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final examination topics: BA, American track: literature

  1. The Literature of Colonization and Puritanism: histories, poetry, the captivity narrative
  2. The American Enlightenment: the Revolution and the Early Republic (Franklin, Paine, Jefferson)
  3. 19th century women writers and the slave narrative
  4. Discuss American Transcendentalism in general, and choose one author for detailed discussion.( Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller)
  5. Compare the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
  6. General aspects of XIXth century prose: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Henry James; choose one for detailed discussion
  7. Twentieth century women writers: the first and second generation (Chopin, Jewett, Gilman,; Plath, Morrison, Walker, Silko) Choose one author from each generation for detailed discussion
  8. Modernist poetry: high modernism and radical modernism (Pound, Frost, Eliot, Stevens, Williams, Stein, H.D.)
  9. Modernist fiction (Stein, Barnes, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Wright)
  10. Describe general aspects of the Harlem Renaissance and choose one author for detailed discussion. (Alain Locke, DuBois, Hurston, Hughes, Wright, Larsen)
  11. Modern American drama (O’Neill, Williams, Miller, Albee), choose one for detailed discussion
  12. General aspects of postmodern poetry and fiction (the Black Mountain Poets, the Beats, Pynchon, Barth, Auster, Morrison)

primary readings

  • The Journal of John Winthrop
  • Mary Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of …
  • Anne Bradstreet, “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” “A Letter to Her Husband Absent Upon Public Employment,” “Here Follow Some Verses Upon the Burning of Our House”
  • Benjamin Franklin, from Autobiography
  • Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature,” “Self-Reliance”
  • Henry David Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government,” excerpts from Walden
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, “My Kinsman, Major Molineux,” “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Birthmark,” “The May-Pole of Merry Mount”
  • Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter” , “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Philosophy of Composition,”“The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Raven,” The City in the Sea,” “Dreamland”
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Frederick Douglass, The Narrative of the Life of FD, an American Slave
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Walt Whitman, “Preface to Leaves of Grass,” “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”
  • Emily Dickinson, # 214, 258, 280, 303, 341, 437, 465, 520, 619, 624, 754, 764, 861, 1071, 1072, 1129, 1418, 1719, 1732, 1677
  • Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” Benito Cereno
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, “A White Heron”
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
  • Kate Chopin, “Desirée’s Baby,” “A Respectable Woman,” “The Story of an Hour,” The Awakening
  • Susan Glaspell, Trifles
  • Henry James, Daisy Miller, “The Beast in the Jungle,” The Turn of the Screw
  • Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (chapters I, XIX, XXV)
  • Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • T. E. Hulme, “Autumn,” “Conversion”; F. S. Flint, “The Swan”
  • Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro,” “A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste, “Pact,” “L’art, 1910,” “Alba,” “Doria,” “The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance,” “A Girl,” “Li Po,” “Pagani’s, November 8,” “The Tea Shop,” “A Retrospect”
  • William CarlosWilliams,“The Red Wheelbarrow,”“The Great Figure,” “Spring and All,” “The Rose,” “Poem,” “By the road to the contagious hospital,” “Queen-Ann’s-Lace,” “Portrait of a Lady,” “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” “Young Sycamore“
  • H. D., “Oread,” “Orchard,” “Eurydice”
  • Gertrude Stein, “Susie Asado,” “Preciosilla,” “The Work,” “More Grammar for a Sentence” (Part One), Three Lives
  • Amy Lowell, “Opal,” “A Decade”
  • Robert Frost, “Mending Wall,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Reluctance,” “After Apple-picking,” “Mowing”
  • T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “The Waste Land”
  • Wallace Stevens, “Anecdote of the Jar,” “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” “Idea of Order at Key West”
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (chapters I, III)
  • Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues,” “I, Too,”
  • Countee Cullen, “Incident,” “From the Dark Tower,”
  • Claude McKay, “If We Must Die”
  • Allen Ginsberg, from Howl, I
  • Gary Snyder, Riprap, “The Call of the Wild”
  • Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song,” “Lady Lazarus,”
  • Robert Lowell, “Home After Thirteen Months Away”
  • Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck,” “Translations,”
  • Anne Sexton, “For My Lover, Returning to His Wife”
  • Charles Olson, “I, Maximus of Gloucester, to You,” “Maximus, to himself,” „For Sappho, Back,” “Variations Done for Gerald Van De Wiele”; “Projective Verse”
  • Robert Creely, “For Love,” “I Know a Man,” “Mountains in the Desert”
  • Robert Duncan, “Structure of Rhyme, XI,” “Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow”
  • Denise Levertov, “Beyond the End,” “The Jacob’s Ladder,” “Stepping Westward,” “Illustrious Ancestors,” “Woman Alone”
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants,” “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” The Sun Also Rises
  • William Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily,” The Sound and the Fury
  • Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, “Babylon Revisited”
  • Nella Larsen, Passing
  • Jean Toomer, “Blood-Burning Moon” (from Cane)
  • Zora Neale Hurston, “The Eatonville Anthology,” “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Richard Wright, Native Son
  • Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night
  • Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Arthur Miller, The Death of a Salesman
  • Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Nathanael West, excerpts from Miss Lonelyhearts
  • Richard Wright, “Long Black Song”
  • John Dos Passos, from The Big Money (from the trilogy U. S. A.)
  • Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
  • J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  • John Barth, The End of the Road
  • Thomas Pynchon, “Entropy”
  • Donald Barthelme, “Robert Kennedy Saved From Drowning”
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved, The Bluest Eye

secondary readings

  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 3rd ed.
  • The Heath Anthology of American Literature, 2nd ed.
  • Bollobás Enikő, Az amerikai irodalom története. Budapest: Osiris, 2005.
  • Gray, Richard, A History of American Literature. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.
  • Elliott, Emory, ed., Columbia Literary History of the United States. New York: Columbia UP, 1998.
  • Federmayer, Éva, Irén Annus, and Judith Sollosy, Netting America at
studies/graduation/final_examination/topics/ba-american/literature.txt · Last modified: 2021-12-02 by Vera Benczik