The Great Books

A Guide to Reading: for Young and Old

3000-500 bc           ANCIENT  <--(click here for the plots and pictures)

AUTHOR

TITLE

CENTURY

PLACE

Traditional Sumerian

Epic of Gilgamesh

28th

Mesopotamia

Sacred Text

Holy Bible (Old Testament)

16th-5th

Levant

Traditional Indian

Rig-Veda

14th

India

Traditional Egyptian

The Book of the Dead

13th

Egypt

Homer

The Illiad / The Odyssey

8th

Greece

Aesop

Fables

7th

Greece

Confucius

Analects

6th

China

Lou Tzu

Tao Te Ching

6th

China

 

5th 3rd Century        CLASSICAL GREEK <--(click here for the plots and pictures of the Greek stories)

AUTHOR

TITLE

CENTURY

PLACE

Aeschylus

Seven Against Thebes / Prometheus Bound

5th

Greece

Sophocles

Atigone / Oedipus

5th

Greece

Euripides

Bacchae / Phoenicians / Alcetis

5th

Greece

Aristophanes

Lysistrata / Birds / Clouds / Frogs / Knights

5th

Greece

Apollonius of Rhodes

Argonitica (Jason and the Argonauts)

5th

Greece

Herodotus

The Persian Wars

5th

Greece

Thucydidies

The Peloponnesian Wars

5th

Greece

Plato

Phado / Republic / Crito / Apology / Sym / Laws

4th

Greece

Aristotle

Treatise Gov / Metaphys / Ethics / Politics / Nico

4th

Greece

Euclid

The Elements of Geometry

4th

Greece

Sun Tzu

The Art of War

4th

China

Archimedes

The Works

3rd

Sicily

 

2nd 5th Century          CLASSICAL ROMAN <--(click here for the plots and pictures of the Roman stories)

 Traditional Asian

The Buddhist Scriptures

3rd

India

 Ptolemy

Geocentric Astronomy

2nd

Egypt

 Cicero

On the Good Life

1st BC

Italy

 Virgil

Aeneid

1st BC

Italy

 Lucretius

On the Nature of Things

1st BC

Italy

 Ovid

Metamorpheses

1st BC

Italy

 Julius Caesar

Commentaries on the Gallic Wars

1st BC

Italy

 Sacred Text

The Holy Bible (New Testament)

1st AD

Levant

 Livius

The War with Hannibal

1st AD

Italy

 Galen

On the Natural Faculties

2nd

Italy

 Juevenal

The Sixteen Satires

2nd

Italy

 Marcus Aurelius

Meditations

2nd

Italy

 Saint Augustine

City of God

5th

Italy

 Traditional Jewish

The Talmud

5th

Mesopotamia

 

6th-14th Century        MEDIEVAL <--(click here for the plots and pictures of the Medieval stories)

The Venerable Bede

History of the English People

7th

England

Traditional Muslim

The Koran

7th

Arabia

Traditional Scandinavian

Beowulf (Saga?)

8th

Norway

Traditional Arabian

1001 Arabian Nights

9th

Arabia

Traditional French

Song of Roland

11th

France

Traditional Spanish

El Cid

12th

Spain

Traditional Jewish

The Kabbalah

12th

Spain / North Africa

Maimonidies

For the Confused

12th

Egypt

Pierre Abelard

Letters and History

12th

France

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Summe Theologica

13th

Italy

Traditional German

Nibelungenlied

13th

Germany

Marco Polo

The Travels of Marco Polo

13th

Italy

Dante Aligheri

The Divine Comedy

13th

Italy

Geoffery Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales

14th

England

 

15th 16th Century          RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION

