CSULA Department of English | Comprehensive Examination Reading Lists

American Literature: Beginnings to 1865

Period Reading List for Part One Exam

  1. Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

  2. Brown, Edgar Huntly

  3. Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans

  4. Davis, Life in the Iron Mills

  5. Dickinson, see list below (click here)

  6. Douglass, Narrative of the Life ...

  7. Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and Personal Narrative

  8. Emerson, “Nature,” “The Poet,” “The American Scholar,” “Experience”

  9. Franklin, The Autobiography

  10. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; “My Kinsman, Major Molineux,” “Young Goodman Brown”

  11. Irving, “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

  12. Melville, Moby-Dick

  13. Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Purloined Letter,” “Ligeia,” “William Wilson”

  14. Rowlandson, ... Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration ...   

  15. St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer

  16. Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

  17. Thoreau, Walden

  18. Whitman, “Song of Myself” (1855 version)

Dickinson Poems

(numbers refer to Thomas H. Johnson collection)

(67) Success is counted sweetest 
(77) I never hear the Word ‘Escape’ 
(125) For each ecstatic instant
(130) These are the days when Birds come back
(160) Just lost, when I was saved!
(165) A wounded Deer—leaps highest— 
(167) To learn the Transport by the Pain—
(185) “Faith” is a fine invention
(193) I shall know why—when Time is over—
(199) I’m “wife” —I’ve finished that— 
(211) Come slowly—Eden!
(213) Did the Harebell loose her girdle
(216) Safe in their Alabaster Chambers
(233) The Lamp burns sure—within— 
(249) Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
(258) There’s a certain Slant of light, 
(280) I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, 
(281) ‘Tis so appalling—it exhilarates—
(301) I reason, Earth is short—
(303) The Soul selects her own Society—
(305) The difference between Despair 
(313) I should have been too glad, I see—
(314) Nature—sometimes sears a Sapling—
(315) He fumbles at your Soul
(324) Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—
(328) A Bird came down the Walk—
(333) The Grass so little has to do,
(338) I know that He exists.
(341) After great pain, a formal feeling comes—
(376) Of Course—I prayed—
(398) I had not minded—Walls—
(406) Some – Work for Immortality 
(413) I never felt at Home—Below—
(414) ‘Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch,
(435) Much Madness is divinest Sense—
(437) Prayer is the little implement 
(444) It feels a shame to be Alive— 
(448) This was a Poet—It is That
(461) A Wife—at Daybreak I shall be—
(465) I heard a Fly Buzz—when I died— 
(467) We do not play on Graves—
(488) Myself was formed—a Carpenter— 
(490) To One denied to drink
(501) This World is not conclusion, 
(508) I’m ceded—I’ve stopped being Theirs
(510) It was not Death, for I stood up, 
(512) The Soul has Bandaged moments—
(520) I started Early—Took my Dog—
(528) Mine—by the Right of the White Election!
(536) The heart asks Pleasure—first—
(561) I measure every Grief I meet
(565) One Anguish—in a Crowd 
(569) I reckon—when I count at all— 
(585) I like to see it lap the Miles—
(612) It would have starved a Gnat—
(613) They shut me up in Prose 
(632) The Brain–is wider than the Sky— 
(642) Me from Myself – to banish—
(657) I dwell in Possibility— 
(668) “Nature” is what We see—
(670) One need not be a Chamber—to be haunted— 
(709) Publication—is the Auction 
(712) Because I could not stop for Death— 
(732) She rose to His Requirement—dropt— 
(745) Renunciation—is a piercing Virtue— 
(754) My Life had stood—a loaded Gun—
(822) This Consciousness that is aware
(880) The Bird must sing to earn the Crumb
(952) A Man may make a Remark— 
(974) The Soul’s distinct connection
(986) A narrow Fellow in the Grass 
(1017) To die—without the Dying
(1068) Further in Summer than the Birds             
(1072) Title divine—is mine!
(1099) My Cocoon tightens—Colors teaze—
(1100) The last Night that She lived 
(1129) Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
(1461) Heavenly Father —take to thee
(1540) As imperceptibly as Grief
(1545) The bible is an antique Volume—
(1551) Those—dying then,
(1601) Of God we ask one favor,           
(1624) Apparently with no surprise
(1755) To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee 
(1774) Too happy Time dissolves itself

Selected Text for Part Two Exam

The next time the comprehensive examination in this period is offered, the Part Two text will be

Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin