19 September

In the 27 January post, which features F W Farrar's short selection of works, I was confused regarding W B Carnochan's claim that John Lubbock's 1886 list, and those who directly responded to it, including Farrar, began a major trend in publishing: that of scholars developing lists, generally with a title like "100 Best Books". Besides Charles W Eliot's Harvard Classics series, most of the "great books" lists available online are from the second half of the twentieth century, and have often been responses to Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins's Great Books set, or more recently Modern Library's lists of the greatest U S fiction and non-fiction works. Alas, having delved into the literature--and engaged in some old-fashion shelf-reading at the University of Georgia library--I've found the lists Carnochan was referring to, and, with the Have You Read 100 Great Books? collection, found what seems to be the culmination of the first phrase of the post-Lubbock phase of the "great books" trend (distinguished from what many call the "great books" movement, with its basis in college courses at Columbia, Chicago, and St. John's). The early-Twentieth-Century lists have been posted, leaving only the relatively-recent Philip Ward and two selections of "Eastern" classics. Those will be done later this year.