English Literature Syllabus – Civil Services Mains Exam (UPSC )

Note: UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Optional Subject consists of 2 papers. Each paper is of 250 marks, making a total of 500 marks. You have to answer in English.

The syllabus consists of two papers, designed to test a first-hand and critical reading of texts prescribed from the following periods in English Leterature – Paper I – 1600-1900 and Paper II – 1900-1990.

There will be two compulsory questions in each paper  a) A short-notes question related to the topics for general study, and b) A critical analysis of UNSEEN passages both in prose and verse.

English Literature Paper-I

Texts for detailed study are listed below. Candidates will also be required to show adequate knowledge of the following topics and movements 

The Renaissance  Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama; Metaphysical Poetry; The Epic and the Mock-epic; Neo-classicism; Satire; The Romantic Movement; The Rise of the Novel; The Victorian Age.

Section-A

  1. William Shakespeare King Lear and The Tempest.

  2. John Donne. The following poems

  • – Canonization;

  • – Death be not proud;

  • – The Good Morrow;

  • – On his Mistress going to bed;

  • – The Relic;

  1. John Milton Paradise Lost,I, II, IV, IX

  2. Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock.

  3. William Wordsworth. The following poems

  • – Ode on Intimations of Immortality.

  • – Tintern Abbey.

  • – Three years she grew.

  • – She dwelt among untrodden ways.

  • – Michael.

  • – Resolution and Independence.

  • – The World is too much with us.

  • – Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

  • – Upon Westminster Bridge.

  1. Alfred Tennyson In Memoriam.

  2. Henrik Ibsen A Doll’s House.

 

Section-B

  • Jonathan Swift. Gulliver’s Travels.

  • Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice.

  • Henry Fielding. Tom Jones.

  • Charles Dickens. Hard Times.

  • George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss.

  • Thomas Hardy. Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

  • Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

English Literature Paper-II

Texts for detailed study are listed below. Candidates will also be required to show adequate knowledge of the following topics and movements

Modernism; Poets of the Thirties; The stream-of-consciousness Novel; Absurd Drama; Colonialism and Post-Colonialism; Indian Writing in English; Marxist, Psychoanalytical and Feminist approaches to literature; Post-Modernism.

Section-A

  1. William Butler Yeats. The following poems

  • – Easter 1916

  • – The Second Coming

  • – A Prayer for my daughter.

  • – Sailing to Byzantium.

  • – The Tower.

  • – Among School Children.

  • – Leda and the Swan.

  • – Meru

  • – Lapis Lazuli

  1. T.S. Eliot. The following poems 

  • – The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock

  • – Journey of the Magi.

  • – Burnt Norton.

  • W.H. Auden. The following poems 

  • – Partition

  • – Musee des Beaux Arts

  • – in Memory of W.B. Yeats

  • – Lay your sleeping head, my love

  • – The Unknown Citizen

  • – Consider

  • – Mundus Et Infans

  • – The Shield of Achilles

  • – September 1, 1939

  • – Petition.

  1. John Osborne Look Back in Anger.

  2. Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot.

  3. Philip Larkin. The following poems 

  • – Next

  • – Please

  • – Deceptions

  • – Afternoons

  • – Days

  • – Mr. Bleaney

  1. A.K. Ramanujan. The following poems 

  • – Looking for a Causim on a Swing

  • – A River

  • – Of Mothers, among other Things

  • – Love Poem for a Wife 1

  • – Samll-Scale Reflections on a Great House

  • – Obituary

(All these poems are available in the anthology Ten Twentieth Century Indian Poets, edited by R. Parthasarthy, published by Oxford University Press, New Delhi).

 

Section-B

  • Joseph Conrad. Lord Jim

  • James Joyce. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

  • D.H. Lawrence. Sons and Lovers.

  • E.M. Forster. A Passage to India.

  • Virginia Woolf. Mrs Dalloway.

  • Raja Rao. Kanthapura.

  • V.S. Naipal. A House for Mr. Biswas.

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