Francesco Petrarch

Dialogues

14th

Italy

Giovanni Boccaccio

The Dacameron

14th

Italy

Saint Thomas More

Utopia

16th

England

Leonardo Di Vinci

Notebooks

16th

Italy

Nicholas Copernicus

On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres

16th

Poland

Baldassaire Castiglione

The Courtier

16th

Italy

Martin Luther

Ninety Five Theses

16th

Germany

Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince

16th

Italy

John Calvin

Institutes of the Christian Religion

16th

Switzerland

Wu Ch'eng-en

Journey to the West

16th

China

Desiderius Erasmus

In Praise of Folly

16th

Holland

Francois Rabelais

Gargandua and Paterguea

16th

France

Montaigne

The Essays

16th

France

Jan Kochanowski

Lamentations

16th

Poland

 

17th Century               ELIZABETHAN AND BAROQUE

Johannes Kepler

The Harmony of the Worlds

17th

Germany

Galileo Galilei

Discoveries and Opinions

17th

Italy

William Shakespeare

Complete Works

17th

England

Sir Francis Bacon

Essays

17th

England

Thomas Hobbes

Leviathan

17th

Switzerland

Rene Descartes

A Discourse on Method

17th

France

John Milton

Paradise Lost

17th

England

John Bunyan

The Pilgrims' Progress

17th

England

Jean de la Fontaine

Fables

17th

France

Moliere

The Misanthrope

17th

France

William Forbush

The Book of Martyrs

17th

England

Barch Spinoza

Ethics

17th

Holland

Blaise Pascal

The Pensees

17th

France

Miguel Cervantes

Don Quixote

17th

Spain

Christian Huygens

A Treatise on Light

17th

Holland

John Locke

Treatise on Government

17th

England

 

18th Century             ENLIGHTENMENT and THE AGE OF REVOLUTION

Baron de Montesquieu

The Spirit of the Laws

18th

France

Voltaire

Candide

18th

France

Daniel DeFoe

Robinson Carusoe

18th

England

Johnathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels

18th

Ireland

Captain James Cook

Journal of Voyages

18th

England

Issac Newton

Principles of Gravity

18th

England

David Hume

Treatise on Human Nature

18th

Scotland

Jean Jacques Rousseau

Emile / The Social Contract

18th

Switzerland

Denis Diderot

The Encyclopedia

18th

France

Sir William Blackstone

The Rights of Englishmen

18th

England

Edward Gibbon

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

18th

England

Immanuel Kant

A Critique of Pure Reason

18th

Germany

Edmund Burke

Inquiries into the Sublime and Beautiful / Reflections

18th

Ireland

Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations

18th

Scotland

Thomas Paine

Common Sense / The Rights of Man

18th

United States

The American Founding Fathers

The Declaration / Constitution / Federalist Papers

18th

United States

Sir Thomas Malthus

Essay on Population

18th

England

 

 

19th CENTURY: THE ROMANTIC AGE

                AMERICAN AUTHORS

Various

The New England Primer

19th

The United States

Washinton Irving

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

19th

The United States

James Fenimore Cooper

Last of the Mohecians

19th

The United States

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter

19th

The United States

Henry W. Longfellow

Poetry

19th

The United States

Edgar Allen Poe

Poetry

19th

The United States

Herman Melville

Moby Dick / Bartleby

19th

The United States

Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass

19th

The United States

William McGuffey

The Eclectic Primer

19th

The United States

Francis Parkman

The Oregon Trail

19th

The United States

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Conduct of Life

19th

The United States

Henry David Thoreau

Walden / Essay on Civil Disobedience

19th

The United States

Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer / Huck Finn / Innocents Abroad

19th

The United States

Lew Wallace

Ben Hur

 20th

The United States

Edward Bellamy

Looking Backwards

19th

The United States

Ignatius Donnelly

Caesar's Column

19th

The United States

Sir Thomas Bulfinch

The Age of Fable

19th

The United States

Stephen Crane

The Red Badge of Courage

19th

The United States

Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams

19th

The United States

William James

Essays in Radical Empiricism

19th

The United States

           BRITANNIC AUTHORS

Sir William Bligh

Mutiny on the Bounty

19th

England

Sir Walter Scott

Ivanhoe / Rob Roy

19th

Scotland

George Lord Byron

Don Juan / Poems

19th

England

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

19th

England

John Stewart Mill

On Liberty / Utilitarianism

19th

England

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Idylls of the King

19th

England

Charles Darwin

The Origin of Species

19th

England

Sir Edward Creasy

The Fifteen Dicisive Battles of World History

19th

England

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

19th

England

William M. Thackeray

Vanity Fair

19th

England

Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book / Kim / The Man who would be King

