Important Books for English Literature Optional for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

The UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in three stages- Prelims, Mains and Interview. Aspirants need to choose one optional subject for UPSC IAS mains exam. It plays a significant role in deciding aspirants ranking in IAS Exam. Recent trends show that the success rate of Literature subjects is soaring with years.

The UPSC allows English as an optional subject in the Civil Services Exam. The English Literature syllabus for UPSC Mains is vast and covers literature from old English used during the medieval and early modern period as well as modern English used from 1900 AD onwards. The English language is also one of the compulsory language papers in UPSC Mains.

In this article, you will get the booklist for English Literature for civil services examination.

UPSC English Literature Optional Booklist

If the aspirant is interested in literature, one can go for this optional very safely notwithstanding his/her graduation stream. Aspirants should read the novels, poetry, etc. mentioned in the UPSC English Literature Syllabus. It will give a fair idea and help you to frame good answer with great understanding. It is always better to read the poem, stories, novels, drama from the core books.

List of English Literature books for IAS exam:

  • Introduction to English Literature by W. H Hudson
  • The Routledge History of Literature in English
  • A short History of English Literature (Pramod K. Nayar)
  • King Lear- William Shakespeare
  • The Tempest- William Shakespeare
  • Canonization- John Donne
  • Death be not proud- John Donne
  • The Good Morrow- John Donne
  • On his Mistress going to bed-John Donne
  • The relic- John Donne
  • Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX- John Milton
  • The Rape of the Lock- Alexander Pope
  • Ode on Intimations of Immortality- William Wordsworth
  • Tintern Abbey-William Wordsworth
  • Three years she grew-William Wordsworth
  • She dwelt among untrodden ways-William Wordsworth
  • Michael-William Wordsworth
  • Resolution and Independence- William Wordsworth
  • The World is too much with us-William Wordsworth
  • Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour-William Wordsworth
  • Upon Westminster Bridge-William Wordsworth
  • Gulliver’s Travels-Jonathan Swift
  • Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen
  • Tom Jones-Henry Fielding
  • Hard Times- Charles Dickens
  • The Mill on the Floss-George Eliot
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
  • Easter 1916- William Butler Yeats
  • The Second Coming-William Butler Yeats
  • A Prayer for my daughter-William Butler Yeats
  • Sailing to Byzantium-William Butler Yeats
  • The Tower-William Butler Yeats
  • Among School Children-William Butler Yeats
  • Leda and the Swan-William Butler Yeats
  • Meru-William Butler Yeats
  • Lapis Lazuli-William Butler Yeats
  • The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock- T. S. Eliot
  • Journey of the Magi-T. S. Eliot
  • Burnt Norton-T. S. Eliot
  • Partition- W.H. Auden
  • Musee des Beaux Arts-W.H. Auden
  • In Memory of W.B. Yeats-W.H. Auden
  • Lay your sleeping head, my love-W.H. Auden
  • The Unknown Citizen-W.H. Auden
  • Consider-W.H. Auden
  • Mundus Et Infans-W.H. Auden
  • The Shield of Achilles-W.H. Auden
  • Look In Anger-John Osborne
  • Waiting for Godot-Samuel Beckett
  • Next- Philip Larkin
  • Please-Philip Larkin
  • Deceptions-Philip Larkin
  • Afternoons-Philip Larkin
  • Days-Philip Larkin
  • Bleaney-Philip Larkin
  • Looking for a Causim on a Swing-A.K. Ramanujan
  • A River-A.K. Ramanujan
  • Of Mothers, among other Things-A.K. Ramanujan
  • Love Poem for a Wife 1-A.K. Ramanujan
  • Small-Scale Reflections on a Great House-A.K. Ramanujan
  • Obituary-A.K. Ramanujan
  • Lord Jim-Joseph Conrad
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce
  • Sons and Lovers-D.H. Lawrence
  • A Passage to India- E.M. Forster.
  • Mrs Dalloway- Virginia Woolf.
  • Kanthapura-Raja Rao
  • A House for Mr. Biswas- V.S. Naipal

Even though candidates may opt for English Literature as their IAS Optional subject, they still would look for a perfect UPSC English Literature Strategy to approach the subject perfectly.

UPSC English Literature Booklist:- Download PDF Here

If IAS aspirants are targeting UPSC 2023, they may check the linked article to align their IAS preparation as per the set exam pattern and more.

You can also check the articles relevant to UPSC IAS exam preparation in the table below:

Relevant Articles:
How Many Candidates Take Literature Optionals How to Write Answers for Literature Optionals
UPSC Books Best Optional for IAS Mains
Most Scoring Optional Subject Choosing an IAS Optional
Least Popular Optional Subjects Most Popular Optional Subjects


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