M.A. In English Comprehensive Exam and Reading List

At the close of their studies for an M.A. in English at Xavier University, students must pass a written, closed-book comprehensive examination based on works of literature, linguistics, composition, and literary theory. The exam is administered in November and April of each year. The department faculty choose fifteen of these works; the remaining three works are chosen by the student.  This reading list is revised every two years. Students wishing to sit for the exam must notify Ms. Linda Loomis, the English Department Secretary, one month in advance of an exam date. As in the past, students will be required to answer at least one comparative question and several essay questions on individual works. There will also be a section requiring specific textual analysis or explication of one or more passages from one or more of the works on the lists.

The comprehensive exam for the Master's Program in English will be given Tuesday, April 8, 2014, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Students planning to take the exam should notify the Director of the Graduate Program, Dr. Tyrone Williams (513-745-2014, williamt@xavier.edu), by Tuesday, March 11; a phone message with the department secretary, Linda Loomis (513-745-2887, loomis@xavier.edu), is also sufficient. If you plan to take the exam in April, be sure to have your three individually chosen books approved by March 11.

On April 8, students should come to the English Department office (236 Hinkle) at 8:30 a.m.

M.A. Exam Reading List

Fall 2012 through Spring 2014

1. Beowulf, anonymous
Recommended Translation: Heaney, Seamus. New York: Norton, 2001.
Useful Reading:
?Fulk, R.D., ed. Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1991.

2. Richard the Third, William Shakespeare
Useful Readings:
?Howard, Jean E. and Phyllis Rackin. "Weak Kings, Warrior Women, and the Assault on Dynastic Authority: Richard III." Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare?s English Histories. London: Routledge, 1997. 100-118.
?Moulton, Ian Frederick. "'A Monster Great Deformed': The Unruly Masculinities of Richard III." Shakespeare Quarterly 47.3 (1996): 251-68.
?Williams, Katherine Schaap. "Enabling Richard: The Rhetoric of Disability in Richard III." Disability Studies Quarterly 29.4 (2009): n. pag. (available online)

3. Evelina, Frances Burney
Useful Readings:
?Sabor, Peter, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Frances Burney. New York: Cambridge UP, 2007.
?Zonitch, Barbara. Familiar Violence: Gender and Social Upheaval in the Novels of Frances Burney. Newark: U of Delaware P, 1997.

4. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Useful Readings:
?Homans, Margaret. Bearing The Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1989.
?Kavanagh, James. Emily Bronte (Re-Reading Literature). Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.
?Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. New Haven: Vintage, 1991.

5. Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, Frederick Douglass
Useful Readings:
?Stone, Albert E. "Identity and Art in Frederick Douglass's Narrative." College Language Association Journal 17 (1973): 192-213. (Reprinted in Modern Critical Interpretations: Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of an American Slave. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. 7-27.)
?Andrews, William L. "The Performance of the Narrative." To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1986. 123-38. (Reprinted in Modern Critical Interpretations: Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of an American Slave. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. 165-82.)

6. Selected Poems, Robert Creeley.
Creeley, Robert. Selected Poems, 1945-2005. Ed. Benjamin Friedlander. Berkeley: U of California P, 2008.

The Immoral Proposition
I Know a Man
The Warning
The Whip
Oh No
A Wicker Basket
A Marriage
Ballad of the Despairing Husband
If You
The Flower
The Door
The Rain
For Love
For W.C.W.
The Language
For My Mother
I Love You
Bresson's Movies
Memory Gardens
Useful Readings:
?Fredman, Stephen and Steve McCaffery, eds. Form, Power, and Person In Robert Creeley's Life and Work. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2010. (See especially essays by Perloff, Altieri, Golding, and Middleton.)
?Altieri, Charles. Enlarging the Temple: New Directions in American Poetry During the 1960's. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 1979. (See Creeley chapter.)

7. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Useful Readings:
?Hogle, Jerrold, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.
?Smith, Johanna M. "'Cooped Up' with 'Sad Trash': Domesticity and the Sciences in Frankenstein." Frankenstein. Ed. Johanna M. Smith. New York: Bedford, 2000. 313-33.

8. The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot
Useful Reading:
?Eliot, T.S. The Waste Land: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Ed. Michael North. New York: Norton, 2001.

9. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Useful Readings:
?Achebe, Chinua. Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays. New York: Doubleday, 1990.
?Achebe, Chinua. Morning Yet on Creation Day: Essays. Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1975.
?Gikandi, Simon. Language and Ideology in Fiction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991.
?Booker, M. Keith, ed. Critical Insights: Things Fall Apart. Pasadena: Salem P, 2010.

10. Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Tony Kushner
Useful Reading:
?Nielsen, Ken. Tony Kushner's Angels in America. New York: Continuum, 2008.

11. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
Useful Readings:
Arnold, Edwin T. and Dianne C. Luce, eds. Perspectives on Cormac McCarthy. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1999. [electronic resource; see essays on Blood Meridian]
Shaviro, Steven. "Gravers false and true: Blood Meridian as Gnostic Tragedy." Cormac McCarthy: New Directions. Ed. James D. Lilley. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 2002.159-174.

12. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Useful Readings:
?Cooke, Nathalie. Margaret Atwood: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.
?Howells, Coral Ann, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.

13. Professing Literature, Gerald Graff
Useful Readings:
?Friend, Christy. "The Excluded Conflict: The Marginalization of Composition and Rhetoric Studies in Graff's Professing Literature." College English 54.3 (1992): 276-286.
?Wellek, René. "A Rejoinder to Gerald Graff." Critical Inquiry 5.3 (1979): 576-579.

14. Composition in the University, Sharon Crowley
Useful Readings:
?Berlin, James A. Rhetoric and Reality: Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1900-1985. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1987.
?Strickland, Donna. The Managerial Unconscious in the History of Composition Studies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2011.

15. Language, Gender, and Feminism, Sara Mills, Louise Mullany
Useful Reading:
?Cameron, Deborah. The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages? New York: Oxford UP, 2009.