UNDERGRADUTE READING LIST 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
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"
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"