11 September

John Erskine developed the General Honors course at Columbia out of which grew the Classics of Western Literature book, not to mention the entire "great books" movement. Van Doren and Adler both taught the course. Adler and Erskine both left for the University of Chicago around 1930, establishing that school as a second home for the "great books" movement. Erskine's book, The Delight of Great Books, published in 1928, is more of a selection of essays on literary works (or, in one case, an author and, in another, a genre) that I'm making into a list here. Unfortunately, like Farrar's Great Books, it does not include any ancient texts, and thus is not included in the final master list. It is transcribed here because of Erskine's significance.

Canterbury Tales

Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur

The Faerie Queen

Romeo and Juliet

The Tempest

Paradise Lost

Walter Scott (incl. Woodstock; Waverley; The Pirate; The Heart of Midlothian; Quentin Durward; The Bride of Lammermoor)

Don Juan

Moby Dick

The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

Huckleberry Finn


Modern Irish Poetry (incl. W B Yeats - 'The Wanderings of Oisin'; 'The Sad Shepherd'; 'Stolen Child'; 'He Remembers Forgotten Beauty'; 'The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water';

John Millington Synge;

Douglas Hyde;

Lady Gregory;

A E (George W Russell) - 'Destiny';

Lord Dunsany;

Padraic Colum;

James Stephens - Collected Poems; 'Barbarians')

Despite this last chapter's title, many of the works discussed are not poetry: W B Yeats - 'Dust Hath Closed Helen's Eye', included in The Celtic Twilight; The Land of Heart's Desire; Cathleen Ni Houlihan;

Douglas Hyde - The Well at the End of the World translation;

Lady Gregory - Cuchulain of Muirthemne;

John Millington Synge - Aran Islands; Riders to the Sea; The Playboy of the Western World;

James Stephens - Crock of Gold; The Charwoman's Daughter [published in the U S as Mary, Mary]; Here Are Ladies; Irish fairy tales.

Apropos the September 3 post, the Have You Read 100 Great Books? collection includes this list, sans the 'modern Irish poetry' entry. Also, that later version includes "Waverley Novels" for Walter Scott instead of the specific novels noted in Delight.