21 May

Charles Van Doren's The Joy of Reading [1985], published a few years after his retirement from Encyclopaedia Britannica, gave the author a chance to make his own list of books, after having worked with Mortimer Adler on the final, 1972 version of the latter's book, How to Read a Book. Whereas the Adler book discusses reading generally, with a list tagged on at the end, Van Doren's is similar to Newman's, Dirda's, Seymour-Smith's, Fadiman's, and Ward's in being a book-as-list, giving a short account of each author or work in turn. Undoubtedly, Van Doren's self-imposed intellectual constraints and personal history hamper the listmaking process. Notice the inclusion of his father, Mark Van Doren, the Britannica, and a few U S government documents and speeches—The Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence: silly choices in such a project unless one were to include similar works from other nations (the Magna Carta, etc., as Downs does). He also admits to being a Shakespeare denier. And includes Adler's Syntopicon from the Great Books of the Western World set; that, at least, is an appropriate self-referential move given how important the Great Books set has been to the entire phenomenon of "great books" lists. Despite these drawbacks, the book is an easy enjoyable read.

As with other list-as-book works, works not formally listed but recommended in the text just as highly are included, noted with an asterisk.


Henry Adams - The United States in 1800

Henry Adams - Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

Henry Adams - The Education of Henry Adams

Mortimer J Adler - Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World

Aeschylus - The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides

Aesop - Fables

Anonymous - The Song of Roland

Archimedes - Scientific Writings 
(incl. Book 1 of On Floating Bodies; 
The Method;
Measurement of a Circle;
The Sand Reckoner)

Aristophanes - The Acharnians

Aristophanes - The Peace

Aristophanes - Lysistrata

Aristophanes - The Clouds

Aristophanes - The Birds

Aristophanes - The Frogs

Aristotle - The Poetics

Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics

Augustine - Confessions

Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen - Emma 

Francis Bacon - Novum Organon

Francis Bacon - Advancement of Learning

Francis Bacon - Essays

Honore de Balzac - Old Goriot

Charles Baudelaire - Flowers of Evil

Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot

Joseph Bedier - The Romance of Tristan and Iseult

Claude Bernard - Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine

William Blake - Songs of Innocence; Songs of Experience

William Blake - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell*

William Blake - Milton*

William Blake - Jerusalem*

Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy

James Boswell - The Life of Samuel Johnson L L D

James Boswell - Diaries*

Fernand Braudel - The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II

Fernand Braudel - Structures of Everyday Life*

Margaret Wise Brown - Goodnight Moon

Robert Browning - Selected Poems
(incl. Sordello;
'Meeting at Night';
'Andre del Sarto';
'Porphyria's Lover';
'My Last Duchess';
The Ring and the Book;
'Home-Thoughts, From Abroad';
'Home-Thoughts, From the Sea';
'A Woman's Last Word';
'The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church';
'A Toccata of Galuppi's';
'The Last Ride Together';
'Prospice';
'Rabbi Ben Ezra')

Robert Burns - Selected Poems 
(incl. Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect; 
'Green Grow the Rushes O';
'A Red, Red Rose';
'Highland Mary';
'Mary Morrison';
'John Anderson, My Jo';
'The Banks o' Doon';
'Ae Fond Kiss, and Then We Sever';
'To a Mouse, on Turning Up Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785';
'To a Louse, on Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church';
'Address to the Unco Guid, or the Rigidly Righteous';
'Charlie, He's My Darling';
'A Man's a Man for A' That';
'The Cotter's Saturday Night';
'Tam o'Shanter';
'Oh, Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast')

Lord Byron - Don Juan

Lord Byron - Selected Poems 
(incl. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage;
'So We'll Go No More A-Roving')

Albert Camus - The Stranger 

Albert Camus - The Plague

Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll - Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There 

Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote

Geoffrey Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer - Troilus and Criseyde

Arthur C Clarke - Profiles of the Future

Arthur C Clarke - Childhood's End

Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Selected Poems
(incl. Lyrical Ballads;  
Christabel; Kubla Khan [as in Fadiman's list, the inclusion of both of these poems has been counted as an entry for Christabel; Kubla Khan, a Vision in a Dream; The Pains of Sleep, the book published 1816, as the third poem, 'The Pains of Sleep' is relatively brief; in other words, similar to a few selections in Durant's list, a choice of most or nearly all of a book can count as an entry for the whole book])

