The Great Books List

The Great Books

I’ve always considered it to be a major educational and developmental deficit to have never read the great books. I’ve tried to make up for lost time by reading a few here and there for this project, but I know I’m missing something by not knowing the canon.

I recently listened to a podcast episode where Tommy Collison shared his goal of reading through The Great Books over the next four years. I got inspired.

I’ve replicated his list below and now I’m considering going through it. I’d intersperse the great books into my yearly reading lists with a goal of getting through all 196 books below by the year 2030.

4Prometheus BoundAsechylus
5Oedipus at ColoniusSophocles
6Oedipus RexSophocles
9History of the Peloponnesian WarThucydides
11Works and DaysHesiod
17The RepublicPlato
18The Last Days of Socrates (Euthyphro, Apoloy, Crito, Phaedo)Plato
20On the Nature of ThingsLucretius
24Elements of ChemistryLavoisier
25Motion of the Heart and BloodHarvey
27Letters from a StoicSeneca
28MeditationsMarcus Aurelius
30The Book of Chuang TzuChuang Tzu
31The Bhagavad-Gita in the Mahabharata
32Basic Writings of Mo TzuMo Tzu
33Hsun TzuMo Tzu
34Han Fei TzuMo Tzu
35The Way of Lao TzuLao Tzu
36The Bible
43Nicomachean EthicsAristotle
44Eudemian EthicsAristotle
49Cato the YoungerPlutarch
55ProslogiumS. Anselm
56Summa TheologicaThomas Aquinas
57Summa Contra GentilesThomas Aquinas
58Divine ComedyDante
59MassDes Prez
60Life of JohnsonBoswell
61The PrinceMachiavelli
63On the Revolution of the SpheresCopernicus
64The Freedom of a ChristianMartin Luther
65Preface to RomansMartin Luther
66Concerning Governmental AuthorityMartin Luther
67The Twelve Articles of the Swabian PeasantsMartin Luther
68Friendly Admonition to Peace Concerning the Twelve Articles of the Swabian PeasantsMartin Luther
69Gargantua and PantagruelRabelais
70Missa Papae MarcelliPalestrina
71Essays (Of Custom, and That We Should Not Easily Change a Law Received; Of Pedantry; Of the Education of Children; That It Is Folly to Measure Truth and Error by Our Own Capacity; Of Cannibals; That the Relish of Good and Evil Depends in a Great Measure upon the Opinion We Have of Them; Upon Some Verses of Virgil)Montaigne
72Introduction on the Analytical ArtViete
73Novum OrganumFrancis Bacon
74Richard IIWilliam Shakespeare
75Henry IVWilliam Shakespeare
76Henry VWilliam Shakespeare
77The TempestWilliam Shakespeare
78As You Like ItWilliam Shakespeare
79HamletWilliam Shakespeare
80OthelloWilliam Shakespeare
81MacbethWilliam Shakespeare
82King LearWilliam Shakespeare
83CoriolanusWilliam Shakespeare
84SonnetsWilliam Shakespeare
85Antony and CleopatraWilliam Shakespeare
86The Winter’s TaleWilliam Shakespeare
87Much Ado About NothingWilliam Shakespeare
88Twelfth NightWilliam Shakespeare
89The Merchant of VeniceWilliam Shakespeare
90The Rigveda
91Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift
92A Modest ProposalJonathan Swift
93Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
94MiddlemarchGeorge Eliot
95Canterbury TalesChaucer
97Don QuixoteCervantes
99Two New SciencesGalileo
101Rules for the Direction of the MindDescartes
102Paradise LostMilton
103MaximsLa Rochefoucauld
104FablesLa Fontaine
105Pensées (Numbers 72, 82-83, 100, 128, 131, 139, 142-143, 171, 194- 195, 219, 229, 233-234, 242, 273, 277, 282, 289, 298, 303, 320, 323, 325, 330-331, 374, 385, 392, 395-397, 409, 412-413, 416, 418, 425, 430, 434-435, 463, 491, 525- 531, 538, 543, 547, 553, 556, 564, 571, 586, 598, 607-610, 613, 619-620, 631, 640, 644, 673, 675, 684, 692-693, 737, 760, 768, 792-793)Pascal
106Treatise on LightHuygens
107On the Movement of Bodies by ImpactHuygens
108Theological-Political TreatiseSpinoza
109Second Treatise on GovernmentLocke
111Principia MathematicaNewton
112Epitome IVKepler
114Discourse on MetaphysicsLeibniz
115Essay on DynamicsLeibniz
116Philosophical EssaysLeibniz
117Principles of Nature and GraceLeibniz
118AutobiographyFrederick Douglass
119Treatise on Human NatureDavid Hume
120EnquiryDavid Hume
121Dialogues on Natural ReligionDavid Hume
122EssaysDavid Hume
123The Social ContractRousseau
124On the Origin of InequalityRousseau
126The MisanthropeMolière
127The Wealth of NationsAdam Smith
128Critique of Pure ReasonKant
129Foundations of the Metaphysics of MoralsKant
130Don GiovanniMozart
131EssaysFrancis Bacon
132Civil and MoralFrancis Bacon
133Essays on the Theory of NumbersDedekind
134Kumārasaṃbhava: in The Origin of the Young GodKālidāsa
135Discourses on the Noble Quest
136Discourse to Kālāmas
137The Greater Discourse on Cause, Early Buddhist Discourses
138The Holy Teaching of VimalakīrtiVimalakīrti Sūtra
139The Tale of the Heike
140The Difference Between Exoteric and Esoteric BuddhismKūkai
141Attaining Enlightenment in This Very ExistenceKūkai
142The Meanings of Sound, Word, and RealityKūkai
143The Pillow BookShōnagon
144Articles of Confederation
145Declaration of Independence
146Constitution of the United States
147Supreme Court Opinions
149The Federalist PapersHamilton, Jay, Madison
150Origin of SpeciesCharles Darwin
151Phenomenology of MindHegel
153Theory of ParallelsLobachevsky
154Democracy in AmericaDe Tocqueville
155Philosophical FragmentsKierkegaard
156Fear and TremblingKierkegaard
157Tristan and IsoldeWagner
158CapitalKarl Marx
159Political and Economic Manuscripts of 1844Karl Marx
160The German IdeologyKarl Marx
161Brothers KaramazovDostoyevsky
162War and PeaceTolstoy
163Anna KareninaTolstoy
164Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain
165Selected StoriesFlannery O’Connor
166PsychologyWilliam James
167Briefer CourseWilliam James
168Birth of TragedyNietzsche
169Thus Spake ZarathustraNietzsche
170Beyond Good and EvilNietzsche
171General Introduction to PsychoanalysisFreud
172The Interpretation of DreamsFreud
173Civilization and its DiscontentsFreud
174Mass Pyschology and Other WritingsFreud
176Selected WritingsBooker T. Washington
177The Souls of Black FolkDu Bois
178What Is Philosophy?Heidegger
179The Physical Principles of the Quantum TheoryHeisenberg
180Selected PapersEinstein
181The ElectronMillikan
182David CopperfieldCharles Dickens
183A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens
184Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
185Heart of DarknessConrad
186The Sound and the FuryWilliam Faulkner
187The BearWilliam Faulkner
188Go Down, MosesWilliam Faulkner
189Benito CerenoHerman Melville
190Moby DickHerman Melville
191“The Gītagovinda” in Love Song of the Dark LordJayadeva
192The Book of Laughter and ForgettingKundera
193The Unbearable Lightness of BeingKundera
194American PastoralRoth
195Sabbath’s TheaterRoth
196North and SouthGaskell

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