Undergradute reading list

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Students often ask for reading lists to help guide them in expanding their knowledge of literature. Below is a list of suggested reading for undergraduate English majors.
You may cover a number of these in your university courses. You may want to fill in with the others as you have time for free reading, to make yourself a truly well-read English major.
Do not be dismayed if you are a recent convert to literature or if you have simply read other things. The list is not required reading. But if you have covered a number of the works on the list, you will be on the way to being well educated and will, furthermore, be well prepared should you choose to attend graduate school.
Reading List
Fiction: World Literature

(It is very important to read these works in a translation that is not stilted. That means, for example, avoiding translations of Greek classics that use "Thee" and "Thou.")

Aeschylus. Prometheus Bound, Agamemnon

Aristotle. The Poetics

Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations

Balzac, Honore de. Old Goriot (Pere Goriot)

Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot or Endgame

Brecht, Bertolt. The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Camus, Albert. The Stranger

Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote

Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard, The Sea Gull, or The Three Sisters

Dante [Alghieri]. The Divine Comedy

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment

Euripides. The Bacchae, Medea, Alcestis, Electra

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust

Herodotus. The Histories

Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf

Homer. The Iliad, The Odyssey

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince

Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice, selected stories

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. One Hundred Years of Solitude

Molière. Tartuffe, The Misanthrope (R. Wilbur translations)

Neruda, Pablo. Canto General

Plato. Several dialogues, including Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Timaeus, The Republic

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Duino Elegies

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Electra

Strindberg, August. A Dream Play

Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich. War and Peace, Anna Karenina

Virgil. The Aeneid

Fiction: English and American Literature

Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice or Emma

Baldwin, James. Collected Essays

Bellow, Saul. Herzog or Mr. Sammler's Planet

Beowulf (in translation)

Boswell, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights

Bunyan, John. Pilgrim's Progress

Carlyle, Thomas. "The Everlasting No," "The Center of Indifference," and "The Everlasting Yea," from Sartor Resartus

Cather, Willa. My Antonia

Chaucer, Geoffrey. From The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue, "The Pardoner's Tale," "The Nun's Priest's Tale, " "The Franklin's Tale," "The Wife of Bath's Tale"

Chopin, Kate. The Awakening

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness , Nostromo

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage

Defoe, Daniel. Moll Flanders or Robinson Crusoe

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations or David Copperfield or Bleak House

Drabble, Margaret. The Realms of Gold or The Radiant Way

Eliot, George. Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature, "Self-Reliance," "The American Scholar," “Experience”

Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury, "The Bear," or Absalom, Absalom!

Fielding, Henry. Tom Jones

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., ed. The Classic Slave Narratives

Gaskell, Elizabeth. Cranford

Goldsmith, Oliver. She Stoops to Conquer, or The Vicar of Wakefield

Hardy, Thomas. The Return of the Native or Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter, "Young Goodman Brown," "My Kinsman, Major Molineux"

Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises or A Farewell to Arms

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God

Irving, Washington. "Rip Van Winkle," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

James, Henry. The Portrait of a Lady and Daisy Miller or The Turn of the Screw

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners

Lawrence, D. H. Sons and Lovers or Women in Love or The Rainbow

LeGuin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick

Miller, Arthur. The Death of a Salesman

Morrison, Toni. Beloved or Song of Solomon

Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita or Pale Fire

Naylor, Gloria. Mama Day

O'Connor, Flannery. "Greenleaf," "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

O'Neill, Eugene. A Long Day's Journey into Night

Osborne, John. Look Back in Anger

Pinter, Harold. The Homecoming

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Purloined Letter," "The Cask of Amontillado"

Porter, Katherine Anne. "Flowering Judas," Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sonnets, Twelfth Night, The Tempest

Shaw, Bernard. Major Barbara or Saint Joan

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein

Sheridan, Richard B. The Rivals or The School for Scandal

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels, "A Modest Proposal"

Thackeray, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, “Resistance to Civil Government”

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse-Five

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple

West, Cornel. Race Matters

Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie or A Streetcar Named Desire

Wilson, August. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse or Mrs. Dalloway

Wright, Richard. Native Son


Arnold, Matthew. "Dover Beach," "The Forsaken Merman," "The Scholar Gypsy"

Auden, W.H. "In Memory of W.B. Yeats" and "The Wanderer"

Blake, William. Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

Brooks, Gwendolyn. "We Real Cool," "A Song in the Front Yard," "Sadie and Maude," "The Lovers of the Poor"

Browning, Robert. "My Last Duchess," "The Bishop Orders His Tomb," "Fra Lippo Lippi," "Andrea del Sarto"

Burns, Robert. "Tam O'Shanter," "To a Mouse," "A Red, Red, Rose"

Byron, George Gordon (Lord Byron). Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Cantos 3 and 4, The Vision of Judgment, Don Juan, Dedication and Canto 1

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Kubla Khan"

Cullen, Countee. "Yet Do I Marvel," "Incident," "Heritage"

Dickinson, Emily. "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," "Of Bronze and Blaze," "After Great Pain," "This World is Not Conclusion," "What Soft Cherubic Creatures"

Donne, John. "Go and Catch a Falling Star," "The Canonization," "The Ecstasy," "Valediction Forbidding Mourning," "The Flea"

Dryden, John. "Mac Flecknoe," Religio Laici

Eliot, T. S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," The Waste Land

Frost, Robert. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," "Mending Wall," "The Death of the Hired Man," "The Road Not Taken," "Acquainted with the Night," "Birches," "Fire and Ice," "Desert Places," "Design"

Hayden, Robert. "Middle Passage," "Night, Death, Mississippi," "Those Winter Sundays"

Herbert, George. "The Collar," "The Pulley"

Hopkins, Gerard Manley. "The Windhover," "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child," "God's Grandeur"

Hughes, Langston. "Mother to Son," "The Weary Blues," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "Montage of a Dream Deferred"

Keats, John. "The Eve of St. Agnes," "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode on Melancholy," "Ode to a Nightingale," "To Autumn"

Larkin, Philip. “Church Going,” “High Windows”

Lorde, Audre. "Coal," "From the House of Yemanja"

Lovelace, Richard. "To Lucasta, Going to the Wars," "To Althea from Prison"

Marvell, Andrew. "To His Coy Mistress," "The Garden," “Bermudas,” the Mower poems

Milton, John. Comus, "Lycidas," Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes

Poe, Edgar Allan. "To Helen," "The City in the Sea," "The Raven"

Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock, An Essay on Man

Pound, Ezra. “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley,” “The River Merchant’s Wife,” selected Cantos

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," "Adonais," "Ode to the West Wind"

Stevens, Wallace. "Anecdote of the Jar," "Sunday Morning," "The Emperor of Ice Cream," “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

Tennyson, Alfred. In Memoriam, "Ulysses," "The Lady of Shalott," "Tithonus," "The Lotus Eaters"

Thomas, Dylan. "Fern Hill," "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London"

Toomer, Jean. Cane

Wheatley, Phyllis. "On Being Brought from Africa to America"

Whitman, Walt. "I Hear America Singing," "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d," "Song of Myself"

Williams, William Carlos. "The Red Wheelbarrow," "Spring and All (by the Road to the Contagious Hospital)," “The Yachts,” Paterson, Book 1

Wordsworth, William. "Tintern Abbey," "My Heart Leaps Up," "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," "Ode on Intimations of Immortality," "The World Is Too Much with Us," The Prelude: Books 1 and 2, Preface to 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads
Yeats, William Butler. "Leda and the Swan," "Sailing to Byzantium," "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop,"
"The Second Coming," "Among School Children"
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