List of compulsory reading

I’m doing English Hons by correspondence, and though I’ve already completed my BBA, I’m still keen on finishing the English Hons before I look at work seriously. So far, it’s been both interesting and fun. If anything, I’ve disliked having to read poetry.

Except, of course, MacFlecknoe by Dryden which started me on a satire trip for quite some time, much to the dismay of a few people on a few online fora. Unfortunately, the current selection too has a heavy dosage of poetry. I don’t have a clue of whether any of it is fun. Do tell.

The list:

English Lit 3
Jonathan Swift- Gullivers Travels
Samuel Johnson – London, the Vanity of Human Wishes;
Oliver Goldsmith – Selections from The Deserted Village
Thomas Gray – Elegy written in a country churchyard, Ode on the death of a favourite cat
William Blake – The Chimmney Sweeper, The Little Black Boy, The Lamb, The Tyger, The Garden of Love, London.
Wordsworth – Tintern Abbey, Ode on the Intimations of Immortality, Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge
Coleridge – Kubla Khan, Dejection: An Ode
Lord Byron – From ‘Childe Harold’, Canto III, verses 36-45; Canto IV, verses 178-186;
Percy Bysshe Shelley – Ode to the West Wind, Ode to Liberty, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
John Keats – Ode to a Nightingale, To Autumn, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, On First Looking into Chapmans Homer
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein


English Lit 5
Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness
D.H. Lawrence – Sons and lovers
Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway
W.B. Yeats – Leda and the Swan, The Second Coming, No Second Troy, Sailing to Byzantium, Among School Children
T.S.Eliot – The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock, Gerontium, Sweeney among the nightingales, The hollow men, marina
Samuel Beckett – Waiting for Godot
John Osborne – Look back in Anger

Contemporary Literature
Chinua Achebe – Things Fall Apart
Nadine Gordimer – My Son’s Story
G.G. Marquez – Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Dario Fo – Accidental Death of an anarchist
Ngugi wa Thiongo – The Trial of Dedan Kimathy
Pablo Neruda – Poetry, Tonight I can Write, The Way Spain Was, Ars Poetica, Discoverers of Chile, Ode to a Tomato
Derek Walcott – A Far Cry from Africa, Goats and Monkeys, Names, The Sea is History
Margaret Atwood – Spelling, This is a photograph of me, Procedures for the Underground, The Animals in that Country, The Landlady

Anglo-American writing from 1930
Graham Greene – The Power and the Glory
Toni Morrison – The Beloved
Arthur Miller – The Crucible
Tom Stoppard – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
William Faulkner – Dry September
F.Scott Fitzgerald – The Crack-Up
Ernest Hemingway – A Clean Well Lighted Place
Somerset Maugham – The Door of Opportunity
John Updike – Dentistry and Doubt
John Cheever – The Swimmer
Salman Rushdie – The Courtier
Adrienne Rich – Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers, Necessities of Life, Diving into the Wreck, Snapshots for a daughter-in-law, Valedictio forbidding mourning
Philip Larkin – Whitsun Weddings, Annus Mirabilis, Dublinesque, Homage to a government, Toads, The Explosion
Seamus Heaney – Bogland, Traditions, Punishment, An Ulster Twilight, The Railway Children, From the Frontier of Writing

All righty – so that’s a lot of reading. The one thing I’m sure of is that when I read, I write.

The last course on this list is one option from a choice of four. The other three are Literary Theory, Women’s writing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and European Drama. Almost everybody takes European Drama because the college doesnt provide assistance for the rest. I had the same problem last year, but I chose Popular Fiction over 19th century European Realism and Classical Literature.

No notes, no books, but I had a whale of a time reading – Through the looking glass (Lewis Carrol), Foundation (Asimov), From Russia with Love (Ian Fleming). I couldn’t get myself to read Gone with the wind, so I watched the movie and gave the exam. I really didn’t think it was “studying”, and I scored max in Pop Fiction. Ha! I’ll be damned if I’m going to take European Drama instead of Anglo-American writing of 1930.

Comments on the course? Suggestion? Rhymebawd?


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