10 Must-Read Books for MA English Literature Students
MA English Literature is an intense, rewarding and comprehensive course that delves into centuries of literature, exploring themes, ideas, and the power of language. Students pursuing this degree have an opportunity to read and analyze classic and contemporary literature, which covers various forms of writing, including poetry, drama, and fiction. Moreover, literature plays a crucial role in shaping and broadening our ideas, helping us to connect the pieces of our past with the real-life events and concerns of the present. Thus, it is essential to select the books that will prepare students for their literary journey and provide them with the best learning experience.
In this post, we have compiled a list of the 10 Must-Read Books for MA English Literature students. Whether you are starting your program or are well into your studies, these books will meet all your reading needs, leading you to deeper insights and sharpening your critical analysis skills.
1. “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare is considered one of the greatest writers in history, and MA English Literature is incomplete without his works. Hamlet, a tragedy, is often cited as one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays. It explores the themes of betrayal, revenge, madness, and corruption while posing critical questions about human existence.
2. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, is one of the most beloved books in English literature. Published in 1813, the book explores the themes of love, marriage, gender and social class, and is one of the best examples of the romantic novel.
3. “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories that were written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 14th century. These stories represent various facets of human nature and explore themes such as love, corruption, and religion, making it an essential read for MA English Literature students.
4. “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf’s novel, To The Lighthouse, is a modernist literary masterpiece. The book is written in a stream of consciousness style and describes the lives of the Ramsay family in a detailed and impressionistic manner. The themes of gender, family, and the passage of time, make this book a must-read for all literature students.
5. “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot
The Waste Land is a significant modernist poem written by T. S. Eliot. It is considered a defining work of modernist poetry and a critique of Western civilization. The poem explores the themes of disillusionment, cultural decay, and spiritual crisis, making it a must-read for MA English Literature students.
6. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that embodies the American dream. The book explores the themes of wealth, love, and the corruption of the American dream. It is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the cultural values of the Jazz Age of the 1920s.
7. “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Bronte that explores the themes of love, betrayal, and revenge. The book is often cited as one of the most significant works of English literature and has been adapted multiple times for stage and film.
8. “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness is a novella by Joseph Conrad, which explores the themes of imperialism, colonialism, and racism. It is a potent criticism of the Western attitude towards Africa and its people, making it an important read for all literature students.
9. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, explores the horrors of slavery and their aftermath. The book shows how the past can continue to haunt us, and that love, family, and community are essential for healing. It is a must-read for anyone interested in African American literature.
10. “Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children is a novel by Salman Rushdie that won the Man Booker Prize in 1981. The book explores the themes of nation, identity, and the relationship between personal and political history. It is an important read for students studying post-colonial literature.
In conclusion, MA English Literature is a course that provides students with the opportunity to read and analyze some of the most profound and significant works of literature. These ten books listed above will guide students through their literary journey, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary for pursuing their career. Happy reading!