As English majors should be aware, the English comprehensive exam is organized into chronological periods that help guide your course selection in the major. This year, as always, comping seniors will be asked to write on five sections.
However, from this year onward, our comp will reflect the ever-growing richness of modern and contemporary English classes by splitting the final chronological section of the comp, formerly “Modern and Contemporary Literature,” into two sections: Modern and Contemporary American Literature, and Modern and Contemporary British and World literature (this would include works written in English in Ireland, India, Africa—in short, anything but American literature). Please note that students will still be asked to write essays for five periods: the only difference is that you will have a little more choice on the exam, and a little more flexibility when planning your classes. (If, for instance, you have taken classes on Joyce and Modern American Poetry, you have actually been preparing for two sections of the exam, not one. Congratulations!)
A reading list and a sample comp can be found on the English Department “resources” page. You will find that the reading list has been revised to reflect new modern divisions. The sample comp, which is one given several years ago, perforce does NOT include eight geographical and chronological divisions, but it does provide you with a very accurate idea of the sorts of questions you will be asked.