Literature Personal Statement Example

Literature possesses many powers. It can be beautiful and appalling, transcendent and horrific. Kafka tells us that “ A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” It is for all these reasons and many more that I wish to study English. It goes without saying that I already deeply enjoy literature, but more importantly I want to understand it as fully as possible, in all its transcendence and horror. Why English then? English is the language in which I feel most naturally at home in, but more importantly I feel that it is a unique and hugely rich language. From mediaeval ballads that fuse together French and Saxon to modern post-colonial novels that blend the English used by the forces of empire with native languages and cultures, English carries with it an immensely rich amount of history. However it is also exceptionally immediate, its history does not burden it down and the vast array of works being created today include what will surely remain masterpieces long into the future. It is for all these reasons that I want to study English at university. The prospect of studying the subject at an English university is doubly exciting because it would allow me to experience the context in which English was born as well as where it is going since the UK has become a hub of post-colonial literature by the likes of Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith.

My passion for English literature is shown in the courses that I currently taking. I am taking four final year English courses: English (the standard course), Studies in Literature, Media Studies and Creative Writing. Last year I also took two final year AP courses, French and European History, both excellent complements to English. I received a mark of five on both AP exams as well as 790 and 770 in the Writing and Reading sections of the SAT Reasoning Test which I took in June. I am also planning to take SAT Subject Tests in Literature, History and French in December as well as the Literature AP exam in May. I have received excellent marks in school; my average last year was 92% (A+) and I received a 97% in English. Reading books as diverse as The Canterbury Tales, Jane Eyre and Under the Volcano was not only hugely enjoyable, but also gave me a sense of the way that English continues to change and adapt. This was underscored by a unit studying the history of the English language, beginning just after the collapse of the Roman Empire and ending in the present.

My passion for literature has not been a detriment to success in other areas of my life, on the contrary it has likely helped me understand the world better. I am President of my school's debating union, which means that I am responsible for promoting and teaching debating within the school as well as organising trips to tournaments across Canada. I myself have been extremely successful in competition and will be attending the North American Championships this November. I have been able to apply my love and knowledge of literature to this endeavour in order to improve my oratorical skills. I am also a keen visual artist and love making connections in my artwork to literature as well as current issues in the world. Last year I participated in a Co-op Work Placement at a local art collective and gallery as a programming intern, which involved speaking to visitors; researching artists, funding and other gallery related materials; organising and cataloguing exhibit submissions as well as installing and taking down shows.

I hope that by following my passion for English Literature in the language's birthplace I can not only gain a deep and intimate knowledge and understanding of literature, but also learn to use that understanding to help understand the world I live in.

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This personal statement was written by emiliocdj for application in 2009.

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Personal Statement for Canadian Application to read english at Cambridge or UCL.


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You reppeat yourself in some

You reppeat yourself in some areas and perhaps your use of the words horrific and transcendent are slightly too limited. You could also talk in more depth about a favourite book.

although i agree it is a

although i agree it is a little repetitive, i would definately accept it if i was an admissions tutor, it's a lot better than most on here. i love the contrast between this and the american one.

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