ENGLISH LITERATURE

ENGLISH LITERATURE

 

Syllabus:

Answers must be written in English. Texts for detailed study are listed below.

Candidates will also be required to show adequate knowledge of the following topics and movements :
The Renaissance: Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama; Metaphysical Poetry; The Epic and the Mock-epic; Neo-classicism; Satire; The Romantic Movement; The Rise of the Novel; The Victorian Age.

Section-A:

  • William Shakespeare: King Lear and The Tempest.
    John Donne.

The following poems :
– Canonization;
– Death be not proud;
– The Good Morrow;
– On his Mistress going to bed;
– The Relic;

  • John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX
    Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock.
    William Wordsworth.

The following poems:
– Ode on Intimations of Immortality.
– Tintern Abbey.
– Three years she grew.
– She dwelt among untrodden ways.
– Michael.
– Resolution and Independence.
– The World is too much with us.
– Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
– Upon Westminster Bridge.

  • Alfred Tennyson: In Memoriam.
  • Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House.


Section-B:

  • Jonathan Swift. Gulliver’s Travels.
  • Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice.
  • Henry Fielding. Tom Jones.
  • Charles Dickens. Hard Times.
  • George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss.
  • Thomas Hardy. Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
  • Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Paper II:

Answers must be written in English. Texts for detailed study are listed below.

Candidates will also be required to show adequate knowledge of the following topics and movements: Modernism; Poets of the Thirties; The stream-of-consciousness Novel; Absurd Drama; Colonialism and Post- Colonialism; Indian Writing in English; Marxist, Psychoanalytical and Feminist approaches to literature; Post- Modernism.

Section-A:

  • William Butler Yeats.

The following poems:
– Easter 1916
– The Second Coming
– A Prayer for my daughter.
– Sailing to Byzantium.
– The Tower.
– Among School Children.
– Leda and the Swan.
– Meru
– Lapis Lazuli
– The Second Coming
– Byzantium.
T.S. Eliot. The following poems :
– The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
– The journey of the Magi.
– Burnt Norton.

  • W.H. Auden.

The following poems :
– Partition
– Musee des Beaux Arts
– in Memory of W.B. Yeats
– Lay your sleeping head, my love
– The Unknown Citizen
– Consider
– Mundus Et Infans
– The Shield of Achilles
– September 1, 1939
– Petition.

  • John Osborne : Look Back in Anger.Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot.
    Philip Larkin.

The following poems :
– Next
– Please
– Deceptions
– Afternoons
– Days
– Mr. Bleaney

  • A.K. Ramanujan.

The following poems :
– Looking for a Causim on a Swing
– A River
– Of Mothers, among other Things
– Love Poem for a Wife 1
– Small-Scale Reflections on a Great House
– Obituary (All these poems are available in the anthology Ten Twentieth Century Indian Poets, edited by R. Parthasarthy, published by Oxford University Press, New Delhi).


Section-B

  • Joseph Conrad. Lord Jim
  • James Joyce. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • D.H. Lawrence. Sons and Lovers.
  • E.M. Forster. A Passage to India.
  • Virginia Woolf. Mrs Dalloway.
  • Raja Rao. Kanthapura.
  • V.S. Naipal. A House for Mr. Biswas.

Reference Books:

Novels and Drama:

Either ‘Worldview edition’ or ‘Norton Critical edition’ is recommended.

One should supplement the analysis/criticism provided in these books with content available on websites such as Sparknotes , Cliffnotes, Wikipedia etc.

Text of a novel should be read at least once. Do not try to understand the meaning of each and every sentence; instead see a chapter in its entirety and in relation to the overall plot.

Critical essays and analysis of a work should be read thoroughly and important points memorized, especially vital themes, symbols and motifs.

For Indian-origin novels (where Worldview and Norton are not available), one should read the text well and search the net for essays, criticisms and analysis.

Poetry:

Dig the internet to gather as much in-depth knowledge about a poem as possible. Memorizing important lines of a poem is a good idea as its usage in an answer gives a very good impression. You can sail through by using your own analysis during reading of a poem.

History of English Literature:

(Covers important literary periods like Renaissance, Elizabethan era etc. refer syllabus)

Many good books are available for this:

Introduction to English Literature by W.H Hudson

The Routledge History of Literature in English

A short History of English Literature (Pramod K. Nayar)

Wikipedia is also a good source.

Unseen Poetry and Prose:

In paper-I, one has to answer questions based on unseen poem and in paper-II, there is similarly a passage from which questions are based. Both combined constitute 100 marks (50 each) and are compulsory.

These can be answered by using one’s common sense without any intensive prior preparation. A book Practical Criticism (Oxford University Press) can be useful in this regard.

A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H Abrams is useful for familiarizing oneself with various literary terms.

Strategy:

  • Read the original texts rather than their commentaries.
  • History of English literature should be done at the end of the preparation, i.e., after you have done the remainder of the syllabus. Again, only a cursory glance over the history is required.
  • To ace this optional, invest your time in reading and writing a lot.
  • When you read a particular text, you will feel certain emotions and also develop your own understanding of the text. Jot these down so that you can use them in your answers later on.
  • It would help if you make a flowchart of characters of the text.
  • You can also create your own quotes and poetic lines. They should be deep and impactful. Don’t make up something just for the heck of it.
  • You can refer to Wikipedia,  sparknotes.com, www.shmoop.com, etc.
  • Paper 1 is more international and Paper 2 is more Indian in its content.
  • You can also refer to some text not prescribed in the syllabus so that you can get extra quotes and lines to embellish your answers. Example: Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
  • Understand and use certain literary devices like euphemism, allusion, imagery, simile, metaphor, personification, etc. in your answers. This will enhance the quality of your writing.
  • You should also understand certain terminologies like feministic reading, Marxist reading, and Shakespearean idea of a play and so on.
  • An excellent tip for a better and easier understanding of some of the texts would be to watch movies or series of them online. There are plenty of standard productions like Pride & Prejudice, Tess, Waiting for Godot, etc. (This will also take the steam off your preparation!)
  • When you read a poem, try to understand it yourself first before searching for explanations externally. Understanding poetry might take time but enjoy the process and it will be easier and worthwhile.
  • Be open to ideas from all sides. Discussions with family and friends will help in getting new ideas and reflections.
  • Try to get into the head of a character and imagine why he/she behaves in a certain manner.
  • Poetry fetches more marks than novels. But this strategy works only if the quality of your answers is top notch. Otherwise, it is better to stick to novels.

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