31 December

Probably several other anthologies similar to those discussed at the 23 September and 24 September posts warrant inclusion in the "great books" project, or nearly meet our criteria. The noted literary critic Lionel Trilling crafted an anthology of 52 works called The Experience of Literature [1967]; his introductory essays for each work have been published separately as Prefaces to the Experience of Literature [1979]. Divided into sections for Drama, Fiction, and Poetry, it doesn't quite fit our criteria because of its exclusion of non-fiction; other lists include only a tiny number of non-fiction works, perhaps because of the assumption that the reader doesn't expect them to be included among "great books" or "classics." Trilling's Experience also shows another reason not to include anthologies: many of the fictional entries are short stories, in order to include enough authors without turning the anthology into a multi-volume work. This favoring of short stories gives anthologies a purpose quite distinct from that of "great books" lists, which is to cover the greatest literature of all time. In the long run, though, I'd like to include Trilling's list. So, for now, to end the year, a quick, unadorned transcription:

Sophocles: Oedipus Rex
William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of King Lear
Henrik Ibsen: The Wild Duck
Anton Chekhov: The Three Sisters
George Bernard Shaw: The Doctor's Dilemma
Luigi Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of an Author: A Comedy in the Making
William Butler Yeats: Purgatory
Bertolt Brecht: Galileo

Nathaniel Hawthorne: My Kinsman, Major Molineux
Herman Melville: Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street
Fedor Dostoevski: The Grand Inquisitor
Leo Tolstoi: The Death of Ivan Ilych
William Somerset Maugham: The Treasure
Guy de Maupassant: Duchoux
Anton Chekhov: Enemies
Henry James: The Pupil
Joseph Conrad: The Secret Sharer
James Joyce: The Dead
Franz Kafka: The Hunter Gracchus
D H Lawrence: Tickets, Please
E M Forster: The Road From Colonus
Thomas Mann: Disorder and Early Sorrow
Isaac Babel: Di Grasso: A Tale of Odessa
Isak Dinesen: The Sailor-Boy's Tale
Ernest Hemingway: Hills Like White Elephants
William Faulkner: Barn Burning
John O'Hara: Summer's Day
Lionel Trilling: Of This Time, of That Place
Albert Camus: The Guest
Bernard Malamud: The Magic Barrel

Anonymous: Edward
Sir Thomas Wyatt: They Flee From Me
John Donne: A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
John Milton: Lycidas
Andrew Marvell: To His Coy Mistress
Alexander Pope: An Essay on Main: Epistle 1
William Blake: Tyger! Tyger!
William Wordsworth: Resolution and Independence
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment
George Gordon, Lord Byron: Don Juan: An Epistle from Canto II
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ode to the West Wind
John Keats: Ode to a Nightingale
Matthew Arnold: Dover Beach
Walt Whitman: Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo
Emily Dickinson: "Go Tell It"What a Message
William Butler Yeats: Sailing to Byzantium
Thomas Stearns Eliot: The Waste Land
Robert Frost: Neither Out Far Nor in Deeep
E E Cummings: My Father Moved Through Dooms of Love
W H Auden: In Memory of Sigmund Freud (d. 1939)
Robert Lowell: For the Union Dead