English Main Syllabus
Check out English syllabus for UPSC Main examination.

Mains Syllabus of English

The syllabus consists of two papers, designed to test a first-hand and critical reading of texts prescribed from the following periods in English Leterature : Paper I : 1600-1900 and Paper II : 1900-1990.

There will be two compulsory questions in each paper : a) A short-notes question related to the topics for general study, and b) A critical analysis of UNSEEN passages both in prose and verse.

Paper-I

Answers must be written in English.

Texts for detailed study are listed below. Candidates will also be required to show adequate knowledge of the following topics and movements:

The Renaissance : Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama; Metaphysical Poetry; The Epic and the Mock-epic; Neo-classicism; Satire; The Romantic Movement; The Rise of the Novel; The Victorian Age.

Section-A

1. William Shakespeare : King Lear and The Tempest.

2. John Donne. The following poems :

  • Canonization;
  • Death be not proud;
  • The Good Morrow;
  • On his Mistress going to bed;
  • The Relic;

3. John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX

4. Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock.

5. William Wordsworth. The following poems:

  • Ode on Intimations of Immortality.
  • Tintern Abbey.
  • Three years she grew.
  • She dwelt among untrodden ways.
  • Michael.
  • Resolution and Independence.
  • The World is too much with us.
  • Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
  • Upon Westminster Bridge.

6. Alfred Tennyson : In Memoriam.

7. Henrik Ibsen : A Doll's House.

Section-B

  • Jonathan Swift. Gulliver's Travels.
  • Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice.
  • Henry Fielding. Tom Jones.
  • Charles Dickens. Hard Times.
  • George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss.
  • Thomas Hardy. Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
  • Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Paper-II

Answers must be written in English.

Texts for detailed study are listed below. Candidates will also be required to show adequate knowledge of the following topics and movements :

Modernism; Poets of the Thirties; The stream-of-consciousness Novel; Absurd Drama; Colonialism and Post-Colonialism; Indian Writing in English; Marxist, Psychoanalytical and Feminist approaches to literature; Post-Modernism.

Section-A

1. William Butler Yeats. The following poems:

  • Easter 1916
  • The Second Coming
  • A Prayer for my daughter.
  • Sailing to Byzantium.
  • The Tower.
  • Among School Children.
  • Leda and the Swan.
  • Meru
  • Lapis Lazuli

2. T.S. Eliot. The following poems :

  • The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
  • Journey of the Magi.
  • Burnt Norton.

3. W.H. Auden. The following poems :

  • Partition
  • Musee des Beaux Arts
  • in Memory of W.B. Yeats
  • Lay your sleeping head, my love
  • The Unknown Citizen
  • Consider
  • Mundus Et Infans
  • The Shield of Achilles
  • September 1, 1939
  • Petition.

4. John Osborne : Look Back in Anger.

5. Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot.

6. Philip Larkin. The following poems :

  • Next
  • Please
  • Deceptions
  • Afternoons
  • Days
  • Mr. Bleaney

7. A.K. Ramanujan. The following poems :

  • Looking for a Causim on a Swing
  • A River
  • Of Mothers, among other Things
  • Love Poem for a Wife 1
  • Samll-Scale Reflections on a Great House
  • Obituary

(All these poems are available in the anthology Ten Twentieth Century Indian Poets, edited by R. Parthasarthy, published by Oxford University Press, New Delhi).

Section-B

  • Joseph Conrad. Lord Jim
  • James Joyce. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • D.H. Lawrence. Sons and Lovers.
  • E.M. Forster. A Passage to India.
  • Virginia Woolf. Mrs Dalloway.
  • Raja Rao. Kanthapura.
  • V.S. Naipal. A House for Mr. Biswas.