UPSC English Literature Syllabus: Download Latest Syllabus PDF

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : January 18th, 2023

The English Literature Syllabus is very vast and includes literature from old English used in the medieval and early modern period. The UPSC English Literature Syllabus covers the topics which includes William Shakespeare : King Lear and The Tempest, John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX, Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock and many more. Candidates with a strong English background and who have interest in novels, and poetry should take this as an optional subject.

It is important to go through the detailed English literature optional UPSC syllabus and analyze the topics as per weightage and your strengths. Plan and prepare a comprehensive strategy to cover the optional syllabus in time. 

Table of Content

UPSC English Literature Optional Syllabus for IAS Mains

The candidate should be familiar with the UPSC English Optional Syllabus as it includes Paper 1 and Paper 2. This exam has two papers that are Paper 1 and Paper 2 in UPSC Mains. Paper 1 and Paper 2 are of 250 marks and total marks is 500.

UPSC Syllabus for English Literature OptionalTopics
UPSC English Literature Syllabus Paper 1

Section A: William Shakespeare, John Donne, William Wordsworth, 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

UPSC English Literature Syllabus Paper 2

Section A: Authors such as William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, John Osborne: Look Back in Anger, Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot, Philip Larkin.

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, Kantha Pura, V.S. Naipaul. A House for Mr. Biswas. 

Download UPSC English Literature Syllabus PDF

Candidates preparing for the English optional must be well versed with the detailed syllabus so that they can plan the preparation in a strategic manner. To download the UPSC English Syllabus PDF, you just need to click on the link below. Apart from all this, you should know about UPSC mains syllabus in a simple manner. 

UPSC English Literature Syllabus for Paper 1

It is important to remember that Paper 1 consists of 6 topics in total of the UPSC English Syllabus which are further splitted into subtopics. 

UPSC  english literature syllabus

upsc english literature syllabus

UPSC English Literature Syllabus Paper 1: Section B

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

UPSC English Literature Syllabus for Paper 2

Make sure you remember that paper 2 has a total of 6 topics in their UPSC English Optional Syllabus which are further categorized into subtopics.

upsc english literature syllabus

upsc english literature syllabus

upsc english literature syllabus

UPSC English Literature Syllabus Paper2: Section B

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

English Literature Optional UPSC Syllabus - Preparation Tips

It is beneficial for the candidate if he or she follows preparation tips for the UPSC Syllabus. Given below are some preparation tips for covering the entire syllabus of UPSC English Optional.

  • Make sure that you study for long hours consistently as it is very important for exam preparation. You should make a study schedule or a plan list for your studies.
  • You must analyze your complete syllabus in order to score well in exams. 
  • Separate the important topics and make small notes on them. Revise them on a regular basis. 
  • Candidates must solve the UPSC Test series, mock tests, current affairs, and previous years' question papers. 
  • You can create a study calendar to make things easier for you. This will help you to learn a lot and you can study efficiently. 

English Literature Optional UPSC Syllabus: Booklist

There is a list of recommended books which are required for the preparation of the UPSC English Optional Syllabus exam. Some of them are given below.

Important Books 

Publisher Name 

Introduction to English Literature

W. H Hudson

King Lear

William Shakespeare

The Tempest

William Shakespeare


John Donne

Death be not proud

John Donne

The Good Morrow

John Donne

Three years she grew

William Wordsworth


William Wordsworth

Gulliver’s Travels

Jonathan Swift


Other Optional Literature Subjects for UPSC Mains Exam

UPSC Assamese Literature Syllabus

UPSC Bengali Literature Syllabus

UPSC Syllabus Gujarati Literature

Manipuri Literature UPSC Syllabus

UPSC Odia Literature Syllabus

UPSC Syllabus Sanskrit Literature

UPSC Syllabus Telugu Literature

UPSC Bodo Literature Syllabus

UPSC Santhali Syllabus

UPSC Syllabus Hindi Literature

UPSC Syllabus Kannada Literature

UPSC Maithili Syllabus

UPSC Sindhi Syllabus

UPSC Tamil Literature Syllabus

UPSC Malayalam Literature Syllabus

UPSC Nepali Syllabus

UPSC Marathi Syllabus

UPSC Dogri Syllabus

UPSC Konkani Syllabus

UPSC Urdu Syllabus


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UPSC English Literature Syllabus FAQs

  • The topics which are included in the English Literature Syllabus of UPSC are as follows: William Shakespeare : King Lear and The Tempest, John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock, T.S. Eliot. The following poems : – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. – Journey of the Magi. – Burnt Norton and many more. 

  • Yes, one can easily finish the UPSC English Literature Syllabus in 6 months with a proper study plan. If you want to prepare for the UPSC Exam, you need to follow a logical and efficient approach. Make sure you complete your entire syllabus and design the notes on the important topics which need extra time and effort. 

  • Yes, the candidate can simply prepare for the English Literature syllabus along with UPSC prelims syllabus. Candidates must have an organized strategy and efficient approach towards it. You can easily prepare for both the exams but you should have effective study plan and give extra time and effort.

  • The topics covered in Paper 2 of UPSC English Literature Syllabus are Easter 1916, A Prayer for my daughter, The Second Coming, Sailing to Byzantium, Among School Children, The Tower, Meru, Leda and the Swan and many more. Make sure you go through the structure of syllabus in order to excel in the exam.

  • UPSC mains English paper contains comprehension, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, Short Essays whereas UPSC English Literature Syllabus contains The Renaissance; Metaphysical Poetry; The Mock-epic and the Epic; Jacobean and Elizabethan Drama; Neoclassicism; The Romantic Movement; Satire.

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