20th and 21st Century American Literature


Download Printable Version
(right-click to save)

The candidate is responsible for all writers and works in List A, at least three writers from List B, and at least three writers from List C.



Elizabeth Bishop. Selected Poems

T.S. Eliot. The Waste Land, Four Quartets

Robert Frost. North of Boston, Mountain Interval.

Langston Hughes. One of the Following Collections: The Weary Blues, Fine Clothes to the Jew, Shakespeare in Harlem. (Poems in these collections may be pieced together from works in Hughes’ Collected Poems.)

Sylvia Plath. Selected Poems

Wallace Stevens. “Sunday Morning” and Other Selected Poems


Ralph Ellison. Invisible Man

William Faulkner. As I Lay Dying; Light in August or The Sound and the Fury; “Barn Burning”; “Dry September”; “The Bear” (version in Go Down, Moses)

F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby

Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms, In Our Time

Zora Neale Hurston. Their Eyes Were Watching God

Maxine Hong Kingston. The Woman Warrior

Toni Morrison. Beloved and One of the Following: Sula or The Bluest Eye

Flannery O’Connor. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories or Everything That Rises Must Converge

John Steinbeck. The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men

Eudora Welty. A Curtain of Green


Susan Glaspell. Trifles

Arthur Miller. Death of a Salesman

Eugene O’Neill. One of the Following: Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Ice Man Cometh, or Moon for the Misbegotten

Tennessee Williams. A Streetcar Named Desire



Oscar Zeta Acosta. The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo or The Revolt of the Cockroach People

Edward Albee. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Zoo Story

Julia Alvarez. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

Rudolfo Anaya. Bless Me, Ultima

Sherwood Anderson. Winesburg, Ohio

Gloria Anzaldua. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Isaac Asimov. I, Robot

James Baldwin. Go Tell It on the Mountain or Going to Meet the Man

Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones). Dutchman or The Slave

John Barth. Lost in the Funhouse

Donald Barthelme. Sixty Stories.

Saul Bellow. Seize the Day or Herzog

Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles

Truman Capote. In Cold Blood

Ana Castillo. So Far from God or The Mixquiahuala Letters

Willa Cather. My Ántonia or Death Comes for the Archbishop

Raymond Chandler. The Big Sleep

Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek

Edwidge Danticat. Krik? Krak!

Don DeLillo. White Noise

Junot Diaz. The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao

Philip K. Dick. The Man in the High Castle, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

W.E.B. DuBois. Souls of Black Folks, “Returning Soldiers”

Louise Erdrich. Selected Novel or Stories

Horton Foote. Orphans’ Home Cycle

Jonathan Franzen. The Corrections

William Gaddis. The Recognitions

William Gass. In the Heart of the Heart Country

Kaye Gibbons. Ellen Foster

Jessica Hagedorn. Dogeaters

Dashiell Hammett. The Maltese Falcon

Lorraine Hansberry. Raisin in the Sun

Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger in a Strange Land

Joseph Heller. Catch-22

David Henry Hwang. M. Butterfly or The Dance and the Railroad

Gish Jen. Mona in the Promised Land

Ha Jin. Waiting

Denis Johnson. Jesus’ Son

George S. Kaufmann and Moss Hart. You Can’t Take It with You, The Man Who Came to Dinner

Jack Kerouac. On the Road

Tony Kushner. Angels in America I and II

Chang Rae Lee. Native Speaker

Sinclair Lewis. Main Street or Babbitt

Jack London. One Novel or Selected Stories

Audre Lorde. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

David Mamet. One Selected Play

David Markson. Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Bobbie Ann Mason. In Country

Cormac McCarthy. Blood Meridian or Suttree

Carson McCullers. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter or The Ballad of the Sad Café

N. Scott Momaday. House Made of Dawn

Lorrie Moore. Self-Help

Cherríe Moraga. Heroes and Saints

Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita or Pale Fire

Joyce Carol Oates. Bellefleur, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Tim O’Brien. The Things They Carried

