11 May

The New York Public Library Desk Reference, 3rd ed. [1998] included The Great Books: A Reading List, devised by the Great Books Foundation, the same organization founded by Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins, authors of the original Great Books of the Western World set. This list seems to be the only recent list published by the organization, whose efforts in recent years have been more directed toward the Common Review, a magazine that was supposed to be in transition from print to online but appears to be defunct.

As with the other lists presented at this blog, the list below is presented as it is originally printed, with only the slightest changes in lay-out. Not only are there a few apparent mistakes in this list, but the many excerpts are at times vague. The listing of a Darwin essay supposedly drawn from two of his books makes me think that list originally accompanied a reader/ anthology.

Adams, Henry - The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

Aeschylus - Agamemnon (458 B C)

Aristotle - Politics

Aristotle - 'On Happiness' (excerpt from Nicomachean Ethics)

Aristotle - 'On Tragedy'

Augustine, St. - The City of God (413-26)

Bible - Genesis; Exodus; Job; Ecclesiastes; The Gospel of Mark

Burke, Edmund - Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

Chaucer, Geoffredy - The Canterbury Tales (after 1387)

Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich - Rothschild's Fiddle (1894); Uncle Vanya (1896)

Clausewitz, Karl von - 'What Is War?' [excerpt from On War (1833)]

Conrad, Joseph - 'Heart of Darkness' [story in Typhoon and Youth (1902)]

Dante, Alighieri - 'The Inferno' [canticle in Divine Comedy (c. 1310-20)]

Darwin, Charles - 'The Moral Sense of Man and the Lower Animals' [excerpts from On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871)]

Dewey, John - 'The Virtues' [excerpt from Ethics (1908)]; 'Habits and Will' [excerpt from Human Nature and Conduct (1922)]

Diderot, Denis - Rameau's Nephew (posthumously published in 1805)

Dostoevsky, Fyodor Mikhailovich - Notes from the Underground (1864)

Euripides (5th century B C) - Medea

Euripides (5th century B C) - Iphigeneia at Aulis

Flaubert, Gustave - 'A Simple Heart' (short story, c. 1850)

Freud, Sigmund - 'On Dreams' [excerpt from The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)]

Gibbon, Edward - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776, 1781, 1787-88)

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust, Part 1 (1808)

Gogol, Nikolai - 'The Overcoat' (First part of novel Dead Souls)

Hamilton, Alexander; Jay, John; Madison, James - The Federalist (1787-88)

Herodotus (5th century B C) - 'The Persian Wars' (excerpt from his History)

Hobbes, Thomas - Origin of Government [presumably Leviathan]

Homer (8th or 7th century B C) - The Iliad

Hume, David - 'Of Personal Identity' [excerpt from A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40)]

Hume, David - 'Of Justice and Injustice' [excerpt from Essays, Moral and Political (1741-42)]

James, Henry - The Beast in the Jungle (1903)

Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis (1915)

Kant, Immanuel - 'Conscience' [presumably an excerpt from The Critique of Practical Reason]

Kant, Immanuel - 'First Principles of Morals' [excerpt from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)]


Kierkegaard, Soren Abaye - 'The Knight of Faith' [excerpt from Fear and Trembling (1843)]

Locke, John - 'Of Civil Government' [excerpt from the second of his Two Treatises of Government (1690)]

Machiavelli, Niccolo - The Prince (1513)

Maimonides - 'On Evil' [excerpt from Guide for the Perplexed]

Marx, Karl - 'Alienated Labour' [excerpt from Das Kapital (1867)]

Melville, Herman - Billy Budd, Sailor (1924)

Mill, John Stuart - On Liberty (1859); Utilitarianism (1863)

Molière - The Misanthrope (1666)

Montaigne, Michel Eyquem de - 'Of Experience' [Book III, Chapter 13 (1578) of his Essays]

Montesquieu, Baron de - 'Principles of Government' [excerpt from The Spirit of the Laws (1748)]

Nietzsche, Friedrich - Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-92)

Plato (4th century B C) - The Republic; Symposium; The Crito; The Apology

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques - The Social Contract (1762)

Schopenhauer, Arthur - 'The Indestructibility of Our Inner Nature' [excerpt from The World as Will and Representation (1818)]

Shakespeare, William - Hamlet (1600-01); Othello (1604); King Lear (1606); Anthony and Cleopatra (1607-08); The Tempest (1611)

Shaw, George Bernard - Caesar and Cleopatra (1899)

Simmel, Georg - 'Individual Freedom' [excerpt from The Philosophy of Money (1900)]

Smith, Adam - Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)

Sophocles (5th century B C) - Antigone; Oedipus the King

Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels (1726)

Thoreau, Henry David - Civil Disobedience (1849)

Thucydides (5th century B C) - History of the Peloponnesian War

Tocqueville, Alexis de - 'The Power of the Majority' [excerpt from Democracy in America (1835, 1840)]

Tolstoy, Count Leo Nikolayevich - The Death of Ivan Ilych (1886)

Weber, Max - The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1920)