2014-15 Nonfiction Book List

Lopate, Philip.   “Introduction.”   The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present.   (Works from this anthology in the list below will be noted “Lopate.”)


Seneca, “Of Noise.” (Lopate)
Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book
Matthew Arnold, “Sweetness and Light,” and “Barbarians, Philistines,  Populace” from Culture and Anarchy ; “Literature and Science” and from Discourses in America 
Plutarch, “Consolation to his Wife” (Lopate)
Michel de Montaigne,   “Of Books,” “Of a Monstrous Child,” “On Education.” (Lopate) Dr. Johnson.   “The Solitude of the Country.” (Lopate) Charles Lamb, “New Year’s Eve,” 
Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Lantern Bearers.” (Lopate)
Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal” Henry David Thoreau, Walden, “Walking” (Lopate) Mary Wolstoncraft,   A Vindication of The Rights of Women
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Charles Eastman, From the Deep Woods to Civilization


Jorge Luis Borges, “Blindness.” (Lopate)
George Orwell, “A Hanging,” “Why I Write,” “Politics and the English Language,” and “Shooting an Elephant”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Crack-Up.” (Lopate)
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory
Kathryn Harrison, The Kiss
Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story
Gretel Ehrlich, Solace of Open Spaces
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (Outdoor Essays and Reflections)
Michael Herr, Dispatches
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: a Plant’s-eye View of the World  
Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
Norman Mailer, Armies of the Night
Antoine Saint Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars
Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking
John McPhee, Coming into the Country
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Adrianne Rich, “Split at the Root.” (Lopate)
Richard Rodriguez, “Late Victorians.” (Lopate)  
Toni Morrison,   Playing In The Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
Richard K. Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven
Gertrude Stein, “Tender Buttons,” “Picasso,” “If I Told Him (A Completed Portrait of Picasso),”
E.B. White, “Once more to the Lake” (Lopate).
Carlos Eire, Waiting for Snow in Havana : Confessions of a Cuban Boy
JoAnn Beard, Boys of my Youth
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Atul Gawande, Complications  
David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster
Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories
William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways
Dava Sobel, Galileo’s Daughter
Chinua Achebe, Home and Exile
Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman
Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
Jon Krakauer, Into thin Air

The comprehensive examination is an all-day examination administered in February.  Please consult the English Department’s Policies and Procedures for more details.  Examples of the examination from past years are available from the department administrative assistant.

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