William Congreve - The Way of the World

Nicolaus Copernicus - On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres

Dante Alighieri - The Divine Comedy

Charles Darwin - On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

Charles Galton Darwin - The Next Million Years

Robertson Davies - Deptford Trilogy

Daniel Defoe - Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe - Moll Flanders*

Daniel Defoe - A Journal of the Plague Year*

Daniel Defoe - The History and Remarkable Life of Col. Jack*

Daniel Defoe - Roxana, or The Fortunate Mistress*

René Descartes - Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason

Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens - Hard Times

Charles Dickens - The Pickwick Papers

Charles Dickens - Bleak House

Charles Dickens - Little Dorritt*

Emily Dickinson - Selected Poems (incl. Poems by Emily Dickinson;
'Success Is Counted Sweetest';
'The Heart Asks Pleasure First';
'The Soul Selects Her Own Society';
'Because I Could Not Stop for Death';
'After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes')

Isak Dinesen - Seven Gothic Tales

John Donne - Selected Poems
(incl. 'Death Be Not Proud';
'At the Round Earth's Imagin'd Corners, Blow';
Anniversaries;
'Song (Go and Catch a Falling Star)';
'Love's Deity';
'The Funeral';
'The Good Morrow';
'The Blossom';
'The Undertaking';
'The Canonization';
'Love's Alchemy';
'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning';
'Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward';
'Hymn to God My God, in My Sickness';
'A Hymn to God the Father';
Holy Sonnets nos. 1, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 18;
'Death's Duel';
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions)

Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment

Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes [this serves as the chapter title, and does not seem to refer to the eponymous anthology; instead, Van Doren refers to the four novels and the short stories noted below]

Arthur Conan Doyle - A Study in Scarlet*

Arthur Conan Doyle - The Sign of Four*

Arthur Conan Doyle - The Hound of the Baskervilles*

Arthur Conan Doyle - The Valley of Fear*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Red-Headed League'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Five Orange Pips'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Crooked Man'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Final Problem'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Adventure of the Empty House'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'The Adventure of the Devil's Foot'*

Arthur Conan Doyle - 'His Last Bow'*

George Eliot - Silas Marner[

George Eliot - Middlemarch

T S Eliot - Selected Poems
(incl. 'The Waste Land';
Ash Wednesday;
Four Quartets;
'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock';
'The Hollow Men';
'Rhapsody on a Windy Night';
'Morning at the Window';
'Sweeney Among the Nightingales';
Journey of the Magi;
Marina;
'Eyes That Last I Saw in Tears';
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats;
The Sacred Wood [1920];
Selected Essays, 1917-1932)

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Epictetus - Discourses

Euclid - The Elements

Euripides - Alcestis

Euripides - Medea

Euripides -  Hippolytus

Euripides - Ion

Euripides - The Trojan Woman

Euripides - The Bacchantes

Euripides - Iphigenia Among the Taurians

Henry Fielding - Tom Jones

F Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

John Fowles - The Magus

John Fowles - The French Lieutenant's Woman*

John Fowles - Daniel Martin*

Sigmund Freud - The Interpretation of Dreams

Sigmund Freud - An Outline of Psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud - Civilization and Its Discontents

Robert Frost - Selected Poems
(incl. 'The Gift Outright';
'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening';
'The Death of the Hired Man';
'The Road Not Taken';
'Two Tramps in Mud Time';
'The Witch of Coös';
'The Death of the Hired Man';
'Home Burial';
'The Black Cottage';
'In the Home Stretch';
'Fire and Ice';
'Once by the Pacific';
'Birches';
'Mending Wall';
'Revelation';
'The Oven Bird';
'The Runaway';
'To Earthward';
'The Silken Tent')

Galileo Galilei - Two New Sciences

Gabriel Garcia Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude

Edward Gibbon - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

William Gilbert - On the Lodestone

Étienne Gilson - The Arts of the Beautiful

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Faust

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay - The Federalist Papers

Thomas Hardy - Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy - Selected Poems
(incl. 'Hap')

Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - The Philosophy of History

Robert A Heinlen - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A Heinlen - Farnham's Freehold*

