English Literature between 1660 and 1900: Reading List


William Wycherley. The Country Wife.

Oliver Goldsmith. She Stoops to Conquer. See study guide here.

Oscar Wilde. The Importance of Being Earnest.


Dryden. MacFlecknoe, "Ode for St Cecilia's Day," "Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell," "Alexander's Feast," "Song to a Fair Young Lady Going out of the Town in the Spring."

Pope. "Ode on Solitude," "Epistle to Miss Blount on Her Leaving the Town after the Coronation," The Rape the Lock. A study guide for The Rape of the Lock can be found here.

Gray. "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat," "The Bard." For further information and edited texts cf. The Thomas Gray Archive.

Cowper. "The Poplar-Field," "Walking with God," "To Mary" ("The twentieth year…"), "Lines Written in a Period of Insanity," "The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk."

Burns. "My Father Was a Farmer," "To a Mouse," "My Heart's in the Highlands," "John Anderson My Jo," "Mary Morison," "Tam o' Shanter," "The Jolly Beggars," "My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose," "Holy Willie's Prayer."

Macpherson (Ossian). "Conlath and Cuthona." Downloadable here.

Blake. From Songs of Innocence: "Introduction," "The Lamb," "The Little Black Boy," "The Chimney Sweeper," "The Divine Image," "Holy Thursday." From Songs of Experience: "Introduction," "Earth's Answer," "Holy Thursday," "The Chimney Sweeper," "The Sick Rose," "The Garden of Love," "The Tyger," "Ah! Sun-flower," "London." Selection from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Two short verse passages. Looking at Blake's illustrations is necessary if you wish to have an all-round impression of his art and poetry as complementary forms of expression. Cf. The William Blake Archive.

Wordsworth & Coleridge. Selection from Lyrical Ballads. You may wish to consult the official homepage of Lyrical Ballads here.

Wordsworth. "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud," "The Solitary Reaper," "Intimations of Immortality."

Coleridge. "Kubla Khan," "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Dejection: An Ode."

Byron. Don Juan (Dedication and Canto I). "On this Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year," "Prometheus," "She Walks in Beauty," "So We'll Go No More A-Roving."

Shelley. "A Defence of Poetry," "Mont Blanc," "Ozymandias," "England in 1819," "The Indian Serenade," "Ode to the West Wind," "To a Skylark," "The Cloud." A study guide to "A Defence of Poetry" can be found here.

Keats. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," "After Dark Vapours…" "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," "When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be" (see study guide here), "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode to a Nightingale," "To Autumn." From his letters: To George and Tom Keats, 21/27 December 1817 (on "Negative Capability"); To J. H. Reynolds, 3 May 1818 (on Wordsworth and the "egotistical sublime"); To Richard Woodhouse, 27 October 1818 (on the "unpoetical" nature of the Poet).

Dante Gabriel Rossetti. "The Blessed Damozel." See Rossetti's painting of the same title here.

Tennyson. "The Lady of Shalott," "The Beggar Maid," "Crossing the Bar." Check the internet for paintings based on "The Lady of Shalott" and "(King Cophetua and) The Beggar Maid."

Browning. "My Last Duchess," "A Toccata of Galuppi's."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. "How Do I Love Thee?"

Arnold. "Dover Beach."

Prose (fiction)

Addison. The Spectator, Nos. 10, 69, 81, 592.

Steele. The Tatler, Nos. 181, 263. The Spectator, Nos. 51, 454.

Defoe. Robinson Crusoe.

Swift. "A Modest Proposal."

Fielding. Tom Jones.

Sterne. A Sentimental Journey.

Austen. Pride and Prejudice.

Emily Brontë. Wuthering Heights.

Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre.

Dickens. Great Expectations.

Hardy. Tess of the d'Urbervilles.


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