Rabindra Bharati University English Honours Syllabus 2023

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Rabindra Bharati University

Get the updated complete syllabus for B.A English Honours released by RBU (Rabindra Bharati University) under CBCS. Also get suggested topics below each of the Paper Titles.

Paper Titles for Core Course(CC)

1. Indian Classical Literature

2. European Classical Literature

3. Indian Writing in English

4. British Poetry and Drama: 14th to 17th Centuries

5. American Literature

6. Popular Literature

7. British Poetry and Drama: 17th and 18th Centuries

8. British Literature: 18th Century

9. British Romantic Literature

10. British Literature: 19th Century

11. Women’s Writing

12. British Literature: The Early 20th Century

13. Modern European Drama

14. Postcolonial Literatures

Detailed Syllabi of Core Course

  • Paper 1: Indian Classical Literature

1. Kalidasa Abhijnana Shakuntalam, tr. Chandra Rajan, in Kalidasa: The Loom of Time(New Delhi: Penguin, 1989).

3. Sudraka Mrcchakatika, tr. M.M. Ramachandra Kale (New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass, 1962).

4. Ilango Adigal ‘The Book of Banci’, in Cilappatikaram: The Tale of an Anklet, tr. R. Parthasarathy (Delhi: Penguin, 2004) book 3.

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

1. The Indian Epic Tradition: Themes and Recensions
2. Classical Indian Drama: Theory and Practice
3. Alankara and Rasa
4. Dharma and the Heroic

*Readings :-

1. Bharata, Natyashastra, tr. Manomohan Ghosh, vol. I, 2nd edn (Calcutta:
Granthalaya, 1967) chap. 6: ‘Sentiments’, pp. 100–18.
2. Iravati Karve, ‘Draupadi’, in Yuganta: The End of an Epoch (Hyderabad: Disha,
1991) pp. 79–105.
3. J.A.B. Van Buitenen, ‘Dharma and Moksa’, in Roy W. Perrett, ed., Indian
Philosophy, vol. V, Theory of Value: A Collection of Readings (New York: Garland,
2000) pp. 33–40.
4. Vinay Dharwadkar, ‘Orientalism and the Study of Indian Literature’, in Orientalism
and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia, ed. Carol A.
Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer (New Delhi: OUP, 1994) pp. 158–95.

  • Paper 2: European Classical Literature

1. Homer The Iliad, tr. E.V. Rieu (Harmondsworth: Penguin,1985).
2. Sophocles Oedipus the King, tr. Robert Fagles in Sophocles: The Three Theban
Plays (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984).
3. Plautus Pot of Gold, tr. E.F. Watling (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965).
4. Ovid Selections from Metamorphoses ‘Bacchus’, (Book III), ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’
(Book IV), ‘Philomela’ (Book VI), tr. Mary M. Innes (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975).
Horace Satires I: 4, in Horace: Satires and Epistles and Persius: Satires, tr. Niall
Rudd (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2005).

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. The Epic
  2. Comedy and Tragedy in Classical Drama
  3. The Athenian City State
  4. Catharsis and Mimesis
  5. Satire
  6. Literary Cultures in Augustan Rome

*Readings :-

1. Aristotle, Poetics, translated with an introduction and notes by Malcolm Heath,
(London: Penguin, 1996) chaps. 6–17, 23, 24, and 26.
2. Plato, The Republic, Book X, tr. Desmond Lee (London: Penguin, 2007).
3. Horace, Ars Poetica, tr. H. Rushton Fairclough, Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars
Poetica (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005) pp. 451–73.