19th

India / England

Charles Dickens

Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations / Christmas Carol

19th

England

Charlotte Bonte

Jane Eyre

19th

England

Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland

19th

England

Robert L. Stevenson

Treasure Island / Black Arrow

19th

Scotland

Bram Stoker

Dracula

19th

Ireland

            FRENCH, LATIN AND GERMANIC AUTHORS

Stendhal

The Red and the Black

19th

France

Alexis de Toqueville

Democracy in America

19th

France

Carl Maria Von Clauswitz

On War

19th

Germany

Wolfgang Von Goethe

Faust

19th

Germany

Hegel

A Philosophy of Rationalism

19th

Germany

Jules Verne

20,000 Leagues / Around the World / Earth to Moon

19th

France

Kark Marx

The Communist Manifesto

19th

Germany

The Brother Grimm

Grimm's Fairy Tales

19th

Germany

Honore de Balzac

The Human Comedy

19th

France

Hans Christian Anderson

Fairy Tales

19th

Denmark

Victor Hugo

Les Miserables

19th

Fance

Alexander Dumas

Count of Monte Christo / The Three Musketeers

19th

France

Soren Kierkgaard

Either, Or

19th

Denmark

Henrik Ibsen

Peer Gynt

19th

Norway

Neitzche

The Geneology of Morals / Thus Spake Zarathustra

19th

Germany

Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary

19th

France

Emile Zola

Germinal

19th

France

Edmund Rostand

Cyrano de Bergerac

19th

France

           SLAVIC AUTHORS

Alexander Pushkin

Boris Godunov / Eugene Onegin

19th

Russia

Adam Mickiewicz

Pan Tadeusz

19th

Poland

Nokolai Gogol

Taras Bulba

19th

Russia

Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons

19th

Russia

Julius Slowacki

Anhelli

19th

Poland

Zygmunt Krasinski

The Undivine Comedy

19th

Poland

Janos Arany

Toldi

19th

Hungary

Feodor Dostoyevsky

Brothers Karamazov / Crime and Punishment

19th

Russia

Sandor Petofi

Poems

19th

Hungary

Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace / Anna Karenena

19th

Russia

Boleslaw Prus

The Doll

19th

Poland

Henryk Sienkiewicz

Quo Vadis / With Fire and Sword

19th

Poland

Anton Chekhov

Three Sisters / Plays

19th

Russia

AFRICAN, ASIAN AND NATIVE AMERICAN WRITINGS

Traditional African

Folktales

19th

Africa

Traditional African

In the Back of the Black Man's Mind

19th

Africa

Traditional American Indian

Indians

19th

North America

Traditional American Indian

Soul of the Indian

19th

North America

Traditional American Indian

Mexico and Peru

19th

Latin America

 

20th CENTURY: THE MODERN AGE

            AMERICAN AUTHORS: LITERATURE

Henry Adams

Education of Henry Adams

 20th

 The United States

Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind

 20th

 The United States

Jack London

Call of the Wild / White Fang

 20th

 The United States

Upton Sinclair

The Jungle

 20th

 The United States

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

 20th

 The United States

Robert Goddard

A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes

 20th

 The United States

Robert Frost

Poems

 20th

 The United States

William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying, Absalom!

