Faculty Committee

Stephanie Batiste, Yunte Huang, Mark Maslan, Christopher Newfield, Candace Waid

Notes and Resources

It is assumed that students taking the qualifying examination in American Literature from 1865 will be familiar not only with the following primary texts but also with the principle critical and interpretive issues concerning these texts and the period as a whole. Students are thus encouraged to read widely in the relevant secondary literature.

Choose 35 items from the list below in consultation with your examiner. The Poetry Selections are required. Students should choose at least three texts from each section (1865 – WWI; WWI – 1965; 1965 – present). You must submit your choices to the field examiner by the first Friday of the Spring Term.

Figures and selections marked with an asterisk (*) are digitized and available online, consult with the Staff Graduate Adviser.

Reading List

1865 — World War I

  1. Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  2. Henry James, Portrait of a Lady
  3. Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  4. Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
  5. W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington (Selections in Drop Box)*
  6. Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs (not Cather’s ed.); Dunnet Landing stories: “A Dunnet Shepherdess,” “The Queen’s Twin,” “The Foreigner,” “William’s Wedding” (in Drop Box*)
  7. Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman and Other Conjure Tales and/or The House behind the Cedars
  8. Willa Cather, My Antonia
  9. Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  10. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth and/or The Age of Innocence

World War I — 1965

  1. Modern Poetry, Poetics, & Poetic Prose (selections): H. Crane, Cullen, H.D., Eliot, Frost, Hughes, Moore, Pound, Stein, Stevens, Williams (Box)*
  2. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  3. Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises and/or, In Our Time
  4. William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury and/or, Absalom Absalom!
  5. Jean Toomer, Cane
  6. Richard Wright, Native Son
  7. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  8. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  9. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

1965 — present

  1. Saul Bellow, Mr. Sammler’s Planet and/or, Herzog
  2. Norman Mailer, Armies of the Night
  3. James Baldwin, Go Tell it to the Mountain and/or Giovanni’s Room
  4. Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
  5. Post-War Poetry Selections: John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Creeley, Rita Dove, Allen Ginsberg, Jorie Graham, Robert Hayden, Joy Harjo, Audre Lorde, Robert Lowell, Frank O’Hara, Charles Olson, George Oppen, Simon Ortiz, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich (Box)*
  6. Philip Roth, American Pastoral and/or Goodbye Columbus
  7. Toni Morrison, Beloved and/or Sula
  8. Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
  9. Louise Erdrich, Tracks and/or The Round House
  10. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
  11. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony and/or Almanac of the Dead
  12. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
  13. Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
  14. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
  15. Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek and/or The House on Mango Street
  16. Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge; selected stories (Box*)
  17. David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and/or Infinite Jest
  18. Theresa Cha, DICTEE
  19. John Rechy, The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez and/or City of Night
  20. Alejandro Morales, The Rag Doll Plagues
  21. Americo Paredes, George Washington Gomez
  22. Don DeLillo, White Noise
  23. Deborah Miranda, Bad Indians