  • Paper 3: Indian Writing in English

1. R.K. Narayan Swami and Friends
2. Anita Desai In Custody
3. H.L.V. Derozio ‘Freedom to the Slave’
‘The Orphan Girl’
Kamala Das ‘Introduction’
‘My Grandmother’s House’
Nissim Ezekiel ‘Enterprise’
‘The Night of the Scorpion’
Robin S. Ngangom The Strange Affair of Robin S. Ngangom’
‘A Poem for Mother’

4. Mulk Raj Anand ‘Two Lady Rams’
Salman Rushdie ‘The Free Radio’
Rohinton Mistry ‘Swimming Lesson’
Shashi Despande ‘The Intrusion’

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations :-

  1. Indian English
  2. Indian English Literature and Readership
  3. Themes and Contexts of the Indian English Novel
  4. The Aesthetics of Indian English Poetry
  5. Modernism in Indian English Literature

*Readings :-

1. Raja Rao, Foreword to Kanthapura (New Delhi: OUP, 1989) pp. v–vi.
2. Salman Rushdie, ‘Commonwealth Literature does not exist’, in Imaginary
Homelands (London: Granta Books, 1991) pp. 61–70.
3. Meenakshi Mukherjee, ‘Divided by a Common Language’, in The Perishable Empire
(New Delhi: OUP, 2000) pp.187–203.
4. Bruce King, ‘Introduction’, in Modern Indian Poetry in English (New Delhi: OUP, 2nd
edn, 2005) pp. 1–10.

  • Paper 4: British Poetry and Drama: 14th to 17th Centuries

1. Geoffrey Chaucer The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
Edmund Spenser Selections from Amoretti:
Sonnet LXVII ‘Like as a huntsman…’
Sonnet LVII ‘Sweet warrior…’
Sonnet LXXV ‘One day I wrote her name…’
John Donne ‘The Sunne Rising’
‘Batter My Heart’
‘Valediction: forbidding mourning’
2. Christopher Marlowe Doctor Faustus
3. William Shakespeare Macbeth
4. William Shakespeare Twelfth Night

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations :-

  1. Renaissance Humanism
  2. The Stage, Court and City
  3. Religious and Political Thought
  4. Ideas of Love and Marriage
  5. The Writer in Society

*Readings :-

1. Pico Della Mirandola, excerpts from the Oration on the Dignity of Man, in The
Portable Renaissance Reader, ed. James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin
(New York: Penguin Books, 1953) pp. 476–9.
2. John Calvin, ‘Predestination and Free Will’, in The Portable Renaissance Reader,
ed. James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin (New York: Penguin Books,
1953) pp. 704–11.
3. Baldassare Castiglione, ‘Longing for Beauty’ and ‘Invocation of Love’, in Book 4 of
The Courtier, ‘Love and Beauty’, tr. George Bull (Harmondsworth: Penguin, rpt.
1983) pp. 324–8, 330–5.
4. Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, ed. Forrest G. Robinson (Indianapolis: BobbsMerrill, 1970) pp. 13–18.

  • Paper 5: American Literature

1. Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie
2. Toni Morrison Beloved
3. Edgar Allan Poe ‘The Purloined Letter’
F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘The Crack-up’
William Faulkner ‘Dry September’
4. Anne Bradstreet ‘The Prologue’
Walt Whitman Selections from Leaves of Grass:
‘O Captain, My Captain’
‘Passage to India’ (lines 1–68)
Alexie Sherman Alexie ‘Crow Testament’

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. The American Dream
  2. Social Realism and the American Novel
  3. Folklore and the American Novel
  4. Black Women’s Writings
  5. Questions of Form in American Poetry

*Readings :-

1. Hector St John Crevecouer, ‘What is an American’, (Letter III) in Letters from an
American Farmer (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982) pp. 66–105.
2. Frederick Douglass, A Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass (Harmondsworth:
Penguin, 1982) chaps. 1–7, pp. 47–87.
3. Henry David Thoreau, ‘Battle of the Ants’ excerpt from ‘Brute Neighbours’, in Walden
(Oxford: OUP, 1997) chap. 12.
4. Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Self Reliance’, in The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo
Emerson, ed. with a biographical introduction by Brooks Atkinson (New York: The
Modern Library, 1964).
5. Toni Morrison, ‘Romancing the Shadow’, in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and
Literary Imagination (London: Picador, 1993) pp. 29–39.