 20th

 The United States

Earnest Hemingway

Old Man and the Sea / For Whom the Bell Tolls

 20th

 The United States

John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath / Of Mice and Men

 20th

 The United States

Ayn Rand

Anthem / The Fountainhead / Atlas Shrugged

 20th

 Russia / USA

JD Salinger

Catcher in the Rye

 20th

 The United States

Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions

 20th

 The United States

Jack Kerouac

On the Road

 20th

 The United States

Norman Mailer

The Naked and the Dead

 20th

 The United States

Truman Capote

In Cold Blood

 20th

 The United States

Robert Heinlen

Stranger in a Strange Land

 20th

 The United States

Frank Herbert

Dune

 20th

 The United States

Joseph Heller

Catch - 22

 20th

 The United States

Stephen King

The Stand

 20th

 The United States

AE Van Vogt

Destination Universe

 20th

 Canada

James A. Michener

The Source / Covenant

 20th

 The United States

Saul Bellow

Herzog / Ravelstein

 20th

 The United States

Ray Bradbury

Farenheit 451

 20th

 The United States

Tom Clancy

The Hunt for Red October

 20th

 The United States

Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park / The Lost World

 20th

 The United States

            BRITANNIC AUTHORS

CS Lewis

Narnia / Abolition / Discarded Image

 20th

 Ireland

George Bernard Shaw

Man and Superman / Saint Joan

 20th 

 Ireland

Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness / Nostromo / Lord Jim

 20th

 England

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Lost World / Sherlock Holmes

 20th

 Scotland

HG Wells

War of the Worlds / The Time Machine

 20th

 England

EM Forester

A Passage to India / Howard's End

 20th

 England

Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot

 20th

 Ireland

James Joyce

Portrait of the Artist / Ulysses

 20th

 Ireland

JRR Tolkien

The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings

 20th

 England

Alodus Huxley

Brave New World

 20th

 England

George Orwell

1984 / Animal Farm / Down and Out

 20th

 India / England

Arthur Koestler

Darkness at Noon

 20th

 Hungary / England

Ian Fleming

James Bond

 20th

 England

Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange

 20th

 England

TS Eliot

The Wasteland / Selected Essays

 20th

 USA / England

JRR Tolkien

Lord of the Rings

 20th

 USA / England

Sir William Golding

The Lord of the Flies

 20th

 England

Arthur C. Clarke

2001: A Space Odyssey

 20th

 England

Douglas Adams

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

 20th

 England

         FRENCH, LATIN AND GERMANIC AUTHORS

Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front

 10s

 Germany

Hermann Oberth

By Rocket into Interplanetary Space

 20s

 Germany

Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank

 40s

 Holland

Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose

 20th

 Italy

Knut Hamsun

Growth of the Soil

 20th

 Norway

Johann Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson

 20th

 Switzerland

Herman Hesse

Siddhartha

 20th

 Germany

Jean Raspail

Camp of the Saints

 70s

 France

           SLAVIC AUTHORS

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

The Exploration of Cosmic Space

 00s

 The United States

Wladyslaw Reymont

The Peasants

 20s

 Poland

Sefan Zeromski

Ashes

 20s

 Poland

Jerzy Kosinski

The Painted Bird

 20th 

 Poland

Franz Kafka

The Trial

 20th

 Czechoslovakia

Maxim Gorky

Lower Depths

 20th

 Russia

Boris Pasternak

Dr. Zhivago

 20th

 Russia

Czeslaw Milosz

The Captive Mind

 20th

 Poland

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago / One Day

 70s

 Russia

Stanislaw Lem

Solaris

 20th

 Poland

Vladimir Nabakov

Pale Fire / Lectures

 20th

 Russia

Elie Wiesel

Night

 20th

 Romania

 

       Being able to read and write may constitute raw literacy, but perhaps only the rankest pop-education ideologue will concede that this is where it should end. Readings telos is not the facilitation of mass-consumerism. In Post-Industrial America, we may know how to read, but we are steadily losing the reason that reading is important: as a tool for Cultural Literacy and a greater sense of purpose in our lives. To remedy this, this list was generated.

 

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