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UPSC English Literature Syllabus – Mains Optional Syllabus for IAS Exam

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UPSC English Literature Syllabus: Preliminary, Main, and Interview rounds make up the UPSC Civil Services Exam. For the UPSC IAS mains exam, applicants must select one optional subject. It has a huge impact on how candidates perform in the IAS Exam. According to recent trends, the success rate of English Literature is increasing over time. English Literature is a dynamic subject that is covered in the optional English Literature syllabus for the UPSC Mains, in addition to modern English Literature from the medieval and early modern eras. The UPSC English literature syllabus will be studied in-depth in this post, along with preparation tips for the English literature optional topic. Who should choose Literature as an optional subject, etc.


Candidates must select one of the 48 optional subjects offered by the Union Public Service Commission. Another option is English Literature. English Literature is one of the most popular optional subjects among the other languages. Two exams—Paper I (1600–1900) and Paper-II—are included in the English literature syllabus (1900-1990).

Additionally, one of the required language papers for UPSC Mains is English.

The curriculum covers old English Literature that was popular in the early medieval and modern eras from 1900 AD.

Each paper is worth 250 out of a possible 500.

This option should be chosen by candidates who have a good background in English and who enjoy reading novels and poetry collections.

Please visit the link for more information about the UPSC PRELIMS Question Paper 2022. The pattern, syllabus, and marking guidelines for the UPSC Prelims Question Paper 2022 GS Paper 1 & 2 are mentioned here. You may download this exam question and more. The English Literature syllabus for the IAS exam is provided below.

UPSC English Literature Syllabus


Sections A and B of the syllabus for the English Literature Paper-I of the UPSC Civil Service Exam are covered. The following lists the specifics of the syllabus for both parts.
The following movements and subjects must be sufficiently understood by candidates: the Renaissance, metaphysical poetry, the epic and mock-epic, Jacobean and Elizabethan drama, neoclassicism, the Romantic Movement, satire, the Victorian era, and the rise of the novel.

IAS English Literature Syllabus Paper– I: Section A
William Shakespeare’s

King Lear and The Tempest

John Milton Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX
Alexander pop The rape of the lock
John Donne The following poems:

– Death be not proud

–  The Relic  

– Canonization 

– The Good Morrow

– On his Mistress going to bed

William Wordsworth

The following poems:

– Tintern Abbey 

– She dwelt among untrodden ways

– Odeon Intimations of Immortality.

–  Three years she grew 

– Michael 

– Independence and Resolution 

– Upon Westminster Bridge

– The World is too much with us 

-Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour

Henrik Ibsen A doll house 
Alfred Tennyson Memorial


IAS English Literature Syllabus Paper- I: Section B
Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift
Prejudice and Pride Jane Austen
Tom Jones Henry Fielding
Hard Time Charles Dickens
Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
The Mill on the Floss George Eliot


UPSC English Literature Syllabus


Sections A and B of the syllabus for the UPSC Civil Service Exam English Literature Paper-II are explained below.
Candidates must show sufficient knowledge of the following movements and subjects: Post-colonialism and colonialism, the stream-of-conscious novel, absurd drama, and modernism; Marxist English writing by Indians; Post-Modernism; feminist and psychoanalytic perspectives on literature.

IAS English Literature Syllabus Paper-II: Section A
William Butler Yeats:

– Easter 1916

– A Prayer for my daughter

– The Second Coming

– Sailing to Byzantium

– Among School Children

– The Tower

– Meru

– Leda and the Swan

– Lapis Lazuli

W.H. Auden

– Musee des Beaux-Arts

– Partition

– Petition

– In Memory of W.B. Yeats

– The Unknown Citizen

– Consider

– Lay your sleeping head, my love

– Mundus Et Infans

– September 1, 1939

– The Shield of Achilles

T.S. Eliot: – Journey of the Magi

– Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock

– Burnt Norton

John Osborne Look Back in Anger
Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot
A.K. Ramanujan:

– A River

– Looking for a Causim on a Swing

– Of Mothers, among other Things

– Small-Scale Reflections on a Great House

– Love Poem for a Wife 1

– Obituary

Philip Larkin

– Next

– Please

– Afternoons

– Days

– Deceptions

– Mr. Bleaney


IAS English Literature Syllabus Paper-II: Section B
Lords Jim Joseph Conrad
Lovers & Son D.H. Lawrence
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf
Kanthapura Raja Rao
A House for Mr Biswas V.S. Naipaul
A Passage to India E.M. Forster


UPSC English Literature Syllabus


Following preparation advice for the UPSC Syllabus is advantageous for the applicant. Therefore, some preparation advice for studying the complete UPSC English Optional syllabus is provided below.