Américo Paredes. George Washington Gómez

Suzan-Lori Parks. The American Play or Topdog/Underdog

Sylvia Plath. The Bell Jar

Katherine Anne Porter. Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Thomas Pynchon. The Crying of Lot 49 or Gravity’s Rainbow or Mason/Dixon

Ishmael Reed. Mumbo Jumbo

Marilynne Robinson. Gilead or Housekeeping

Philip Roth. Goodbye, Columbus or Portnoy’s Complaint or American Pastoral

J.D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye

Ntozake Shange. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf: A Choreopoem

Sam Shepherd. One Selected Play

Leslie Marmon Silko. Ceremony

Anna Deavere Smith. Fires in the Mirror or Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Lee Smith. Oral History or Fair and Tender Ladies, or On Agate Hill

Gertrude Stein. Three Lives

William Styron. The Confessions of Nat Turner

Amy Tan. The Joy Luck Club

Piri Thomas. Down These Mean Streets

Anne Tyler. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

John Updike. Rabbit Redux or Rabbit, Run or all of the following: “Separating,” “The Happiest I’ve Been,” “A & P,” and “The Lifeguard

Luis Valdez. Zoot Suit

Kurt Vonnegut. Slaughterhouse Five

Alice Walker. The Color Purple

David Foster Wallace. Infinite Jest or Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Nathanael West. Miss Lonelyhearts or The Day of the Locust

Edith Wharton. The Age of Innocence

August Wilson. Selected Play

Thomas Wolfe. Look Homeward, Angel

Richard Wright. Native Son, Black Boy, or Uncle Tom’s Children



A.R. Ammons. Garbage

Gloria Anzaldua. Selected Poems

John Ashberry. Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Gwendolyn Brooks. Selected Poems

Lorna Dee Cervantes. Selected Poems

Judith Ortiz Cofer. Selected Poems

Billy Collins. Selected Poems

Countee Cullen. Selected Poems

e.e. cummings. Selected Poems

Rita Dove. Selected Poems

Mark Doty. My Alexandria

Allen Ginsberg. Selected Poems

Nikki Giovanni. Selected Poems

H.D. Selected Poems

Louise Erdrich. Selected Poems

Jorie Graham. The Dream of a Unified Field

Lyn Heijinian. My Life

Randall Jarrell. Selected Poems

Robinson Jeffers. Selected Poems

James Weldon Johnson. Selected Poems

Yusef Komunyakaa. Neon Vernacular

Denise Levertov. Selected Poems

Philip Levine. Selected Poems

Audre Lorde. Selected Poems

Robert Lowell. Selected Poems

Claude McKay. Selected Poems

James Merrill. Selected Poems 1946-1985

W.S. Merwin. Selected Poems

Marianne Moore. Selected Poems

Pat Mora. Selected Poems

Mary Oliver. Selected Poems

Ezra Pound. Selected Poems

Theodore Roethke. Selected Poems

Anne Sexton. Selected Poems

Charles Simic. Selected Poems

Robert Penn Warren. Selected Poems

Adrienne Rich. Selected Poems, including “I Am in Danger—Sir—,” “Diving into the Wreck,” “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law,” and “Storm Warnings”

Edwin Arlington Robinson. Selected Poems, including “The Mill,” “Miniver Cheevy,” “Mr. Flood’s Party,” and “Richard Cory”

Carl Sandburg. Selected Poems

Richard Wilbur. Selected Poems

William Carlos Williams. Selected Poems

Charles Wright. Selected Poems

Bernice Zamora. Selected Poems

A candidate may also submit a list of readings to supplement, but not replace, the readings from the core (“A”) list above. The supplementary list should be submitted for approval with the declaration of intent to take the comprehensive examination form.

Rev. 1 August 2014

Sam Houston State Logo

Sam Houston State University | Huntsville, Texas 77341 | (936) 294-1111 | (866)BEARKAT Member TSUS
© Copyright Sam Houston State University | All rights reserved. | Contact Web Editor