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Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

The most relevant preparation for the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam is attentive and reflective reading of the various literary genres of poetry, drama and prose. You can prepare for the exam by:

  • Reading a variety of poetry, drama, fiction and nonfiction
  • Reading critical analyses of various literary works
  • Writing analyses and interpretations of the works you read
  • Discussing with others the meaning of the literature you read

Textbooks and anthologies used for college courses in the analysis and interpretation of literature contain a sampling of literary works in a variety of genres. They also contain material that can help you comprehend the meanings of literary works and recognize the devices writers use to convey their sense and intent. To prepare for the exam, you should study the contents of at least one textbook or anthology, which you can find in most college bookstores. You would do well to consult two or three texts because they do vary somewhat in content, approach and emphases.

A recent survey conducted by CLEP® found that the following textbooks (first author listed only) are among those used by college faculty who teach the equivalent course. You might find one or more of these online or at your local college bookstore. HINT: Look at the table of contents first to make sure it matches the Knowledge and Skills required for this exam.

  • Abcarian, Literature: The Human Experience (Bedford/St. Martin’s)
  • Arp and Johnson, Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense (W.W. Norton)
  • Booth, Norton Introduction to Literature (W.W. Norton)
  • Damrosch, Longman Anthology of World Literature (Longman)
  • DiYanni, Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (McGraw-Hill)
  • Gardner, Literature: A Portable Anthology (Bedford)
  • Gwynn, Literature: A Pocket Anthology (Penguin Academics)
  • Kennedy and Gioia, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing (Pearson/Longman)
  • Kirszner and Mandell, Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing (Wadsworth)
  • Lawall, Norton Anthology of World Literature (W.W. Norton)
  • Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

Writing Guides:

Glossary of Literature Terms:

Literature Resources:

Luminarium Anthology of English Literature: Great Books Online:

Voice of the Shuttle Literature (in English):

These resources, compiled by the CLEP test development committee and staff members, may help you study for your exam. However, none of these sources are designed specifically to provide preparation for a CLEP exam. The College Board has no control over their content and cannot vouch for accuracy.

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