Read the American Literature exam description.
To prepare for the American Literature exam, you should read critically the contents of at least one anthology. Most textbook anthologies contain a representative sample of readings as well as discussions of historical background, literary styles and devices characteristic of various authors and periods, and other material relevant to the test. The anthologies vary somewhat in their content, approach and emphasis; you are advised to consult more than one or to consult some specialized books on major authors, periods, and literary forms and terminology.
CLEP American Literature Examination Guide
Add to Cart
2013 CLEP Official Study Guide
Add to Cart
- Baym, ed., Norton Anthology of American Literature (Norton)
- Belasco and Johnson, Bedford Anthology of American Literature (Bedford/St. Martin's)
- Cain, American Literature (Penguin/Longman)
- Cushman and Newlin, Nation of Letters (Brandywine/Blackwell)
- Lauter, ed., Heath Anthology of American Literature (Wadsworth)
- McMichael, Anthology of American Literature (Prentice Hall)
- McQuade et al., Harper American Literature, Single Volume Edition (Longman)
- Perkins and Perkins, The American Tradition in Literature (McGraw-Hill)
You should also read as many as possible of the major novels that are mentioned or excerpted in the anthologies, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Other novelists whose major works you should be familiar with include Melville, Crane, Wharton, Cather, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Ellison and Wright. You can likely obtain an extensive reading list of American literature from a college English department, library or bookstore.
- California State University, Stanislaus: Perspectives in American Literature
- James Madison University: English and American Literature—Online Books for Educators
- Sam Houston State University: American Literature Anthology Writers' Index
- The Society of Early Americanists
- Washington State University: Dr. Donna Campbell's Literature Page
CLEP® American Literature Examination Guide
The American Literature exam deals with the prose and poetry written in the United States from colonial times to the present.
Want to get a feel for the tests? Try out sample questions from actual CLEP exams in the subject of your choice.
Find out if your institution accepts CLEP.