MA Orals List -- 19th Century

MA Exam in 19th-Century British
(updated July 2018)


The student offers 10 from the list of primary texts, plus 2 of the listed works of academic criticism. At least 3 choices must be poetry, at least 3 fiction, at least 3 nonfiction prose. At least 4 choices must come from the period 1790-1850, and at least 4 from 1850-1900.


1. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy

2. Jane Austen, Emma

3. Dion Boucicault, London Assurance, The Octoroon, & The Shaughraun

4. Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

5. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

6. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

7. Robert Browning, Men and Women

8. Lord Byron, Don Juan

9. Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus

10. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner," "Christabel," "Kubla Khan," "Dejection," & Biographia Literaria

11. Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

12. Charles Dickens, Bleak House

13. George Eliot, Middlemarch

14. Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton

15. William Godwin, Caleb Williams

16. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the Durbervilles

17. John Keats, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," "When I Have Fears," "The Eve of St. Agnes," "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," "To Sleep," "Ode to Psyche," "Ode to a Nightingale," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode on Melancholy," The Fall of Hyperion, "To Autumn," & "Bright Star"

18. Alice Meynell, "Renouncement," Christ in the Universe," "Spring on the Alban Hills," "The Shepherdess," "Singers to Come," "Symmetry and Incident" (poems) & (essays) "The Colour of Life," "The Rhythm of Life,"  "Woman in Grey," "Solitude," "West Wind in Winter," "The Voice of a Bird," "The Lady Poverty," "Parentage," "A Father of Women," "In February," "To Antiquity"

19. J. S. Mill, Autobiography

20. John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua

21. Walter Pater, The Renaissance

22. John Ruskin, "The Nature of Gothic," ?raffic," & Sesame and Lilies

23. Walter Scott, Waverley

24. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

25. Percy Bysshe Shelley, ? Mont Blanc ," "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," "Ozymandias," "Ode to the West Wind, "To a Skylark," Prometheus Unbound, "Adonais," & "A Defence of Poetry"

26. A.C. Swinburne, The Triumph of Time, Anactoria," "Hymn to Proserpine," "Hermaphroditus," "The Garden of Proserpine," ?ertha, ? Forsaken Garden," ?"Ave atque Vale," "On the Cliffs," "Nympholept," "The Higher Pantheism in a Nutshell," "Poeta Loquitur"

27. William Thackeray, Vanity Fair

28. Alfred Tennyson, "Mariana," "The Lady of Shalott," "The Lotos-Eaters," "Morte d' Arthur," "Ulysses," & In Memoriam A.H.H.

29. Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist? & The Importance of Being Earnest

30. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

31. William Wordsworth, "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads (1800), "Anecdote for Fathers," "We Are Seven," "Expostulation and Reply," "The Tables Turned," "Lines: Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey," "Nutting," "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal," "Michael," "Ode: Intimations of Immortality," ?omposed upon Westminster Bridge " "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," "The Solitary Reaper"



James Eli Adams, A History of Victorian Literature

M.H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism

Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics

Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel

Nina Auerbach, Woman and the Demon: The Life of a Victorian Myth

Gillian Beer, Darwin ’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin , George Eliot, and 19th Century Fiction

Alison Booth, Homes and Haunts: Touring Writers’ Shrines and Countries

Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism

Karen Chase and Michael Levenson, The Spectacle of Intimacy: A Public Life for the Victorian Family

Phillip Davis, The Victorians

Devin Griffiths, The Age of Analogy

Kate Flint, ed., Cambridge History of Victorian Literature

Susan Fraiman, Unbecoming Women

Anna-Lise Francois. Open Secrets: The Literature of Uncounted Experience

Elaine Freedgood, The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel

Catherine Gallagher, The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction, 1832-1867

Robin Gilmour, The Victorian Period

Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19 th Century Literary Imagination

Christopher Herbert, Culture and Anomie: Ethnographic Imagination in the Nineteenth Century

Gary Kelly, English Fiction of the Romantic Period

Robert Langbaum, The Poetry of Experience

Caroline Levine, Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network

George Levine, The Realistic Imagination: English Fiction from Frankenstein to Lady Chatterley

Sharon Marcus, Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England

Iain McCalman, ed., An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest

Jerome McGann, Byron and Romanticism

Martin Meisel, Realizations: Narrative, Pictorial, and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England

D.A. Miller, The Novel and the Police

Tom Mole,  What the Victorians Made of Romanticism

Virgil Nemoianu, The Taming of Romanticism

Terry Otten, The Deserted Stage: The Search for Dramatic Form in Nineteenth Century England

Mary Poovey, Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England

Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony

Leah Price, How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain

Thomas Richards, The Commodity Culture of Victorian Britain

Alan Richardson, Literature, Education, and Romanticism

Catherine Robson, Heart Beats

Jeffrey Robinson, Unfettering Poetry: Fancy in British Romanticism

Marlon Ross, The Contours of Masculine Desire

Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism

Talia Schaffer, Romance’s Rival

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire

William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period

Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire

Herbert Tucker, Epic: Britain’s Heroic Muse 1790-1910

Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 1780-1950

Susan Wolfson, Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism

Alex Woloch, The One vs. the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel

Duncan Wu, ed., Romanticism, A Critical Reader