Adler Great Books List

A list from “How to Read a Book”

From “How to Read a Book”

 

Homer (9th century B C?)
Iliad
Odyssey

The Old Testament

Aeschylus (c. 525-456 B C)
Tragedies

Sophocles (c. 495-406 B C)
Tragedies

Herodotus (c. 484-425 B C)
History (of the Persian Wars)

Euripides (c. 485-406 B C)
Tragedies (incl.
Medea;
Hippolytus;
The Bacchae)

Thucydides (c. 460-400 B C)
History of the Peloponnesian War

Hippocrates (c. 460-377? B C)
Medical writings

Aristophanes (c. 448-380 B C)
Comedies (incl.
The Clouds;
The Birds;
The Frogs)

Plato (c. 427-347 B C)
Dialogues (incl.
The Republic;
Symposium;
Phaedo;
Meno;
Apology;
Phaedrus;
Protagoras;
Gorgias;
Sophist;
Theaetus)

Aristotle (384-322 B C)
Works (incl.
Organon;
Physics;
Metaphysics;
On the Soul;
The Nichomachean Ethics;
Politics;
Rhetoric;
Poetics)

Epicurus (c. 341-270 B C)
Letter to Herodotus
Letter to Menoecus

Euclid (fl.c. 300 B C)
Elements (of Geometry)

Archimedes (c. 287-212 B C)
Works (incl.
On the Equilibrium of Planes;
On Floating Bodies;
The Sand-Reckoner)

Apollonius of Pergia (fl.c. 240 B C)
On Conic Sections

Cicero (106-43 B C)
Works (incl.
Orations;
On Friendship;
On Old Age)

Lucretius (c. 95-55 B C)
On the Nature of Things

Virgil (70-19 B C)
Works

Horace (65-8 B C)
Works (incl.
Odes and Epodes;
The Art of Poetry)

Livy (59 B C-A D 17)
History of Rome

Ovid (43 B C-A D 17)
Works (incl.
Metamorphoses)

Plutarch (c. 45-120)
Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
Moralia

Tacitus (c. 55-117)
Histories
Annals
Agricola
Germania

Nicomachus of Gerasa (fl.c. 100 A D)
Introduction to Arithmetic

Epictetus (c. 60-120)
Discourses
Encheiridion (Handbook)

Ptolemy (c. 100-178; fl. 127-151)
Almagest

Lucian (c. 120-c. 190)
Works (incl.
The Way to Write History;
The True History;
The Sale of Creeds)

Marcus Aurelius (121-180)
Meditations

Galen (c. 130-200)
On the Natural Faculties

The New Testament

Plotinus (205-270)
The Enneads

St. Augustine (354-430)
Works (incl.
On the Teacher;
Confessions;
The City of God;
Christian Doctrine)

The Song of Roland (12th century?)

The Nibelungenlied (13th century)
(The Völsunga Saga is the Scandinavian version of the same legend.)

The Saga of Burnt Njal

St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274)
Summa Theologica

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Works (incl.
The New Life;
On Monarch;
The Divine Comedy)

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340-1400)
Works (incl.
Troilus and Criseyde;
Canterbury Tales)

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Notebooks

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
The Prince
Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy

Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1469-1536)
The Praise of Folly

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)
On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres

Sir Thomas More (c. 1478-1535)
Utopia

Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Three Treatises
Table-Talk

Francois Rabelais (c. 1495-1553)
Gargantua and Pantagruel [1532-34]

John Calvin (1509-1564)
Institutes of the Christian Religion

Michel de Montaigne (1553-1592)
Essays

William Gilbert (1540-1603)
On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
Don Quixote

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599)
Prothalamion
The Faërie Queene

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Essays
Advancement of Learning
Novum Organum
New Atlantis

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Works

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
The Starry Messenger
Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
Epitome of Copernican Astronomy
Concerning the Harmonies of the World

William Harvey (1578-1657)
On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
On the Circulation of the Blood
On the Generation of Animals

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Leviathan

René Descartes (1596-1650)
Rules for the Direction of the Mind
Discourse on Method
Geometry
Meditations on First Philosophy

John Milton (1608-1674)
Works (incl.
the minor poems;
Areopagitica;
Paradise Lost;
Samson Agonistes)

Moliere (1622-1673)
Comedies (incl.
The Miser;
The School for Wives;
The Misanthrope;
The Doctor in Spite of Himself;
Tartuffe)

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
The Provincial Letters
Pensées
Scientific Treatises

Christian Huygens (1629-1695)
Treatise on Light

Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677)
Ethics

John Locke (1632-1704)
Letter Concerning Toleration
‘Of Civil Government’ (second treatise in Two Treatises on Government)
Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Thoughts Concerning Education

Jean Baptiste Racine (1639-1699)
Tragedies (incl.
Andromach;
Phaedra)

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Optics

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716)
Discourse on Metaphysics
New Essays Concerning Human Understanding
Monadology