  • Paper 6: Popular Literature

1. Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass
2. Agatha Christie The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
3. Shyam Selvadurai Funny Boy
4. Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability/
Autobiographical Notes on Ambedkar (For the Visually Challenged students)

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. Coming of Age
  2. The Canonical and the Popular
  3. Caste, Gender and Identity
  4. Ethics and Education in Children’s Literature
  5. Sense and Nonsense
  6. The Graphic Novel

*Readings :-

1. Chelva Kanaganayakam, ‘Dancing in the Rarefied Air: Reading Contemporary Sri
Lankan Literature’ (ARIEL, Jan. 1998) rpt, Malashri Lal, Alamgir Hashmi, and Victor
J. Ramraj, eds., Post Independence Voices in South Asian Writings (Delhi: Doaba
Publications, 2001) pp. 51–65.

2. Sumathi Ramaswamy, ‘Introduction’, in Beyond Appearances?: Visual Practices and
Ideologies in Modern India (Sage: Delhi, 2003) pp. xiii–xxix.
3. Leslie Fiedler, ‘Towards a Definition of Popular Literature’, in Super Culture:
American Popular Culture and Europe, ed. C.W.E. Bigsby (Ohio: Bowling Green
University Press, 1975) pp. 29–38.
4. Felicity Hughes, ‘Children’s Literature: Theory and Practice’, English Literary History,
vol. 45, 1978, pp. 542–61.

  • Paper 7: British Poetry and Drama: 17th and 18th Centuries

1. John Milton Paradise Lost: Book 1
2. John Webster The Duchess of Malfi
3. Aphra Behn The Rover
4. Alexander Pope The Rape of the Lock

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. Religious and Secular Thought in the 17th Century
  2. The Stage, the State and the Market
  3. The Mock-epic and Satire
  4. Women in the 17th Century
  5. The Comedy of Manners

*Readings :-

1. The Holy Bible, Genesis, chaps. 1–4, The Gospel according to St. Luke, chaps. 1–7
and 22–4.
2. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. and tr. Robert M. Adams (New York: Norton,
1992) chaps. 15, 16, 18, and 25.
3. Thomas Hobbes, selections from The Leviathan, pt. I (New York: Norton, 2006)
chaps. 8, 11, and 13.
4. John Dryden, ‘A Discourse Concerning the Origin and Progress of Satire’, in The
Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. 1, 9th edn, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (New
York: Norton 2012) pp. 1767–8.

  • Paper 8: British Literature: 18th Century

1. William Congreve The Way of the World
2. Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (Books III and IV)
3. Samuel Johnson ‘London’Thomas Gray ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’

4. Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. The Enlightenment and Neoclassicism
  2. Restoration Comedy
  3. The Country and the City
  4. The Novel and the Periodical Press

*Readings :-

1. Jeremy Collier, A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage
(London: Routledge, 1996).
2. Daniel Defoe, ‘The Complete English Tradesman’ (Letter XXII), ‘The Great Law of
Subordination Considered’ (Letter IV), and ‘The Complete English Gentleman’, in
Literature and Social Order in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Stephen Copley
(London: Croom Helm, 1984).
3. Samuel Johnson, ‘Essay 156’, in The Rambler, in Selected Writings: Samuel
Johnson, ed. Peter Martin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009) pp.
194–7; Rasselas Chapter 10; ‘Pope’s Intellectual Character: Pope and Dryden
Compared’, from The Life of Pope, in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol.
1, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, 8th edn (New York: Norton, 2006) pp. 2693–4, 2774–7

