First Year Comprehensive Exam Reading List



British Literature to 1660

Beowulf (c. 700-900)
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (c. 1390), fragment 1 (General Prologue, Knight's Tale, Miller's Tale, Reeve's Tale, Cook's Tale fragment)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (c. 1390)
The Second Shepherd's Play (c. 1500?)
Edmund Spenser, Faerie Queene, book 1 (1590)
Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus (1592-93)
William Shakespeare, The Tempest (c. 1610)
Thomas More, Utopia (1516)
Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella (c. 1580)
John Donne, Songs and Sonnets (1590’s) 

British Literature, 1660-1890     

John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667)      
Aphra Behn, The Rover (Part I, 1677)      
Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722)      
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1734)      
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)      
Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (1798)      
Jane Austen, Persuasion (1818)      
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)      
Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862)      
George Eliot, Middlemarch (1874)      

American Literature before 1890

Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God (1682)
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (1771-1790)
Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (1853)
Herman Melville, Billy Budd (posthumous, 1924)
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
Washington Irving, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon (1820)
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 Edition)
Henry James, Portrait of a Lady (1881)
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
Mary Wilkins Freeman, A New England Nun and Other Stories (1891)

 British & American Literature, 1890-1960

James Joyce, The Dubliners (1914)
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926)
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)
T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, 1922
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1952)
Richard Wright, Native Son (1941)
William Butler Yeats, Selected Poems and Four Plays of William Butler Yeats
Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)

Literatures in English after 1960

Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III (1976)
John Ashbery, Collected Poems, 1956-1987 (Library of America, 2008)
Raymond Carver, Cathedral (1983)
Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day (1989)
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (1990)
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)
Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)
Tony Kushner, Angels in America (1993)
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966)

Non-traditional Literatures

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (1981)
Le Roi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Dutchman (1964)
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1976)
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Junot Diaz,  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2008)
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan [play] (1904)
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911)