MA Exam in 19th-Century British
(updated November, 2007)

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 Brontë, Jane Eyre

5.  Emily Brontë, 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 D’Urbervilles

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,” “A 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,” “Traffic,” & 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,” &  “Defence of Poetry”

26. A.C. Swinburne, “The Triumph of Time, “Anactoria,” “Hymn to Proserpine,”   “Hermaphroditus,” “The Garden of Proserpine,” “Hertha, “A Forsaken Garden,” “Ave atque Vale,” “On the Cliffs,” “A 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,” “Composed upon Westminster Bridge ,” “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” “The Solitary Reaper”





M.H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism

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

Patrick Brantlinger, The Spirit of Reform

Joseph Bristow, ed., The Fin-de-Siècle Poem

Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels, and Reactionaries

Richard Cronin, Romantic Victorians

Philip Davis, The Victorians

Linda Dowling, Language and Decadence in the Victorian Fin de Siècle

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

Robin Gilmour, The Victorian Period

George Levine, Dying to Know: Scientific Epistemology and Narrative in Victorian England

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

D.A. Miller, The Novel and the Police

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

Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 1780-1950

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

Duncan Wu, ed., Romanticism, A Critical Reader