Robert A Heinlen - The Door Into Summer*

Ernest Hemingway - The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway [Van Doren gives this title for the 1938 anthology, actually entitled The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories; that collection contains the In Our Time, Men Without Women, and Winner Take Nothing, in addition to The Fifth Column (a play) and five other stories; the title Van Doren gives for the 1938 book is actually the title of the 1953 Scribner reissue, without The Fifth Column; either way, given the ambiguity of Van Doren's overall selection here, combined with the four works he discusses in detail, as noted below, this entry remains in the "indeterminate selection" category]

Ernest Hemingway - The Old Man and the Sea*

Ernest Hemingway - 'Big Two-Hearted River'*

Ernest Hemingway - 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place'*

Ernest Hemingway - 'Old Man at the Bridge'*

George Herbert - Selected Poems 
(incl. The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations;
'The Collar';
'Love';
'The Pulley';
'The Flower';
'Denial';
'Man';
'Prayer';
'The Temper';
'Employment';
'Sighs and Groans';
'Whitsunday';
'The Star';
'The Rose';
'The Sacrifice';
'Virtue')
[All of these poems are included in The Temple; they are not being listed as separate entries.]

Herodotus - The History

Robert Herrick - Selected Poems 
(incl. Hesperides; His Noble Numbers;
[besides noting Hesperides and His Noble Numbers, Van Doren refers to the following poems included in those books; they are not being listed separately, only noted here:
from Hesperides:
'To Meddowes';
'The Argument of His Book';
'Upon Master Ben. Johnson. An Epigram';
'To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses';
'To Daffadils';
'Upon Julia's Clothes';
'Delight in Disorder';
'To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time';
'The Mad Maids Song';
from His Noble Numbers:
'Another Grace for a Child';
'A Thanksgiving to God, for His House';
'His Litanie, to the Holy Spirit';
'To Death']

Eugen Herrigel - Zen in the Art of Archery

Hippocrates - Medical Treatises

Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan

Homer - The Iliad

Homer - The Odyssey

Henrik Ibsen - A Doll's House

John Irving - The Hotel New Hampshire

Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James - The Golden Bowl 

William James - The Principles of Psychology

Thomas Jefferson - The Declaration of Independence

James Joyce - Dubliners

James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

James Joyce - Ulysses 

Franz Kafka - The Trial

Franz Kafka - The Castle

Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis*

Franz Kafka - In the Penal Colony*

Immanuel Kant - Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics

Immanuel Kant - The Critique of Pure Reason*

Immanuel Kant - The Critique of Practical Reason*

Immanuel Kant - The Science of Right*

Immanuel Kant - Perpetual Peace*

Johannes Kepler - The Epitome of Copernican Astronomy

Rudyard Kipling - The Jungle Books

Rudyard Kipling - 'The Cat That Walked by Himself'

Jean de la Fontaine - Fables

C S Lewis - Out of the Silent Planet

C S Lewis - Perelandra

C S Lewis - That Hideous Strength

Abraham Lincoln - The Gettysburg Address

John Locke - The Second Essay on Civil Government

John Locke - A Letter Concerning Toleration

John Locke - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

George Berkeley - The Principles of Human Knowledge

David Hume - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Lucretius - On the Nature of Things

Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince

James Madison - The Constitution of the United States of America

Thomas Mann - The Magic Mountain

Thomas Mann - Death in Venice

Thomas Mann - Tonio Kröger

Thomas Mann - Mario and the Magician

Thomas Mann - The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man*

Marcus Aurelius - Meditations

 Andrew Marvell - Selected Poems
(incl. 'An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return From Ireland';
''To His Coy Mistress';
'The Garden')

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - The Communist Manifesto

Herman Melville - Moby-Dick

Herman Melville - Billy Budd, Foretopman*

John Stuart Mill - On Liberty

John Stuart Mill - Considerations on Representative Government

Arthur Miller - Death of a Salesman

John Milton - Paradise Lost

John Milton - Selected Poems 
(incl. 'L'Allegro';
'Il Penseroso';
'Lycidas')

