Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our Booklist

This is the list we're working from, and I would be witty about it but we're in New York and we have other things to do.

Please feel free to make suggestions on additions or favorite translations. Remember, our constraints: Beowulf through Virginia Woolf. Nothing really after, though I sneaked Lolita on there because it's important to me.

Edit: We stop at Virginia Woolf because the point of this is to get an education in the foundations of English-language literature, and because we only have so much time in our lives. And because Serena's advisor told her she could stop there.

Besides, how can you not love the fearful symmetry?

Original Booklist:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The Canterbury Tales
Piers Plowman
Le Morte d’Arthur
Ben Jonson's Elegy to Shakespeare
"Defense of Poesy"
Edward II
“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
The Tempest
Julius Caesar
Antony and Cleopatra
Romeo and Juliet
Much Ado About Nothing
The Merchant of Venice
As You Like It
The Sonnets
The Faerie Queen
John Donne's Holy Sonnets
John Donne's "Elegy 20"
John Donne's "The Bait"
John Donne's "The Flea"
Paradise Lost
“To His Coy Mistress”
“The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”
The Way of the World
Pilgrim’s Progress
All for Love
The School for Scandal
The Rivals
"A Modest Proposal"
"A Description of a City Shower"
Gulliver’s Travels
Alexander Pope's “Rape of the Lock,”
Alexander Pope's "The Dunciad"
Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man"
Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism"
Moll Flanders
Robinson Crusoe
James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson
She Stoops to Conquer
The Vicar of Wakefield
Tom Jones
Tristam Shandy
Mary Shelley's “Vindication of the Rights of Women”
Vanity Fair
»Moby Dick (Annemarie suggested it!)
Samuel Coleridge's “Kublai Khan”
Samuel Coleridge's “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Samuel Coleridge's “Frost at Midnight”
Sense and Sensibility
Childe Harold'd Pilgrimage
Don Juan
Wuthering Heights
Percy Shelley's “Ode to the West Wind”
Percy Shelley's “Defence of Poetry”
Percy Shelley's “Ozymandias”
Percy Shelley's “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty”
Walter Scott's “Marmion
Charles Lamb's Essays of Elia
Mysteries of Udolpho
Hard Times
Oliver Twist
Tale of Two Cities
John Keats' “To a Nightingale”
John Keats' “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
John Keats' “Fall of Hyperion”
William Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads
William Wordsworth's “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”
William Wordsworth's“I Wandered Lonely as Cloud”
Songs of Innocence and Experience
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Mill on the Floss
Importance of Being Earnest
Picture of Dorian Gray
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's “Sonnets from the Portuguese”
Robert Browning's “My Last Duchess”
Robert Browning's “Fra Lippo Lippi”
Alfred Tennyson's “In Memoriam, AH.H.”
Alfred Tennyson's “Ulysses”
Alfred Tennyson's “Charge of the Light Brigade”
Alfred Tennyson's “Lady of Shalott
Jonathan Edwards' “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God”
Anne Bradstreet's “A Dialogue Between Old England and New”
Anne Bradstreet's “To My Dear and Loving Husband”
Anne Bradstreet's “The Author to Her Book"
Anne Bradstreet's "Upon the Birth of One of Her Children”
Moby Dick
Bartleby the Scrivener
House of the Seven Gables
The Scarlet Letter
Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny
Emily Dickinson's “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”
Emily Dickinson's “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”
Emily Dickinson's “I Felt a Funeral In my Brain”
Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"
Walt Whitman's “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”
Walt Whitman's “Oh Captain, My Captain”
Diaries of Adam and Eve
Adventures of Huckberry Finn
Is Shakespeare Dead?
Margaret Fuller's “Women In the Nineteenth Century”
The Bostonians
Portrait of a Lady
Arms and the Man
»Yellow Wallpaper (Annemarie, this was a good one, and one I totally spaced)
Howard’s End
The House of Mirth
To the Lighthouse
A Room of One’s Own
Heart of Darkness
"The Dead"
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
D.H. Lawrence's “Why the Novel Matters”
W.B. Yeats' “When You Are Old”
W.B. Yeats' "Easter 1916"
W.B. Yeats' "Lake Isle of Innisfree"
W.B. Yeats' "The Second Coming"
W.B. Yeats' "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop"
Langston Hughes' “The Negro Speaks of Rivers"
Langston Hughes' "I, Too"
Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son"
Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B"
T.S. Eliot's “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets"
T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland"
Robert Frost's “After Apple Picking”
Robert Frost's "Birches"
Robert Frost's "Design"
Robert Frost's "The Mending Wall"
A Moveable Feast
Hills Like White Elephants
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
This Side of Paradise
The Great Gatsby
The Sound and the Fury
“A Rose For Emily”
Mourning Becomes Electra
A Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Waiting for Godot
George Orwell's “Politics and the English Language”
Nineteen Eighty-Four
The Grapes of Wrath
The End of the Affair
W.H. Auden's "Funeral Blues"
W.H. Auden's "The More Loving One"
W.H. Auden's "Epitaph on a Tyrant"
W.H. Auden's "September 1, 1939"
W.H. Auden's “In Memory of W.B. Yeats”
Ezra Pound's “In a Station of the Metro”
Matthew Arnold's “Dover Beach”
Wilfred Owen's “Dulce Et Decorum Est”
Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Love Is Not All"
Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Conscientious Objector"
Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Time Offers No Relief"
Edna St. Vincent Millay's "I Will Put Chaos Into 14 Lines"
Dylan Thomas' “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”
Dylan Thomas' “A Child’s Christmas In Wales”
Brave New World

Recent Additions Since We Decided To Read Things Not Originally In English:
The Divine Comedy
The Oresteia
The Persians
Notes from the Underground
Crime and Punishment
Madame Bovary
Death in Venice
Rilke (TBA)


Lauren said...

is the title of this list "books i was forced to read in high school and/or as an english major"?

you guys really need some poetry that came after Modernism - Lowell, Plath, Bishop, Ginsburg - and some novels that were also written after 1950 - Atwood anyone?

however i am still unclear as to what the purpose of this list actually is, besides reminding me how much i hate some canonical literature.

Lauren said...

also, no one should ever have to read The Wasteland again. i will allow Eliot the self-indulgence of Prufrock but The Wasteland is one of if not THE worst canonical poem i've ever read/written a paper on.

now you've got me ranting about's a dangerous cog to put into motion.

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

You can wait till you are in grad school to read Piers Plowman. Trust me. But you're wise to read super famous non-English lit for the GRE's.

Annemarie said...

I'm with Lauren on the Lowell, Plath, Bishop, Ginsberg, and would also add Yellow Wallpaper, Tess of the D'urbervilles (or some other Hardy), Dracula, some form of Ken Kesey or Pynchon for shits and giggles, MOBY DICK for sure (I'll do that one concurrently with you if you do it anytime between now and February, or if you do it next summer), and pop in some Wharton! Also, I read Bel-Ami by Maupassant recently, and thought it would be really interesting to compare/contrast with Wharton or other American "society" novels.

I am sooooooo excited by this blog...

Annemarie said...

oh shoot -- is it only through Woolf b/c you didn't get that far when making the list, or just as an arbitrary ending point for the "cannon"?

Maya said...

Just stumbled upon this (though I know you told me about it) and all I can say is good luck! If you want my humble addition to your list, I must say that if you really are only going through Woolf you shouldn't stop before reading Mrs. Dalloway. Especially if you're reading Ulysses. In fact, read it right after Ulysses and you'll forever be indebted to Woolf. Oh, and thanks so much for American Wife, that was an awesome thanksgiving week treat!