  • Paper 9: British Romantic Literature

1. William Blake ‘The Lamb’,
‘The Chimney Sweeper’ (from The Songs of Innocence and The Songs of
‘The Tyger’ (The Songs of Experience)
‘Introduction’ to The Songs of Innocence
Robert Burns ‘A Bard’s Epitaph’
‘Scots Wha Hae’
2. William Wordsworth ‘Tintern Abbey’
‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality’
Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘Kubla Khan’
‘Dejection: An Ode’
3. Lord George Gordon
Noel Byron ‘Childe Harold’: canto III, verses 36–45
(lines 316–405); canto IV, verses 178–86
(lines 1594–674)Percy Bysshe Shelley ‘Ode to the West Wind’
‘Hymn to Intellectual Beauty’
John Keats ‘Ode to a Nightingale’
‘To Autumn’
‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’

4. Mary Shelley Frankenstein

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. Reason and Imagination
  2. Conceptions of Nature
  3. Literature and Revolution
  4. The Gothic
  5. The Romantic Lyric

*Readings :-

1. William Wordsworth, ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’, in Romantic Prose and Poetry, ed.
Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling (New York: OUP, 1973) pp. 594–611.
2. John Keats, ‘Letter to George and Thomas Keats, 21 December 1817’, and ‘Letter to
Richard Woodhouse, 27 October, 1818’, in Romantic Prose and Poetry, ed. Harold
Bloom and Lionel Trilling (New York: OUP, 1973) pp. 766–68, 777–8.
3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ‘Preface’ to Emile or Education, tr. Allan Bloom
(Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991).
. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, ed. George Watson (London:
Everyman, 1993) chap. XIII, pp. 161–66.

  • Paper 10: British Literature: 19th Century

1. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
2. Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre
3. Charles Dickens Hard Times
4. Alfred Tennyson ‘The Lady of Shalott’
‘The Defence of Lucknow’
Robert Browning ‘My Last Duchess’
‘The Last Ride Together’
‘Fra Lippo Lippi’
Christina Rossetti ‘The Goblin Market’

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. Utilitarianism
  2. The 19th Century Novel
  3. Marriage and Sexuality
  4. The Writer and Society
  5. Faith and Doubt
  6. The Dramatic Monologue

*Readings :-

1. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, ‘Mode of Production: The Basis of Social Life’, ‘The
Social Nature of Consciousness’, and ‘Classes and Ideology’, in A Reader in Marxist
Philosophy, ed. Howard Selsam and Harry Martel (New York: International
Publishers,1963) pp. 186–8, 190–1, 199–201.
2. Charles Darwin, ‘Natural Selection and Sexual Selection’, in The Descent of Man in
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edn, vol. 2, ed. Stephen Greenblatt
(New York: Northon, 2006) pp. 1545–9.
3. John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women in Norton Anthology of English Literature,
8th edn, vol. 2, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (New York: Norton, 2006) chap. 1,
pp. 1061–9.

  • Paper 11: Women’s Writing

1. Emily Dickinson ‘I cannot live with you’
‘I’m wife; I’ve finished that’
Sylvia Plath ‘Daddy’
‘Lady Lazarus’
Eunice De Souza ‘Advice to Women’
2. Alice Walker The Color Purple
3. Charlotte Perkins Gilman ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’
Katherine Mansfield ‘Bliss’
Mahashweta Devi ‘Draupadi’, tr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Calcutta: Seagull,
4. Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (New York: Norton, 1988)
chap. 1, pp. 11–19; chap. 2, pp. 19–38.
Ramabai Ranade ‘A Testimony of our Inexhaustible Treasures’, in Pandita Ramabai
Through Her Own Words: Selected Works, tr. Meera Kosambi (New Delhi: OUP,
2000) pp. 295–324.Rassundari Debi Excerpts from Amar Jiban in Susie Tharu and K. Lalita, eds.,
Women’s Writing in India, vol. 1 (New Delhi: OUP, 1989) pp. 191–2.

