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Power and Conflict (AQA Poetry Anthology)



Prof. John McRae – Nottingham University


English Literature

  • About this Course
  • About this Lecturer

About this Course

In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores the fifteen poems that make up the 'Power and Conflict' cluster in the GCSE English Literature on AQA. Each poem is read in detail, with a short commentary highlighting aspects of language, style, themes, motifs, and so on. In the case of Shelley's 'Ozymandias', for example, we think about the multitude of voices in the poem and the idea of the 'waste land' in the history of poetry. When we come to 'My Last Duchess', we focus on the dramatic monologue form and the contrast between the character of the Duke and his "last Duchess". And so on for the whole collection.

The poems discussed in this course are: 'Ozymandias' (Percy Shelley), 'London' (William Blake), 'The Prelude' (William Wordsworth), 'My Last Duchess' (Robert Browning), 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' (Alfred Lord Tennyson), 'Exposure' (Wilfred Owen), 'Storm on the Island' (Seamus Heaney), 'Bayonet Charge' (Ted Hughes), 'Remains' (Simon Armitage), 'Poppies' (Jane Weir), 'War Photographer' (Carol Ann Duffy), 'Tissue' (Imtiaz Dharker), 'The Émigrée' (Carol Rumens), 'Kamikaze' (Beatrice Garland) and 'Checking Out Me History' (John Agard').

About the Lecturer

John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.