John Milton - Areopagitica

Moliere - The School for Wives

Moliere - The Misanthrope

Moliere - The Doctor in Spite of Himself

Moliere - Tartuffe

Michel de Montaigne - Essays

Montesquieu - The Spirit of Laws

Isaac Newton - Principia

Isaac Newton - Opticks

Christiaan Huygens - Treatise on Light

Eugene O'Neill - Long Day's Journey Into Night

George Orwell - Animal Farm

George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four

Oxford English Dictionary

Blaise Pascal - Pensées

Plato - The Republic

Plato - The Symposium

Plato - The Trial and Death of Socrates (Euthyphro; Apology; Crito; Phaedo)

Plato - Meno*

Plato - Protagoras*

Plato - Thaeatetus*

Plato - Sophist*

Plato - Statesman*

Plutarch - The Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans

Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Ptolemy - The Almagest

Francois Rabelais - Gargantua and Pantagruel

Jean-Jacques Rousseau - A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract

Antoine de Saint-Exupery - The Little Prince

J D Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye

J D Salinger - Nine Stories*

William Shakespeare - Hamlet

William Shakespeare - Henry IV, Part I

William Shakespeare - Henry IV, Part II

William Shakespeare - As You Like It

William Shakespeare - Cymbeline

William Shakespeare - Othello*

William Shakespeare - King Lear*

William Shakespeare - Sonnets*

William Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing*

William Shakespeare - Pericles*

William Shakespeare - The Winter's Tale*

William Shakespeare - The Tempest*

Bernard Shaw - Pygmalion

Bernard Shaw - Saint Joan

Sophocles - Antigone

Sophocles - Oedipus Rex

Sophocles - Oedipus at Colonus

Sophocles - Ajax

Sophocles - Philoctetes

Benedict de Spinoza - Ethics

Stendhal - The Red and the Black

Stendhal - The Charterhouse of Parma

Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels

Jonathan Swift - A Modest Proposal

J M Synge - The Playboy of the Western World

Tacitus - Annals

Tacitus - Histories

Thomas Aquinas - Summa Theologica

Thucydides - History of the Peloponnesian War

Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy - The Death of Ivan Illych

Leo Tolstoy - Twenty-Three Tales

Ivan Turgenev - First Love

Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Van Doren - Selected Poems
(incl. 'For the Time Being';
'The Animals';
'Former Barn Lot';
'Woman Few of Words';
'My Great Friends';
'Parents' Recompense';
'So Fair a World It Was';
'O World';
100 Poems;
That Shining Place;
Good Morning: Last Poems;
'A Winter Diary';
'Family Prime')
['For the Time Being' and 'So Fair a World It Was' are from That Shining Place; the rest of the poems specifically noted in the text, except 'A Winter Diary', are included in the 100 Poems collection, so they are not being treated as separate entries.]

Virgil - The Aeneid

Voltaire - Candide

E B White - Charlotte's Web

E B White - Stuart Little*

T H White - The Once and Future King

Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction to Mathematics

Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass

Tennessee Williams - A Streetcar Named Desire

William Wordsworth - Selected Poems
(incl. Lyrical Ballads--noted above under Coleridge)
'Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey';
'Ode: Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood';
'Ode to Duty';
The Prelude;
'The Simplon Pass';
'Influence of Natural Objects';
'She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways';
'I Traveled Among Unknown Men';
'A Slumber Did My Spirit Steal';
'My Heart Leaps Up';
'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge: September 3, 1802';
'It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free';
'London 1802';
'The Solitary Reaper';
'The World Is Too Much With Us';
'To Sleep';
'Personal Talk')

Austin Tappan Wright - Islandia

William Butler Yeats - Selected Poems
(incl. Last Poems [this could refer to Last Poems and Two Plays, 1939; or Last Poems and Plays, 1940, a larger book including all but five songs from Last Poems and Two Plays, all of New Poems, 1938, and three poems from On the Boiler, 1939; I am only counting this as an entry for Last Poems and Two Plays, since that work would be included either way];
'Easter 1916';
'Among School Children';
Words for Music Perhaps, and Other Poems;
'Sailing to Byzantium';
'Under Ben Bulben';
'The Ballad of Father Gilligan';
'To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing';
'The Cat and the Moon';
'The Second Coming';
'Leda and the Swan';
'For Anne Gregory';
'The Cold Heaven';
'The Wild Swans at Coole';
'The Tower';
'Down by the Salley Gardens';
'When You Are Old';
'September 1913';
'A Prayer for My Daughter')