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30 October 2006 @ 11:16 pm
The Great Books Meme  
Post the full list behind a cut tag, then post the list of ones you've read.

The History of Herodotus - in progress, actually - stellar anecdotes
The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Macbeth, Othello Shakespeare
The Old Testament


* Homer: Iliad, Odyssey
* The Old Testament
* Aeschylus: Tragedies
* Sophocles: Tragedies
* Herodotus: History
* Euripides: Tragedies
* Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
* Hippocrates: Medical Writings
* Aristophanes: Comedies
* Plato: Dialogues
* Aristotle: Works
* Epicurus: 'Letter to Herodotus';'Letter to Menoecus'
* Euclid: Elements
* Archimedes: Works
* Apollonius: Conic Sections
* Cicero: Works
* Lucretius: On the Nature of Things
* Virgil: Works
* Horace: Works
* Livy: History of Rome
* Ovid: Works
* Plutarch: Parallel Lives; Moralia
* Tacitus: Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania
* Nicomachus of Gerasa: Introduction to Arithmetic
* Epictetus: Discourses; Encheiridion
* Ptolemy: Almagest
* Lucian: Works
* Marcus Aurelius: Meditations
* Galen: On the Natural Faculties
* The New Testament
* Plotinus: The Enneads
* St. Augustine: On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine
* The Song of Roland
* The Nibelungenlied
* The Saga of Burnt Njál
* St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica
* Dante Alighieri: The New Life; On Monarchy; The Divine Comedy
* Geoffrey Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales
* Leonardo da Vinci: Notebooks
* Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy
* Desiderius Erasmus: The Praise of Folly
* Nicolaus Copernicus: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
* Thomas More: Utopia
* Martin Luther: Table Talk; Three Treatises
* Francois Rabelais: Gargantua and Pantagruel
* John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion
* Michel de Montaigne: Essays
* William Gilbert: On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies
* Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote
* Edmund Spenser: Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene
* Francis Bacon: Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis
* William Shakespeare: Poetry and Plays
* Galileo Galilei: The Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences
* Johannes Kepler: Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World
* William Harvey: On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals
* Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan
* Rene Descartes: Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy
* John Milton: Works
* Moliere: Comedies
* Blaise Pascal: The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises
* Christiaan Huygens: Treatise on Light
* Benedict de Spinoza: Ethics
* John Locke: Letter Concerning Toleration; 'Of Civil Government'; Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Thoughts Concerning Education
* Jean Baptiste Racine: Tragedies
* Isaac Newton: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics
* Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz: Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding; Monadology
* Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe
* Jonathan Swift: A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal
* William Congreve: The Way of the World
* George Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge
* Alexander Pope: Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man
* Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu: Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws
* Voltaire: Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary
* Henry Fielding: Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones
* Samuel Johnson: The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
* David Hume: Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
* Jean-Jacques Rousseau: On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile, The Social Contract
* Laurence Sterne: Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy
* Adam Smith: The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations
* Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace
* Edward Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography
* James Boswell: Journal Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D.
* Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Elements of Chemistry
* Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison: Federalist Papers
* Jeremy Bentham: Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions
* Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust; Poetry and Truth
* Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier: Analytical Theory of Heat
* Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History
* William Wordsworth: Poems
* Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Poems; Biographia Literaria
* Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice; Emma
* Karl von Clausewitz: On War
* Stendhal: The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love
* Lord Byron: Don Juan
* Arthur Schopenhauer: Studies in Pessimism
* Michael Faraday: Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity
* Charles Lyell: Principles of Geology
* Auguste Comte: The Positive Philosophy
* Honore de Balzac: Pere Goriot; Eugenie Grandet
* Ralph Waldo Emerson: Representative Men; Essays; Journal
* Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
* Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America
* John Stuart Mill: A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography
* Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography
* Charles Dickens: Works
* Claude Bernard: Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine
* Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience; Walden
* Karl Marx: Capital
* George Eliot: Adam Bede; Middlemarch
* Herman Melville: Moby Dick; Billy Budd
* Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov
* Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary; Three Stories
* Henrik Ibsen: Plays
* Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales
* Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger
* William James: The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragamatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism
* Henry James: The American; The Ambassadors
* Machado de Assis: Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas; Dom Casmurro; Quincas Borba; O Alienista
* Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals; The Will to Power
* Jules Henri Poincare: Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method
* Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
* George Bernard Shaw: Plays and Prefaces
* Max Planck: Origin and Development of the Quantum Theory; Where Is Science Going?; Scientific Autobiography
* Henri Bergson: Time and Free Will; Matter and Memory; Creative Evolution; The Two Sources of Morality and Religion
* John Dewey: How We Think; Democracy and Education; Experience and Nature; Logic; the Theory of Inquiry
* Alfred North Whitehead:. An Introduction to Mathematics; Science and the Modern World; The Aims of Education and Other Essays; Adventures of Ideas
* George Santayana: The Life of Reason; Skepticism and Animal Faith; Persons and Places
* Lenin: The State and Revolution
* Marcel Proust: Remembrance of Things Past
* Bertrand Russell: The Problems of Philosophy; The Analsysis of Mind; An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth; Human Knowledge, Its Scope and Limits
* Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain; Joseph and His Brothers
* Albert Einstein: The Meaning of Relativity; On the Method of Theoretical Physics; The Evolution of Physics
* James Joyce: 'The Dead' in Dubliners; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Ulysses
* Jacques Maritain: Art and Scholasticism; The Degrees of Knowledge; The Rights of Man and Natural Law; True Humanism
* Franz Kafka: The Trial; The Castle
* Arnold J. Toynbee: A Study of History; Civilization on Trial
* Jean Paul Sartre: Nausea; No Exit; Being and Nothingness
* Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The First Circle; The Cancer Ward

Books I would add to the Great Book list based on these conditions:
1. the book has contemporary significance; that is, it has relevance to the problems and issues of our times;
2. the book is inexhaustible; it can be read again and again with benefit; and
3. the book is relevant to a large number of the great ideas and great issues that have occupied the minds of thinking individuals for the last 25 centuries.

#2 very rarely occurs for me. Pride and Prejudice meets that from my above list, and I think Herodotus will also. Here are my exceptions that aren't on the official Great Books list:

Arabian Nights
Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
Tao Te Ching
Chuang Tzu
Lieh Tzu
Small Gods Terry Pratchett
Always Coming Home Ursula K. LeGuin
Living with Saints Mary O'Connell
Steel Beach John Varley
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Women's Room Marilyn French
To Mega Thereminrwx on November 1st, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
the rawlinson, selincourt, and grene translations are generally regarded as good ones. the grene is the most precise translation of these, and possibly less accessible.