24 September

Another anthology that could fit into this project is The World's Great Classics [1902], created by a Library Committee (you don't say!) consisting of Timothy Dwight, Justin McCarthy, Richard Henry Stoddard, Paul Van Dyke, and Albert Ellery Bergh, with the assistance of Julian Hawthorne, the literary editor (they're not all literary editors?), and Clarence Book, the art editor. Bergh's apparently the managing editor, and writes a 'Special Introduction' to the set's index. Besides general, subject, and chronological indexes, the index features a handy Summary of the Series in table form.

Though this sixty-volume [sixty-one if you count the index] series features fewer excerpts and shorter works, it includes a few histories, such as Leopold Von Ranke's History of the Popes, Edward Shepherd Creasy's Decisive Battles of the World, and Henry Hallam's History of Europe During the Middle Ages, that serve less as great works of literature and more as historical background to the other readings. The set is sure to impress even twenty-first-century readers with its inclusion of a large number of non-Western works, with several Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, and Malayan selections. Because of this, I'd like to include this set to a greater extent than the Library of the World's Best Literature, but simply don't have the time for now. 

Bergh's Introduction to the Series, found in the first volume (which otherwise consists of George Rawlinson's Ancient History: From the Earliest Times to the Fall of the Western Empire) laments the glut of books found at the turn of the (Twentieth) century, much like we already heard from Farrar, and pointedly contrasts this set from encyclopedias of literature that feature few readings, and many excerpts of readings, of the literature being discussed. As Bergh argues, such works "are in the nature of anthologoies, and, while they may be very useful as literary scrap-books, they fail to satisfy those who wish to possess the classics in their entirety." Thus, The World's Great Classics, "a carefully selected library of the world's great classics."