I passed my comprehensive exams in March 2013. I’ve left this page on my website as a resource for students and instructors of early modern literature.
When I talk to people about preparing for my comprehensive exams, I tend to get a few regular questions. Friends and loved ones outside of academia ask “What does that involve?” or “How long does that take?” Academics generally wonder about my areas of study and then, depending on their own stage in the scholarly process, ask one of two questions:
Have you read/thought about/considered adding x and y?
Can I see your lists?
And so, I’ve posted the final version of my lists here. These lists have evolved and shifted as I read — I swapped texts, narrowed my focus in some areas, expanded in others, etc. — and I hope they can be helpful to other graduate students who are looking for list models (of what not to do, perhaps, as much as what to do). I also hope that they can foster conversation. Exam reading is a long and lonely process, of necessity, but I’m always glad to know what others are thinking and learning and reading.
If you’re curious about the exam structure in my department, you can read pages 12-14 of the departmental graduate handbook.