20th & 21st Century Long List

The PhD Oral Examination

in the

20th  & 21st Century


In preparing for the examination, the doctoral candidate has a choice between a concentration on Modernism or a concentration on 20th and 21st century literatures. While the boundaries of the latter are given by the calendar, part of the preparation for the Modernism exam will involve developing arguments for the origins and the end of the period. In both cases, the aim of the exercise is to test the student's ability to interpret individual works and to place authors and texts within the framework of broadly defined movements. The exam ranges across British and American literary and intellectual history, and candidates may want to emphasize different cultural lineages, such as continental or postcolonial literatures. A focus on the 21st century will include a range of works in global anglophone literatures and theories of globalism and world literature. 

The task of building the individual list is itself one of the central acts of preparation. Each candidate must arrange for a faculty member to serve as an examination adviser, and together the two will discuss the range of possibilities and then agree on the proposal to be submitted to the chair of the Twentieth Century area. 

In order to respect the great cultural diversity of the period, the committee allows candidates significant flexibility in the construction of the list. Rather than indicate a limited set of approved works, the following long catalogue of authors is intended to serve as the basis for an individual student's proposal, which may indeed depend heavily on names and texts not mentioned below. (Titles as well as authors are given in the suggestions for secondary materials.) 


The Novel: 
Choose no fewer than 12 novelists, 5 of whom must be represented by more than one work. 

  1. Henry James 
  2. Joseph Conrad 
  3. Edith Wharton 
  4. Marcel Proust 
  5. Ford Maddox Ford 
  6. Theodore Dreiser 
  7. Gertrude Stein 
  8. Sherwood Anderson 
  9. John Cowper Powys 
  10. Willa Cather 
  11. Thomas Mann 
  12. James Joyce 
  13. Franz Kafka 
  14. D. H. Lawrence 
  15. E. M. Forster 
  16. Virginia Woolf 
  17. Nella Larsen 
  18. William Faulkner 
  19. Zora Neale Hurston 
  20. F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  21. Ernest Hemingway 
  22. Jean Rhys 
  23. John Dos Passos 
  24. Jorge Luis Borges 
  25. Vladimir Nabokov 
  26. R. K. Narayan 
  27. Jean Toomer 
  28. Henry Roth 
  29. Richard Wright 
  30. Patrick White 
  31. Ralph Ellison 
  32. Flannery O'Connor 
  33. Doris Lessing 
  34. James Baldwin 
  35. Saul Bellow 
  36. Phillip Roth 
  37. Malcolm Lowry 
  38. Chinua Achebe 
  39. V. S. Naipaul 
  40. William Burroughs 
  41. Italo Calvino 
  42. Thomas Pynchon 
  43. Don DeLillo 
  44. Salman Rushdie 
  45. Nadine Gordimer 
  46. Toni Morrison 
  47. Amitav Ghosh 
  48. Michael Ondaatje 
  49. Alice Walker 
  50. Margaret Atwood 
  51. J. M. Coetzee 
  52. David Mitchell 
  53. Martin Amis 
  54. Wilson Harris 
  55. Kathy Acker 
  56. Cormac McCarthy 
  57. Louise Erdrich 
  58. Zadie Smith 
  59. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
  60. Namwali Serpell 
  61. Tsitsi Dangarembga 
  62. Anne Enright 

Choose no fewer than 12 poets, 5 of whom should be represented by a substantial body of work. 

  1. Charles Baudelaire 
  2. Stephane Mallarmé 
  3. Thomas Hardy 
  4. W. B. Yeats 
  5. Robert Frost 
  6. Rainer Maria Rilke 
  7. Rabindranath Tagore 
  8. Vladimir Mayakovsky 
  9. Wallace Stevens 
  10. William Carlos Williams 
  11. D. H. Lawrence 
  12. Ezra Pound 
  13. H. D. 
  14. Federigo Garcia Lorca 
  15. Marianne Moore 
  16. T. S. Eliot 
  17. Wilfred Owen 
  18. Hart Crane 
  19. Pablo Neruda 
  20. Langston Hughes 
  21. W. B. Auden 
  22. Elizabeth Bishop 
  23. Robert Hayden 
  24. John Berryman 
  25. Robert Lowell 
  26. Philip Larkin 
  27. Allen Ginsberg 
  28. Ted Hughes 
  29. Sylvia Plath 
  30. John Ashbery 
  31. Anne Sexton 
  32. Seamus Heaney 
  33. Adrienne Rich 
  34. Gwendolyn Brooks 
  35. Derek Walcott 
  36. Edward Kamau Brathwaite 
  37. A. K. Ramanujan 
  38. Louise Bennett 
  39. Aga Shahid Ali 

Choose no fewer than 8 playwrights, 4 of whom must be represented by more than one work. 

