Reading List

Comprehensive Exam Reading List
Revised 2011

To MALLT students concentrating in Comparative Literature:

You are required to develop a reading list of thirty-five to forty works for your Comprehensive Exams, in conjunction with your major professor and the other members of your examining committee. Of the works on your list, at least ten to fifteen must be works of theory and criticism; the remaining texts should be literary works (possibly including film). The substantial majority of the literary texts should be in one of the two languages other than English that have been your primary focus of study, and the list should contain at least five literary works in each of the two languages other than English that you read. In the event that your list contains numerous works that are exceptionally short, exceptionally long, or exceptionally difficult, the numbers listed above may vary accordingly, with the approval of your committee.

Books on Shelf

The long list below is dedicated to theoretical and critical works and should serve as a guide as you create your own, much shorter list. If there are works that do not appear on this list but which you and your advisor agree are central to your field of study, you should make appropriate substitutions. As you put together your reading list, you should strive to develop a clear concentration or area of expertise while also demonstrating some breadth and familiarity with the discipline as a whole.

You should begin to draft your reading list after you have completed nine to twelve credits. Once you and your major professor have a working draft of your reading list with which you are both satisfied, show it to the other two members of your examining committee and make sure it meets with their approval as well (preferably at least one semester before you plan to take your exam).

To MALLT Students pursing a double concentration:

Up to twenty of the works on your reading list for the Comparative Literature concentration may be duplicates of the works on the reading list for your other concentration, if feasible (duplication will likely be easier for literature concentrations than linguistics, for example). The duplicate works may be either literary or theoretical, but your list in Comparative Literature must still include at least ten to fifteen theoretical or critical texts and at least five literary works in each of the two foreign languages that serve as your primary fields of study within Comparative Literature.

The List

M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition
Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory
Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life
Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literature
Robert Alter, The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age
Samir Amin, Eurocentrism
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism
Aristotle, Poetics
Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Augustine, De doctrina christiana
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism
Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination or Rabelais and His World
Mieke Bal, Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative
Roland Barthes, S/Z; Image, Music, and Text; or Mythologies
Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulations”
Antonio Benítez-Rojo, The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective
Walter Benjamin, Illuminations
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter
Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
Michael Andre Bernstein, Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero
Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture
Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature
Allan Bloom, Love and Friendship
Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Frames of War; or text of choice
Aimé Cesaire, Discourse On Colonialism
Partha Chatterjee, Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories
Rey Chow, Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies; Primitive Passion; or Ethics after Idealism
Stanley Corngold, The Fate of the Self: German Writers and French Theory
Michel de Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other or The Writing of History
Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction
Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1; Cinema 2
Paul de Man, Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism or Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust
Jacques Derrida, Of grammatology or Writing and Difference
Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; The History of Sexuality, vol. I; Language, Counter-Memory, Practice; or text of choice
Sigmund Freud, Interpretation of Dreams; Civilization and Its Discontents; or text of choice
Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism
Hans Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method
Henry Louis Gates, Figures In Black: Words, Signs, and the “Racial” Self
Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures
Gérard Genette, Figures III or Narrative Discourse
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness
Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks
Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World or Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare
Inderpal Grewal, Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire, and the Cultures of Travel
Georg Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
Martin Heidegger, On the Way to Language
Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment
Johannes Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture
Roman Jakobson, The Framework of Language
Frederic Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act; Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism; or text of choice
H.R. Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception
Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Aesthetical Judgment
Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction
Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death
Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language; Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection; or Revolution in Poetic Language
Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection or “Seminar on the ‘Purloined Letter'”
Dominick LaCapra, History and Criticism
Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind or Tristes tropiques
Lydia He Liu, Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity-China, 1900-1937
Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel
Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud
Karl Marx, Capital (selections); Communist Manifesto; or Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Context
Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism
V. Y. Mudimbe, The Invention Of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy; Untimely Meditations; or Genealogy of Morals
Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature
Lee Patterson, Negotiating the Past: The Historical Understanding of Medieval Literature
Catherine Pickstock, After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy
Georges Poulet, Studies in Human Time
Plato, The Republic
Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation
Jasbir Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times
Paul Ricoeur, The Conflict of Interpretations
Stanley Rosen, Hermeneutics as Politics
Edward W. Said, Orientalism or The World, The Text, and The Critic
Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in general linguistics
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire
Steven Shaviro, Connected, or What It Means to Live in the Network Society
Shu-mei Shih, The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937
Kaja Silverman, Male Subjectivity At The Margins
Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory
Doris Sommer, Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America
Leo Spitzer, Linguistics and Literary History: Essays in Stylistics
Gayatri Spivak, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics or Critique of Postcolonial Reason
Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression
George Steiner, Language and Silence or After Babel
Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing
Tzvetan Todorov, Literature and Its Theorists or The Poetics of Prose
Eugene Vance, Mervelous Signals: Poetics and Sign Theory in the Middle Ages
Giambattista Vico, The New Science
Eric Voegelin, “Wisdom and Magic of the Extreme: A Meditation”
Robert Young, Colonial Desire or White Mythologies
Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel
Samuel Weber, Institution and Interpretation
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
René Wellek and Austin Warren, Theory of Literature
Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation
Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature or text of choice
Slavoj Zizek, The Ticklish Subject; Sublime Object of Ideology; or text of choice