#60 What is the Preferred Syllabus and Booklist for English Literature Optional in Civil services Mains Exam?

English literature is all about reading and understanding the nuances of stories written by major authors, playwrights and poets.English literature is not a desired optional but if chosen it might prove fruitful.Every year there are 40-50 students opting for this optional .

It is, however, a very interesting subject which will prove to be an enjoyable and smooth Affair.

Taking optional literature has its own perks as  the competition is less. To ace the subject you must have a good analysis of classical text to improve your Analytical Skills. 

Now ,the question arises,that who should take up this subject?Should only the literature graduate take this subject? or anyone can ace it? The answer is anyone who has a good grasp over the language and passion can choose this option irrespective of their degree.

The foremost syep to understand any subject is to be well versed with it’s syllabus. 

So what is the syllabus for this optional?


Paper -1

The Renaissance: Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama; Metaphysical Poetry; The Epic and the Mock Epic; Neoclassicism; 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 :
  3. Canonization;
  4. Death be not proud;
  5. The Good Morrow;
  6. On his Mistress going to bed;
  7. The Relic;
  8. John Milton: Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX
  9. Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock.
  10. William Wordsworth.

 The following poems:

  1. Ode on Intimations of Immortality.
  2. Tintern Abbey.
  3. Three years later she grew.
  4. She dwelt among untrodden ways.
  5. Michael.
  6. Resolution and Independence.
  7. The World is too much with us.
  8. Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
  9. Upon Westminster Bridge.
  10. Alfred Tennyson: In Memoriam.
  11. Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House.

Section B

  1. Jonathan Swift- Gulliver’s Travels.
  2. Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice.
  3. Henry Fielding-Tom Jones.
  4. Charles Dickens-Hard Times.
  5. George Eliot-The Mill on the Floss.
  6. Thomas Hardy- Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
  7. Mark Twain- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Paper 2

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

Section A

1.William Butler Yeats. The following poems:

  1.  Easter 1916
  2.  The Second Coming
  3.  A Prayer for my daughter.
  4.  Sailing to Byzantium.
  5.  The Tower.
  6.  Among School Children.
  7.  Leda and the Swan.
  8.  Meru
  9.  Lapis Lazuli

2.T.S. Eliot. The following poems :

  1.  The LoveSong of J.Alfred Prufrock
  2.  Journey of the Magi.
  3.  Burnt Norton.

3.W.H. Auden. The following poems :

  1.  Partition
  2.  Musée des Beaux Arts
  3.  in Memory of W.B. Yeats
  4.  Lay your sleeping head, my love
  5.  The Unknown Citizen
  6.  Consider
  7.  Mundus Et Infans
  8.  The Shield of Achilles
  9.  September 1, 1939
  10.  Petition.

4.John Osborne : Look Back in Anger.

5.Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot.

6.Philip Larkin. The following poems :

  1.  Next
  2.  Please
  3.  Deceptions
  4.  Afternoons
  5.  Days
  6.  Mr. Bleaney

7.A.K. Ramanujan. The following poems :

  1.  Looking for a Causim on a Swing
  2.  A River
  3.  Of Mothers, among other Things
  4.  Love Poem for a Wife 1
  5.  SamllScale Reflections on a Great House
  6.  Obituary


  1. Introduction to English Literature by W. H Hudson
  2. The Routledge History of Literature in English
  3. A short History of English Literature (Pramod K. Nayar)
  4. King Lear- William Shakespeare
  5. The Tempest- William Shakespeare
  6. Canonization- John Donne
  7. Death be not proud- John Donne
  8. The Good Morrow- John Donne
  9. On his Mistress going to bed-John Donne
  10. The relic- John Donne
  11. Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX- John Milton
  12. The Rape of the Lock- Alexander Pope
  13. Ode on Intimations of Immortality- William Wordsworth
  14. Tintern Abbey-William Wordsworth
  15. Three years she grew-William Wordsworth
  16. She dwelt among untrodden ways-William Wordsworth
  17. Michael-William Wordsworth
  18. Resolution and Independence- William Wordsworth
  19. The World is too much with us-William Wordsworth
  20. Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour-William Wordsworth
  21. Upon Westminster Bridge-William Wordsworth
  22. Gulliver’s Travels-Jonathan Swift
  23. Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen
  24. Tom Jones-Henry Fielding
  25. Hard Times- Charles Dickens
  26. The Mill on the Floss-George Eliot
  27. Tess of the d’Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy
  28. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
  29. Easter 1916- William Butler Yeats
  30. The Second Coming-William Butler Yeats
  31. A Prayer for my daughter-William Butler Yeats
  32. Sailing to Byzantium-William Butler Yeats
  33. The Tower-William Butler Yeats
  34. Among School Children-William Butler Yeats
  35. Leda and the Swan-William Butler Yeats
  36. Meru-William Butler Yeats
  37. Lapis Lazuli-William Butler Yeats
  38. The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock- T. S. Eliot
  39. Journey of the Magi-T. S. Eliot
  40. Burnt Norton-T. S. Eliot
  41. Partition- W.H. Auden
  42. Musee des Beaux Arts-W.H. Auden
  43. In Memory of W.B. Yeats-W.H. Auden
  44. Lay your sleeping head, my love-W.H. Auden
  45. The Unknown Citizen-W.H. Auden
  46. Consider-W.H. Auden
  47. Mundus Et Infans-W.H. Auden
  48. The Shield of Achilles-W.H. Auden
  49. Look In Anger-John Osborne
  50. Waiting for Godot-Samuel Beckett
  51. Next- Philip Larkin
  52. Please-Philip Larkin
  53. Deceptions-Philip Larkin
  54. Afternoons-Philip Larkin
  55. Days-Philip Larkin
  56. Bleaney-Philip Larkin
  57. Looking for a Causim on a Swing-A.K. Ramanujan
  58. A River-A.K. Ramanujan
  59. Of Mothers, among other Things-A.K. Ramanujan
  60. Love Poem for a Wife 1-A.K. Ramanujan
  61. Small-Scale Reflections on a Great House-A.K. Ramanujan
  62. Obituary-A.K. Ramanujan
  63. Lord Jim-Joseph Conrad
  64. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce
  65. Sons and Lovers-D.H. Lawrence
  66. A Passage to India- E.M. Forster.
  67. Mrs Dalloway- Virginia Woolf.
  68. Kanthapura-Raja Rao
  69. A House for Mr. Biswas- V.S. Naipal

Reading literature books can be a tiring task,but they will definitely enrich your language skills,readimg skills and vocabulary.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *