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A List of Great Books? There are many! 


 Here's one famous list: 


The Great Books of the Western World

as selected by Mortimer Adler

Mortimer Adler, founder of the Great Books of the Western World program and the Great Books Foundation. 

1. Homer



2. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes

Aeschylus. Plays

Sophocles. Plays

Euripides. Plays

Aristophanes. Plays

3. Herodotus, Thucydides

Herodotus. History

Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War

4. Plato


Seventh Letter

5. Aristotle (I)


6. Aristotle (II)

Works (continued)

7. Hippocrates, Galen

Hippocrates. Hippocratic Writings

Galen. On the Natural Faculties

8. Euclid, Archimedes, Nicomachus

Euclid. Elements

Archimedes. Works (including The Method)

Nicomachus. Introduction to Arithmetic

9. Lucretius, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus

Lucretius The Way Things Are

Epictetus. Discourses

Marcus Aurelius. The Meditations

Plotinus. The Six Enneads

10. Virgil




11. Plutarch

Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

12. Tacitus



13. Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler

Ptolemy. Almagest

Copernicus. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres

Kepler. Epitome of Copernican Astronomy

Kepler. The Harmonies of the World

14. Augustine

The Confessions

The City of God

On Christian Doctrine

15. Thomas Aquinas (I)

Summa Theologica

16. Thomas Aquinas (II)

Summa Theologica (continued)

17. Dante, Chaucer

Dante. Divine Comedy

Chaucer. Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucer. Canterbury Tales

18. Calvin

Institutes of the Christian Religion

19. Machiavelli, Hobbbes

Machiavelli. The Prince

Hobbes. Leviathan, or, Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil

20. Rabelais

Gargantua and Pantagruel

21. Erasmus, Montaigne

Erasmus. Praise of Folly

Montaigne. Essays

22. Shakespeare (I)

The Plays and Sonnets

23. Shakespeare (II)

The Plays and Sonnets (continued)

24. Gilbert, Galileo, Harvey

Gilbert. On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies

Galileo. Concerning the Two New Sciences

Harvey. On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals

Harvey. On the Circulation of the Blood

Harvey. On the Generation of Animals

25. Cervantes

The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

26. Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza

Bacon. Advancement of Learning

Bacon. Novum Organum

Bacon. New Atlantis

Descartes. Rules for the Direction of the Mind

Descartes. Discourse on the Method

Descartes. Meditations on First Philosophy

Descartes. Objections Against the Meditations and Replies

Descartes. The Geometry

Spinoza. Ethics

27. Milton

English minor poems

Paradise Lost

Samson Agonistes


28. Pascal

The Provincial Letters


Scientific Treatises

29. Moliere, Racine

Moliere. The School for Wives

Moliere. The Critique of the School for Wives

Moliere. Tartuffe

Moliere. Don Juan

Moliere. The Miser

Moliere. The Would-Be Gentleman

Moliere. The Would-Be Invalid

Racine. Berenice

30. Newton, Huygens

Newton. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

Newton. Optics

Huygens. Treatise on Light

31. Locke, Berkeley

Locke. A Letter Concerning Toleration

Locke. Concerning Civil Government, Second Essay

Locke. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Berkeley. The Principles of Human Knowledge

Hume. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

32. Swift, Voltaire, Diderot

Swift. Gulliver's Travels

Voltaire. Candide

Diderot. Rameau's Nephew

33. Montesquieu, Rousseau

Montesquieu. The Spirit of Laws

Rousseau. On the Origin of Inequality

Rousseau. On Political Economy

Rousseau. The Social Contract

34. Smith

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

35. Gibbon (I)

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

36. Gibbon (II)

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (continued)

37. Kant

The Critique of Pure Reason

The Critique of Practical Reason, and Other Ethical Treatises

The Critique of Judgment

38. American State Papers, The Federalist, Mill

Declaration of Independence

Articles of Confederation

The Constitution

Hamilton, Madison, Jay. The Federalist

Mill. On Liberty

Mill. Representative Government

Mill. Utilitarianism

39. Boswell

Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D.

40. Lavoisier, Faraday

Lavoisier. Elements of Chemistry

Faraday. Experimental Researches in Electricity

41. Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche

Hegel. The Philosophy of Right

Hegel. The Philosophy of History

Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling

Nietzsche. Beyond Good and Evil

42. Tocqueville

Democracy in America


43. Goethe, Balzac

Goethe. Faust: Parts One and Two

Balzac. Cousin Bette

44. Austen, Eliot

Austen. Emma

Eliot. Middlemarch

45. Dickens

Little Dorrit

46. Melville, Twain

Melville. Moby Dick, or, The Whale

Twain. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

47. Darwin

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

48. Marx, Engels

Marx (edited by Engels). Capital

Marx and Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party

49. Tolstoy

War and Peace

50. Dostoyevsky, Ibsen

Dostoyevsky. The Brothers Karamazov

Ibsen. A Doll's House

Ibsen. The Wild Duck

Ibsen. Hedda Gabler

Ibsen. The Master Builder

51. James

The Principles of Psychology

52. Freud

The Major Works of Sigmund Freud

53. 20th Century Philosophy and Religion

James. Pragmatism

Bergson. An Introduction to Metaphysics

Dewey. Experience and Education

Whitehead. Science and the Modern World

Russell. The Problems of Philosophy

Heidegger. What is Metaphysics?

Wittgenstein. Philosophical Investigations

Barth. The Word of God and the Word of Man

54. 20th Century Natural Science

Poincare. Science and Hypothesis

Planck. Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers

Whitehead. An Introduction to Mathematics

Einstein. Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

Eddington. The Expanding Universe

Bohr. Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature (selections)

Bohr. Discussion with Einstein on Epistemological Problemns in Atomic Physics

Hardy. A Mathematician's Apology

Heisenberg. Physics and Philosophy

Schrodinger. What is Life?

Dobzhansky. Genetics and the Origin of Species

Waddington. The Nature of Life

55. 20th Century Social Science (I)

Veblen. The Theory of the Leisure Class

Tawney. The Acquisitive Society

Keynes. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

56. 20th Century Social Science (II)

Frazer. The Golden Bough (selections)

Weber. Essays in Sociology (selections)

Huizinga. The Waning of the Middle Ages

Levi-Strauss. Structural Anthropology (selections)

57. 20th Century Imaginative Literature (I)

James. The Beast in the Jungle

Shaw. Saint Joan

Conrad. Heart of Darkness

Chekhov. Uncle Vanya

Pirandello. Six Characters in Search of an Author

Proust. Remembrance of Things Past. "Swann in Love"

Cather. A Lost Lady

Mann. Death in Venice 

Joyce. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

58. 20th Century Imaginative Literature (II)

Woolf. To the Lighthouse

Kafka. Metamorphosis

Lawrence. The Prussian Officer

Eliot. The Waste Land

O'Neill. Mourning Becomes Electra

Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby

Faulkner. A Rose for Emily

Brecht. Mother Courage and Her Children

Hemingway. The Short Happy Life of Macomber

Orwell. Animal Farm

Beckett. Waiting for Godot


But this is not the only Great Books list.

There are many lists.

Find out more about what makes a Great Book! 

Take English 5 - Intro to Great Books

Offered every Fall semester at Monterey Peninsula College.

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