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Best Books to Study American Literature: UGC NET, JRF English Literature Series

UGC NET examination (organised by NTA) has a very different pattern when it comes to the English Literature examination. English literature connotes a wide spectrum that comprises of literature produced in English (and even translated into English) by authors from many different countries, not only England. And a major part among those countries, after England, is played by America. And therefore, studying American Literature becomes very important for the aspirants of NET English Literature examination. On the request and quest of many aspirants, I am writing this article with a list of some of the best books for studying American English literature for the preparation of UGC NET English literature examination. I am sure this will serve the purpose of many. Let’s begin!


best books for history of American literature UGC NET English


The Oxford Companion to American Literature: Sixth Edition: Is there anything better than this book? Understanding American literature will never be easier than this. You have to have this book on your study table if you want to understand the basics and advances of American English literature. This companion has more than 5,000 entries. This companion explains the entries in lucid and a detailed manner that will help the aspirants of NET English literature examination be prepared for the challenges that the question paper will pose to them. You can get this book from Amazon India by simply clicking the link below:
Buy this book – Amazon India

Outline of American Literature (U.S. Department of State “Outline” series): I have chosen to include this book on my list because of many reasons. The first reason is very simple – it is written by a professor of literature who teaches American Literature, Kathryn VanSpanckeren. The second reason is the length of the book – it’s not bulky. The book has only about 200 pages and it outlines the progress of American Literature. From early American literature of the 1800s to the contemporary American literature of the 2000s, the book is more than sufficient for the aspirants of NET examination (to cover the history of American Literature). You can grab the Kindle Edition and read it on your mobile phones, laptops or Kindle Readers:
Get the book – click to buy from Amazon India

A Brief History of American Literature: Wiley-Blackwell: This book is for those students and aspirants who want to go to the depths rather than understanding the scenario by going through the outline. Published by Wiley and Blackwell collectively, the history of American Literature has been written by an able professor Richard Gray who teaches at the University of Essex. The book has dedicated chapters that chronicle American literature from the beginning to the contemporary. This book will provide rich information to the students of English literature and also the aspirants of UGC NET English literature examination. You can get a paperback edition from Amazon India.
Buy the book – click here to buy from Amazon India

A Short History of American Literature: This book is for the students who feel comfortable studying books by Indian authors. Krishna Sen and Ashok Sengupta have prepared this book with impressive content and simple language. The book has been performing well in the Indian market and I am sure it will be a further value addition to anyone’s bookshelf. You can get a copy from Amazon India by clicking below:
Buy the book from Amazon – click here

These books will be sufficient to prepare for the examination. Moreover, you will have the help of Oxford companion in remembering the names of Award Winners, novelists, poets and dramatists of America. You can also go through the important texts by reading any of the available anthologies of American literature. You can easily find the literary texts online in digital format. Do let me know your opinions and I will make sure that I respond to all of those. All the best!

Read these articles related to NET and Literary Theories:
Best Books for History of English Literature
Best Books for UGC NET English Literature

Alok Mishra

First and foremost a poet, Alok Mishra is an author next. Apart from these credentials, he is founder & Editor-in-Chief of Ashvamegh, an international literary magazine and also the founder of BookBoys PR, a company which helps writers brand themselves and promote their books. On this blog, Alok mostly writes about literary topics which are helpful for literature students and their teachers. He also shares his poems; personal thoughts and book reviews.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. A very helpful article. I was looking for something that can tell me about history of American English literature as a NET aspirant. I have used your advice before and that has worked very well in terms of history of English literature in general. I am sure it will work as well. Thanks!

  2. Many thanks for this wonderful article and a very useful list, Alok! Your articles on Ecocriticism and Structuralism are very popular because they are very helpful. Admire your dedication. Can you please make a list of best books to study literary theory?

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