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
Robinson Crusoe

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
A Tale of a Tub
Journal to Stella
Gulliver’s Travels
A Modest Proposal

William Congreve (1670-1729)
The Way of the World

George Berkeley (1685-1753)
Principles of Human Knowledge

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
Essay on Criticism
Rape of the Lock
An Essay on Man

Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
Persian Letters
Spirit of Laws

Voltaire (1694-1778)
Letters on the English
Candide
Philosophical Dictionary

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
Joseph Andrews
Tom Jones

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
The Vanity of Human Wishes
Dictionary
Rasselas
The Lives of the Poets (esp. the essays on Milton and Pope)

David Hume (1711-1776)
Treatise on Human Nature
Essays Moral and Political
An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
On the Origin of Inequality
‘On Political Economy’
Emile
The Social Contract

Laurence Sterne (1713-1768)
Tristram Shandy
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

Adam Smith (1723-1790)
The Theory of the Moral Sentiments
Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
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 (1737-1794)
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Autobiography

James Boswell (1740-1795)
Journal (esp.
London Journal)
Life of Samuel Johnson Ll.D.

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794)
Elements of Chemistry

John Jay (1745-1829), James Madison (1751-1836), and Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804)
Federalist Papers (together with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence)

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
Theory of Fictions

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Faust
Poetry and Truth

Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830)
Analytical Theory of Heat

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)
Phenomenology of Spirit
Philosophy of Right
Lectures on the Philosophy of History

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Poems (incl.
Lyrical Ballads;
Lucy poems;
sonnets;
The Prelude)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Poems (incl.
‘Kubla Khan’;
‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’)
Biographia Literaria

Jane Austen (1775-1817)
Pride and Prejudice
Emma

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831)
On War

Stendhal (1783-1842)
The Red and the Black
The Charterhouse of Parma
On Love

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Don Juan

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
Studies in Pessimism

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
Chemical History of a Candle
Experimental Researches in Electricity

Charles Lyell (1797-1875)
Principles of Geology

Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
The Positive Philosophy

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)
Père Goriot
Eugénie Grandet

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Representative Men
Essays
Journal

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
The Scarlet Letter

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Democracy in America

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
A System of Logic
On Liberty
Representative Government
Utilitarianism
The Subjection of Women
Autobiography

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
The Origin of Species
The Descent of Man
Autobiography

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Works (incl.
Pickwick Papers;
David Copperfield;
Hard Times)

Claude Bernard (1813-1878)
Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
‘Civil Disobedience’
Walden

Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Capital (together with the Communist Manifesto)

George Eliot (1819-1880)
Adam Bede
Middlemarch

Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Moby Dick
Billy Budd

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)
Crime and Punishment
The Idiot
The Brothers Karamazov

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)
Madame Bovary
Three Stories

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
Plays
(incl. Hedda Gabler;
A Doll’s House;
The Wild Duck)

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
War and Peace
Anna Karenina
What Is Art?
Twenty-Three Tales

Mark Twain (1835-1910)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Mysterious Stranger

William James (1842-1910)
The Principles of Psychology
The Varieties of Religious Experience
Pragmatism
Essays in Radical Empiricism

Henry James (1843-1916)
The American
The Ambassadors

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Beyond Good and Evil
The Genealogy of Morals
The Will to Power

Jules Henri Poincare (1854-1912)
Science and Hypothesis
Science and Method

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
The Interpretation of Dreams
Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
Civilization and Its Discontents
New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Plays (and Prefaces) (incl.
Man and Superman;
Major Barbara;
Caesar and Cleopatra;
Pygmalion;
Saint Joan)

Max Planck (1858-1947)
Origin and Development of the Quantum Theory
Where Is Science Going?
Scientific Autobiography

Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
Time and Free Will
Matter and Memory
Creative Evolution
The Two Sources of Morality and Religion

John Dewey (1859-1952)
How We Think
Democracy and Education
Experience and Nature
Logic, the Theory of Inquiry

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)
An Introduction to Mathematics
Science and the Modern World
The Aims of Education and Other Essays
Adventures of Ideas

George Santayana (1863-1952)
The Life of Reason
Skepticism and Animal Faith
Persons and Places

Nikolai Lenin (1870-1924)
The State and Revolution

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
Remembrance of Things Past

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
The Problems of Philosophy
The Analysis of Mind
An Inquiry Into Meaning and Truth
Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits

Thomas Mann (1875-1955)
The Magic Mountain
Joseph and His Brothers

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
The Meaning of Relativity
On the Method of Theoretical Physics
The Evolution of Physics (with L Infeld)

James Joyce (1882-1941)
‘The Dead’ in Dubliners
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Ulysses

Jacques Maritain (1882- )
Art and Scholasticism
The Degrees of Knowledge
The Rights of Man and Natural Law
True Humanism

Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
The Trial
The Castle

Arnold Toynbee (1889- )
A Study of History
Civilization on Trial

Jean Paul Sartre (1905- )
Nausea
No Exit
Being and Nothingness

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (1918- )
The First Circle
Cancer Ward