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. The Confessional Mode in Women’s Writing
  2. Sexual Politics
  3. Race, Caste and Gender
  4. Social Reform and Women’s Rights

*Readings :-

1. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (New York: Harcourt, 1957) chaps. 1 and 6.
2. Simone de Beauvoir, ‘Introduction’, in The Second Sex, tr. Constance Borde and
Shiela Malovany-Chevallier (London: Vintage, 2010) pp. 3–18.
3. Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, eds., ‘Introduction’, in Recasting Women:
Essays in Colonial History (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989) pp. 1–25.
4. Chandra Talapade Mohanty, ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and
Colonial Discourses’, in Contemporary Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, ed. Padmini
Mongia (New York: Arnold, 1996) pp. 172–97.

  • Paper 12: British Literature: The Early 20th Century

1. Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness
2. D.H. Lawrence Sons and Lovers
3. Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway
4. W.B. Yeats ‘Leda and the Swan’
‘The Second Coming’
‘No Second Troy’
‘Sailing to Byzantium’
T.S. Eliot ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’
‘Sweeney among the Nightingales’
‘The Hollow Men’

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. Modernism, Post-modernism and non-European Cultures
  2. The Women’s Movement in the Early 20th Century
  3. Psychoanalysis and the Stream of Consciousness
  4. The Uses of Myth
  5. The Avant Garde

*Readings :-

1. Sigmund Freud, ‘Theory of Dreams’, ‘Oedipus Complex’, and ‘The Structure of the
Unconscious’, in The Modern Tradition, ed. Richard Ellman et. al. (Oxford: OUP,
1965) pp. 571, 578–80, 559–63.
2. T.S. Eliot, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, in Norton Anthology of English
Literature, 8th edn, vol. 2, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (New York: Norton, 2006) pp.
3. Raymond Williams, ‘Introduction’, in The English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence
(London: Hogarth Press, 1984) pp. 9–27.

  • Paper 13: Modern European Drama

1. Henrik Ibsen Ghosts
2. Bertolt Brecht The Good Woman of Szechuan
3. Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot
4. Eugene Ionesco Rhinoceros

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

  1. Politics, Social Change and the Stage
  2. Text and Performance
  3. European Drama: Realism and Beyond
  4. Tragedy and Heroism in Modern
  5. European Drama
  6. The Theatre of the Absurd

*Readings :-

1. Constantin Stanislavski, An Actor Prepares, chap. 8, ‘Faith and the Sense of Truth’,
tr. Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967) sections 1, 2, 7, 8,
9, pp. 121–5, 137–46.
2. Bertolt Brecht, ‘The Street Scene’, ‘Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction’,
and ‘Dramatic Theatre vs Epic Theatre’, in Brecht on Theatre: The Development of
an Aesthetic, ed. and tr. John Willet (London: Methuen, 1992) pp. 68–76, 121–8.
3. George Steiner, ‘On Modern Tragedy’, in The Death of Tragedy (London: Faber,
1995) pp. 303–24.

  • Paper 14: Postcolonial Literatures

1. Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart
2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez Chronicle of a Death Foretold
3. Bessie Head ‘The Collector of Treasures’
Ama Ata Aidoo ‘The Girl who can’
Grace Ogot ‘The Green Leaves’
4. Pablo Neruda ‘Tonight I can Write’
‘The Way Spain Was’
Derek Walcott ‘A Far Cry from Africa’
David Malouf ‘Revolving Days’
‘Wild Lemons’
Mamang Dai ‘Small Towns and the River’
‘The Voice of the Mountain’

*Suggested Topics and Background Prose Readings for Class Presentations
Topics :-

De-colonization, Globalization and Literature
Literature and Identity Politics
Writing for the New World Audience
Region, Race, and Gender
Postcolonial Literatures and Questions of Form

*Readings :-

1. Franz Fanon, ‘The Negro and Language’, in Black Skin, White Masks, tr. Charles
Lam Markmann (London: Pluto Press, 2008) pp. 8–27.
2. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, ‘The Language of African Literature’, in Decolonising the Mind
(London: James Curry, 1986) chap. 1, sections 4–6.
3. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, in Gabriel Garcia
Marquez: New Readings, ed. Bernard McGuirk and Richard Cardwell (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1987).


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