Comprehensive Exam Reading List – British

Keeping track of my reading progress

British Literature Reading List

Old English and Middle English (700-1485)


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

Kempe: The Book of Margery Kempe – Book 1: 1-34, 48-52

The Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play

Malory: Morte Darthur


The Sixteenth Century (1485-1603)

More: Utopia

Spenser: The Faerie Queene, Book 1

Sidney: Astrophil and Stella

Marlowe: Doctor Faustus

Shakespeare: Sonnets, Twelfth Night, King Lear

The Early Seventeenth Century (1603-1660)

Donne: Songs and Sonnets

Jonson: Volpone,

Webster: The Duchess of Malfi

Marvell: Poems

Milton: Paradise Lost

The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (1660-1785)

Dryden: Absalom and Achitophel: A Poem

Bunyan: The Pilgrim’s Progress

Behn: Oroonoko, or The Royal Sl.ave

Congreve: The Way of the World

Swift: Gulliver’s Travels, Part 1 and Part 4

Gray: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

The Romantic Period (1785-1830)

Blake: The Lamb, The Chimney Sweeper, Holy Thursday (Songs of Innocence)

Holy Thursday, The Chimney Sweeper, The Sick Rose, The Tyger (Songs of Experience)

Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Wordsworth: Tintern Abbey, Simon Lee, We Are Seven, Preface to Lyrical Ballads

Coleridge: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Frost at Midnight, Dejection: An Ode

Austen: Pride and Prejudice

Byron: Childe Harold, Canto 3

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Ode to the West Wind, To a Sky-Lark, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

Keats: La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode to Psyche,

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft : Frankenstein

The Victorian Age (1830-1901)

Carlyle: Past and Present

Mill: On Liberty, The Subjection of Women

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett: The Cry of the Children, Sonnets from the Portugese – 43

Tennyson: In Memoriam, The Lady of Shalott, Mariana, The Lotos-Eaters

Dickens: Great Expectations

Browning, Robert: Porphyria‘s Lover, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, My Last Duchess

Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre

Eliot: Middlemarch

Arnold: Dover Beach, Culture and Anarchy – chap 1-3

Morris: Art and Socialism

Hopkins: God‘s Grandeur, The Windhover, Pied Beauty

Kipling: The White Man‘s Burden

Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Twentieth Century

Hardy: Jude the Obscure

The Darkling Thrush, Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave? Channel Firing

Conrad: Heart of Darkness

Houseman: When I was One-and-Twenty, To an Athlete Dying Young

Owen: Anthem for Doomed Youth, Dulce Et Decorum Est

Yeats: Adam‘s Curse; Easter, 1916; The Second Coming; A Dialogue of Self and Soul

Forster: A Passage to India

Woolf: To the Lighthouse, A Room of One‘s Own

Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; The Dead (from Dubliners)

Lawrence: Lady Chatterly’s Lover

Smith: Our Bog is Dood, Pretty

Beckett: Waiting for Godot

Auden: Spain, Musee des Beaux Arts, The Unknown Citizen

Larkin: Church Going, Homage to a Government

Fowles: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Stoppard: Arcadia

Boland: The Rooms of Other Women Poets, Object Lessons, The Women

Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day

Essential Secondary Readings

Agnew, Jean Christophe. “Artificial Persons.” Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in

Anglo-American Thought, 1550-1750. New York: Cambridge UP, 1988. 101-48.

Elias, Norbert. “State Formation and Civilization.” The Civilizing Process. Trans. Edmund

Jephcott. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1994. 443-56, 465-92, 499-513.

Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. Chap. 1 from “The Queen‘s Looking Glass“ from

The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination

Greenblatt, Stephen. “The Circulation of Social Energy.” Shakespearean Negotiations: The

Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England. Berkeley, CA: U of California P,

1988. 1-20.

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. “Introduction” and “An Odd Lot of Disciples” from The Idea of

Poverty. 3-19, 64-99.

Said, Edward. “Introduction” and“Knowing the Orient.” from Orientialism. 1-49.

Williams, Raymond. Chapters 1 & 2 from The Country and the City.


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