45am

Gc1 Grime and crime: Dickens' Our Mutual Friend
Gc2 From Troy to Ithaca and Rome: classical heroes, and those who care for them
Gc3 Civilising sex in Spenser's The Faerie Queene
Gc4 Major lyrics of the 17th century

Week 3 (20 – 26 July): Group Hc: 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Hc1 Philosophy of literature: understanding other minds through fiction
Hc2 The play's the thing: 20th-century American theatre
Hc3 The Canterbury Tales
Hc4 An introduction to Dante

Week 4 (27 July – 2 August): Group Gd: 9.15am – 10.45am

Gd1 Mad or bad? Approaches to crime solving in Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles
Gd2 War and trauma in Greek tragedy
Gd3 More's Utopia: a radical Renaissance vision
Gd4 The lyric voice in the 19th century

Week 4 (27 July – 2 August): Group Hd: 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Hd1 Philosophy of literature: understanding other minds through fiction
Hd2 Variations on the tragic
Hd3 Shakespeare and the English sonnet
Hd4 Dante's Inferno

Plenary lectures

Following the theme Crime and Punishment, speakers deal with the idea of a criminal subculture, questions of justice and forgiveness, and the rich literature of guilt, vengeance, confession, and complaint. You will hear a rich variety of voices, and critical approaches. Plenary lectures bring fresh perspectives to familiar masterpieces and encourage exploration in new directions.

Evening lectures

Additional general evening lectures will add to your enjoyment of the programme.


Accommodation is available for participants who want to stay in a Cambridge College. Please see the accommodation options available for this programme.

Non-residential attendance is also available if participants prefer to find their own lodgings.

Programme fees

Programme fees include tuition, bed, breakfast and evening meals unless otherwise indicated.

Click here to see the options available.

Pre-enrolment information

Booking terms and conditions


2014 brochure as a PDF (5.31MB)
Application form as a PDF (113KB)

Contact us

University of Cambridge
International Programmes
Institute of Continuing Education
Madingley Hall
United Kingdom
CB23 8AQ

Tel: +44 (0) 1223 760850
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 760848


Teaching and assessment is in English. Students for whom English is not their first language should refer to the Competence in the English Language Policy for further guidance.

Printable versions of our brochures are available to download from the Summer Schools brochure download page.