  1. Henrik Ibsen 
  2. August Strindberg 
  3. Oscar Wilde 
  4. George Bernard Shaw 
  5. Anton Chekhov 
  6. Gerhart Hauptmann 
  7. Luigi Pirandello 
  8. W. B. Yeats 
  9. J. M. Synge 
  10. Alfred Jarry 
  11. Susan Glaspell 
  12. T. S. Eliot 
  13. Sean O'Casey 
  14. Eugene O'Neill 
  15. Federigo Garcia Lorca 
  16. Bertolt Brecht 
  17. Samuel Beckett 
  18. Jean Genet 
  19. Tennessee Williams 
  20. Eugene Ionesco 
  21. Arthur Miller 
  22. John Osborne 
  23. Edward Albee 
  24. Harold Pinter 
  25. Wole Soyinka 
  26. Lorraine Hansberry 
  27. Derek Walcott 
  28. Tom Stoppard 
  29. Athol Fugard 
  30. David Hare 
  31. Brian Friel 
  32. David Mamet 
  33. Sam Shepard 
  34. Ntozake Shange 
  35. Caryl Churchill 
  36. Timberlake Wertenbaker 
  37. August Wilson 
  38. Anna Devere Smith 
  39. Tony Kushner 

Modern Thought and Literary Theory: 
Choose no fewer than 8 figures, each to be represented by several essays or a book. 

  1. Karl Marx 
    • The German Ideology 
    • The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte 
    • selections from Capital 
  2. Baudelaire, "The Painter of Modern Life" 
  3. Edgar Allan Poe, Essays 
  4. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays 
  5. Walter Pater, The Renaissance 
  6. Friedrich Nietzsche 
    • The Birth of Tragedy 
    • Beyond Good and Evil 
    • Twilight of the Idols 
  7. Oscar Wilde, Intentions 
  8. William James 
    • Pragmatism 
    • "The Will to Believe"
  9. Sigmund Freud 
    • The Interpretation of Dreams 
    • Civilization and Its Discontents 
  10. Martin Heidegger 
    • Being and Time 
    • Poetry, Language, Thought 
  11. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 
  12. W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk 
  13. T. S. Eliot 
    • "Tradition and the Individual Talent" 
    • "The Metaphysical Poets" 
  14. Andre Breton, What is Surrealism? 
  15. Bertolt Brecht, Brecht on Theatre 
  16. Mikhail Bahktin, The Dialogical Imagination 
  17. Georges Bataille, Visions of Excess 
  18. Walter Benjamin 
    • "The Storyteller" 
    • "The Author as Producer" 
    • "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" 
  19. Jean-Paul Sartre 
    • Being and Nothingness 
    • Search for a Method 
  20. Claude Lévi-Strauss 
    • Tristes Tropiques 
    • Structural Anthropology 
    • The Savage Mind 
  21. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex 
  22. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations 
  23. Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude 
  24. Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics 
  25. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits 
  26. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth 
  27. Roland Barthes 
    • Mythologies 
    • S/Z 
  28. Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation 
  29. Aimé Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism 
  30. Michel Foucault 
    • Discipline and Punish 
    • The Order of Things 
  31. Jurgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity 
  32. Julia Kristeva 
    • Revolution in Poetic Language 
    • Powers of Horror 
  33. Jacques Derrida 
    • Of Grammatology 
    • "Differance" 
  34. Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism 
  35. Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, Solidarity 
  36. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction 
  37. Raymond Williams 
    • Culture and Society 
    • The Politics of Modernism 
  38. Paul de Man, Blindness and Insight 
  39. Gilles Deleuze, Anti-Oedipus (with Felix Guattari) 
  40. Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey 
  41. Judith Butler 
    • Gender Trouble 
    • The Psychic Life of Power 
  42. Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology 
  43. Edward Said, Orientalism 
  44. Eve Sedgwick 
    • Between Men 
    • Novel Gazing 
  45. George Landow, ed., Hyper/Text/Theory 
  46. Dipesh Chakrabarty 
    • Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference 
    • The Climate of History 

Literary and Cultural History: 
Choose at least 6 works.

  1. Steve Arata, ed. A Companion to the English Novel 
  2. Shari Benstock, Women of the Left Bank 
  3. Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture 
  4. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane, Modernism 
  5. Pheng Cheah, What is a World? 
  6. Rita Felski,  
    • The Gender of Modernity 
    • The Limits of Critique  
  7. Susan Stanford Friedman, Planetary Modernisms 
  8. Henry Louis Gates Jr, The Signifying Monkey 
  9. Susan Gilbert and Gubar, No Man's Land 
  10. Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic 
  11. Debjani Ganguly, This Thing Called the World: The Contemporary Novel as Global Form 
  12. Stuart Hall, Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies 
  13. Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White 
  14. Fredric Jameson  
    • Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism 
    • Modernism and Imperialism 
  15. Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism 
  16. Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide 
  17. Michael Levenson,  
    • A Genealogy of Modernism 
    • Modernism  
  18. Mark McGurl, The Program Era: Pluralisms of Postwar American Fiction 
  19. Perry Meisel, The Myth of the Modern 
  20. Toril Moi, Revolution of the Ordinary 
  21. Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories 
  22. Marjorie Perloff, The Dance of the Intellect 
  23.  Ato Quayson, Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature 
  24. Jahan Ramazani, Poetry in a Global Age 
  25.  Edward Said, The World, The Text, The Critic 
  26. Sanford Schwartz, The Matrix of Modernism 
  27. Gayatri Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason  
  28. Helen Vendler, The Music of What Happens 
  29. Rebecca Walkowitz, Born Translated: The Contemporary Novel in the Age of World Literature 
  30. Raymond Williams, Modernism and Politics 
  31. Edmund Wilson, Axel's Castle 
  32. Elizabeth Anker and Rita Felski, eds., Critique and Postcritique