ATS English Literature Admissions Test ELAT Sample Practice Questions Papers

English Literature Admissions Test
Time allowed: 1 hour 30 minutes.
You should spend at least 30 minutes reading and annotating the passages and in preparing
your answer.

The following poems and extracts from longer prose and prose texts are all linked by
the theme of memory. They are arranged chronologically by date of
publication. Read all the material carefully, and then complete the task below.
(a) ‘Memory, a Poem’ (1733), a poem by Laetitia Pilkington 
(b) ‘The Poplar-Field’ (1784), a poem by William Cowper 
(c) From Roundabout Papers(1860-61), magazine articles by William Makepeace Thackeray
(d) From Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?(1962), a play by Edward Albee
(e) ‘Poetry Failure’ (2002), a poem by Mark Halliday 
(f) From Ancient Light(2012), a novel by John Banville

Select two or three of the passages (a) to (f) and compare and contrast them in any
ways that seem interesting to you, paying particular attention to distinctive features of
structure, language and style. In your introduction, indicate brieflywhat you intend to
explore or illustrate through close reading of your chosen passages.
This task is designed to assess your responsiveness to unfamiliar literary material
and your skills in close reading. Marks are not awarded for references to other texts or
authors you have studied.

(a) ‘Memory, a Poem’ (1733), a poem by Laetitia Pilkington


IN what recesses of the brain
Does this amazing power remain,
By which all knowledge we attain?

What art thou, Memory? What tongue can tell,
What curious artist trace thy hidden cell,
Wherein ten thousand different objects dwell?

Surprising storehouse! in whose narrow womb
All things, the past, the present, and to come,
Find ample space, and large and mighty room.

O falsely deemed the foe of sacred wit!
Thou, who the nurse and guardian art of it,
Laying it up till season due and fit.

Then proud the wond'rous treasure to produce,
As understanding points it, to conduce
Either to entertainment, or to use.

Nor love nor holy friendship, without thee,
Could ever of the least duration be;
Nor gratitude, nor truth, nor piety.

Where thou art not, the cheerless human mind
Is one vast void, all darksome, sad and blind;
No trace of anything remains behind.

The sacred stores of learning all are thine;
'Tis only thou record'st the faithful line;
'Tis thou mak'st human-kind almost divine.

And when at length we quit this mortal scene,
Thou still shalt with our tender friends remain,
And time and death shall strike at thee in vain.

Lord, let me so this wond'rous gift employ,
It may a fountain be of endless joy,
Which time, or accident, may ne'er destroy.

Still let my faithful Memory impart,
And deep engrave it on my grateful heart,
How just, and good, and excellent Thou art.

Note: Above is given only one part (a).


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