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The PhD Oral Examination

in the

Nineteenth Century

(updated 15-November-2007)



In addition to six critical works, students should choose forty primary authors (each represented by a novel, play, or cluster of poems/essays) distributed among the various genres as indicated.

POETRY (at least 10)


Matthew Arnold, William Blake, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, John Clare, Arthur Hugh Clough, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Crabbe, Michael Field, Thomas Hardy, Felicia Hemans, G.M. Hopkins, John Keats, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, George Meredith, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Percy Bysshe Shelley, A.C. Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson, Augusta Webster, Oscar Wilde, William Wordsworth, W.B. Yeats



FICTION (at least 10)


Jane Austen, M.E. Braddon, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Lewis Carroll, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Godwin, H. Rider Haggard, Thomas Hardy, James Hogg, Elizabeth Inchbald, Charles Kingsley, M.G. Lewis, Robert Charles Maturin, George Meredith, Margaret Oliphant, Anne Radcliffe, Olive Schreiner, Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, R.L. Stevenson, Anthony Trollope, William MakepeaceThackeray, Mrs. Humphry Ward, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Yonge



NON-FICTION PROSE (at least 8)

(Note: one or more periodicals might serve in the place of an author, or authors, in this section.)


Matthew Arnold, William Blake, Edmund Burke, Thomas Carlyle, Frances Power Cobbe, S.T. Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, T. H. Huxley, Anna Jameson, John Keats, Charles Lamb, Vernon Lee, T. B. Macaulay, Harriet Martineau, Alice Meynell, J. S. Mill, John Henry Newman, Thomas Paine, Walter Pater, John Ruskin, Walter Scott, P. B. Shelley, Herbert Spencer, Oscar Wilde, Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth, William Wordsworth





Students may optionally include a list of no more than 6 scripts by the following playwrights, reducing their selection from the other literary genres accordingly.

Joanna Baillie
Dion Boucicault
Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Lord Byron
Wilkie Collins
George Colman, the Younger

W.S. Gilbert
Felicia Hemans
Thomas Holcroft
Elizabeth Inchbald
Douglas Jerrold
William Moncrief
Arthur Wing Pinero
James Robinson Planché
Tom Robertson
George Bernard Shaw
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Tom Taylor
Oscar Wilde




Students should choose six from the list below; substitutions are possible but need to be approved by the area chair.


M.H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism
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 19 th Century Fiction

Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism

________________, The Spirit of Reform
Joseph Bristow, ed., The Fin-de-Siècle Poem: English Literary Culture and the 1890s

Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels, and Reactionaries

James Chandler, England in 1819

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

Carol Christ, Victorian and Modern Poetics
Jeffrey N. Cox,
In the Shadows of Romance: Romantic Tragic Drama in Germany, England, and France

Phillip Davis, The Victorians
Linda Dowling, Language and Decadence in the Victorian Fin de Siècle

Jonathan Freedman, Professions of Taste: Henry James, British Aestheticism and Commodity Culture

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

Angela Leighton, Victorian Women Poets: Writing Against the Heart
George Levine, The Realistic Imagination: English Fiction from Frankenstein to Lady Chatterley

____________, Dying to Know

Richard Maxwell, ed., The Victorian Illustrated Book
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

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

Arden Reed, ed., Romanticism and Language
Thomas Richards, The Commodity Culture of Victorian Britain
Alan Richardson, Literature, Education, and Romanticism
Jeffrey Robinson, Unfettering Poetry: Fancy in British Romanticism
Marlon Ross, The Contours of Masculine Desire

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
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 1780-1950
Susan Wolfson, Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism
Duncan Wu, ed., Romanticism, A Critical Reader