  1. In order to perform well in tests, you must fully analyze your syllabus.
  2. Make short notes on the relevant subjects after separating them. Make regular revisions to them.
  3. See if you can connect the syllabus with the English Literature questions from the previous UPSC exams.
  4. Examine the test questions to gain a sense of the questions being asked.
  5. Another crucial exam preparation strategy is to familiarise yourself with the exam format. Before taking the exam, candidates should be aware of the questions’ formats, the scoring system, the exam style, the time limit, etc.
  6. In this optional, you must practice writing answers, so be sure to complete plenty of it.
  7. Candidates should make sure that their responses don’t contain any copying in conclusion. It should be unique.
  8. The UPSC Test series, practice exams, current events, and question papers from prior years must all be completed by candidates.

UPSC English Literature Syllabus


See who should choose English Literature as their optional topic below if you’re unsure of what to choose.

  • If you are passionate about this subject and chose it for your studies, you will find that the process of getting ready is easy and fun.
  • Reading and comprehending the subtleties of stories produced by great authors, playwrights, and poets is the essence of English Literature.
  • Graduates in English.
  • Non-English speaking grads with strong language skills and a love of books.
  • You must comprehend and evaluate classical texts for this optional. Your analytical abilities will advance thanks to this.


  1. English Literature’s scope is somewhat limited. Authors and poets on a predetermined list created by UPSC are the subjects of the questions.
  2. With complete dedication, one can quickly prepare for these optional subjects in approximately 3–4 months.
  3. Despite the fact that there is no connection between English Literature and other broad courses, this will assist you in your understanding of world history. It will help in your knowledge of Europe.
  4. To emphasize your points, use quotations. Recognize literary devices like similes, metaphors, and euphemisms.
  5. You must write well in order to do well on this topic. Everything should be flawless, including the content and answer structure.


Let’s wrap up our discussion of the UPSC English Literature Syllabus now. We have discussed the IAS exam’s optional English literature syllabus. Therefore, considerable preparation is necessary if you want to perform well on this paper. To succeed in the UPSC English Literature exam, candidates should also complete more questions from UPSC question papers from prior years as well as from mock exams. IAS candidates who are aiming for UPSC 2022 should visit the official UPSC website to learn more about the upcoming exam and develop better plans for it.


What is the English Literature optional syllabus for IAS exam?

The syllabus for English Literature in the UPSC Mains is extensive. Both modern English, English literature used after 1900 AD and old English literature from the medieval and early modern periods are covered. Additionally, one of the required language papers for UPSC Mains is English.

Can we finish the UPSC English Literature Optional Syllabus in six months?

Yes, with the right preparation and a solid study strategy, one may easily complete the UPSC English Literature Syllabus in six months. However, following a logical and effective plan is essential if you want to succeed in the UPSC Exam. Make sure you finish all of your coursework and create notes on the crucial subjects that require extra time and effort.

What subjects will be covered in Paper 2 of the UPSC English Literature Syllabus?

The UPSC English Literature Syllabus’s second paper covers a variety of subjects, including Easter 1916, A Prayer for My Daughter, Among School Children, The Second Coming, Sailing to Byzantium, The Tower, Meru, Leda and the Swan, among others. To ace the exam, make sure you thoroughly understand the syllabus’s format.

Who scored the highest on the optional English literature test?

Gaurav Garg is the IAS topper who excels in English literature. He has a law degree and achieved an all-India rank of 320 in the 2015 UPSC CSE. He excelled in both of his optional papers in the English language literature subject, which was one of his choices.


The English Literature Optional Syllabus for IAS Exam (Mains) has been discussed in this post. We sincerely hope that this was useful in deciding on your elective. Candidates should be familiar with and thoroughly review the syllabus before beginning their preparation. Additionally, we covered bonus tips, who can select English Literature as an optional subject, how to prepare for the English literature Optional syllabus UPSC Mains, and other topics. So, read this material thoroughly, and best of luck.


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Exam Pattern

UPSC Syllabus

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

UPSC Mains Syllabus

Previous Papers

YearPrelims-GSPrelims-CSATMains-GS 1Mains-GS 2Mains-GS 3Mains-GS 4Mains-EssayMains-EnglishMains-Hindi

Prelims Previous Years Papers – Subject & Year Wise

PRE SUBJECT201820172016201520142013
Science & Technology201820172016201520142013
Modern India201820172016201520142013
Medieval India201820172016201520142013

Mains Previous Years Papers – Subject & Year Wise

MAINS SUBEJECT201820172016201520142013
Internal Security201820172016201520142013
Ethics – I201820172016201520142013
Ethics – II (Case Studies)201820172016201520142013
Environment and Ecology201820172016201520142013
Disaster Management201820172016201520142013
Ancient History and Art & Culture201820172016201520142013
Agriculture201820172016No Question20142013
Indian Society2018201720162015 20142013

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