Comprehensive Exam Reading List – American Lit

As I finish off parts of my reading list, I’ll keep track of them on here.

American Literature Reading List

 Zuni Poetry (Heath)

Aztec Poetry (Heath)

“A Modell of Christian Charity”: Winthrop (Heath)

“The Prologue,” “Contemplations,” “A Letter to Her Husband, Absent Upon Public Employment,” “The Author to Her Book”: Bradstreet (Heath, except “Contemplations”)

A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson: Rowlandson (excerpt Heath)

Autobiography: Franklin

The Interesting Narrative: Equiano (excerpt, Heath)

Selected Poems: Wheatley (Heath)

Letters from an American Farmer: J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur: (excerpt, Heath)

Jefferson: Notes on the State of Virginia: excerpts from Query XI, XIV, XVII, XVIII (Heath)

Tales From the Hispanic Southwest (Heath)

“Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Irving

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Jacobs (excerpt, Heath)

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening, 1899

Address by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Women’s Rights, July 23, 1848; “I Have All the Rights I Want”: Tract by E. C. Stanton, 1859; “Is it a Crime for U.S. Citizen to Vote?”: Speech by Susan B. Anthony, January 16, 1873. [All texts available in Golden Library: The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Rutgers UP, Volumes I, II]

Narrative of the Life: Frederick Douglass

Wilson, Harriet. Our Nig, 1859

House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne

“Benito Cereno,” “Bartleby the Scrivener” : Melville

“Nature” “Self-Reliance”: Emerson

“Fall of the House of Usher,” “Ligeia”: Poe

Jewett, Sarah Orne. “A White Heron,” 1886

Gillman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” 1892

Alcott, Louisa. “My Contraband”

James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw, 1898

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885

Crane, Stephen. “The Open Boat,” 1898

Walden: Thoreau

Preface to the 1855 Edition of Leaves of Grass, “Song of Myself”: Whitman

“Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” “My Life a Loaded Gun,” “The Soul selects her own Society,” “I dwell in Possibility,” : Dickinson

Dunbar Nelson, Alice. “I Sit and Sew

Secondary: American Literature, 19th Century

Buell, Lawrence. “The Transcendentalist Movement.” The Transcendentalists. Ed. Joel Meyerson. New York: Modern Language Association, 1984.

Romero, Lora. “Introduction,” “A Society Controlled by Women,” and “Conclusion.” Home Fronts: Domesticity and Its Critics in the Antebellum United States. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1997.

Fielder, Leslie. “The Novel in America.” Love and Death in the American Novel.

20th Century American Literature

Anaya, Rudolf. Bless Me Ultima, 1972

McCarthy, Cormac. All The Pretty Horses, 1992

McNickle, Darcy. The Surrounded

Austin, Mary. The Land of Little Rain, 1903

Cather, Willa. My Antonia

Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom, 1936

Hemingway, Earnest.

—. The Sun Also Rises, 1926

Hurston, Zora Neal. Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby, 1925

Antin, Mary. The Promised Land, 1912

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible, 1953

Morrison, Toni. Beloved

Wharton, Edith. House of Mirth

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road

Silko, Leslie. Ceremony

Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven


Eliot, T.S. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” 1917

Hughes, Langston. “A Negro Speaks of Rivers.”

Rich, Adrienne. “Diving Into the Wreck”

Plath, Sylvia. “Daddy”

Ortiz, Simon. “My Father’s Song,” “It was that Indian” from Woven Stone

Frost, Robert. “Mending Wall”

Short Stories:

O’Brian, Tim. “The Things They Carried,” 1990

O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” 1955

—. “Good Country People”

Anderson, Sherwood. “Death in the Woods,” 1933

Carver, Raymond. “A Small Good Thing.”

20th Century American Literature Secondary

Bercovitch, Sacvan. “Introduction: The Music of America” and “The Ritual of Consensus.” The Rites of Assent. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Jameson, Fredric. “Preface,” “T.W. Adorno; or Historical Tropes,” and “Towards Dialectical Criticism.” Marxism and Form: Twentieth Century Dialectical Theories of Literature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1974.

Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. 2nd Ed. Minnesota: U of Minnesota P, 1996.

Baym, Nina. “Melodramas of Beset Manhood.”

Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark



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