Great Books of the Western World (2nd ed., 1990)

See also Mortimer Adler's statement on how the Great Books of the Western World were chosen

Frequently Asked Questions

Who wrote this list?

See the heading above and the credit below to find out who wrote this list. If you don't like the selections in this list or the arrangement, take it up with the author(s).

Why isn't my favorite author listed here?

This list may not include your favorite author, but he or she may be on other Great Books lists. Check the author index to see.

See the Great Books FAQ for more about the Great Books and these lists of them.

  1. The Syntopicon: An Index to the Great Ideas (2 volumes)

    Angel to Love
    Man to World

  2. Homer

    Iliad
    Odyssey
  3. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes

    Aeschylus. Plays
    Sophocles. Plays
    Euripides. Plays
    Aristophanes. Plays

  4. Herodotus, Thucydides

    Herodotus. History
    Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War

  5. Plato

    Dialogues
    Seventh Letter

  6. Aristotle (I)

    Works

  7. Aristotle (II)

    Works (continued)

  8. Hippocrates, Galen

    Hippocrates. Hippocratic Writings
    Galen. On the Natural Faculties

  9. Euclid, Archimedes, Nicomachus

    Euclid. Elements
    Archimedes. Works (including The Method)
    Nicomachus. Introduction to Arithmetic

  10. Lucretius, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus

    Lucretius The Way Things Are
    Epictetus. Discourses
    Marcus Aurelius. The Meditations
    Plotinus. The Six Enneads

  11. Virgil

    Eclogues
    Georgics
    Aeneid

  12. Plutarch

    Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

  13. Tacitus

    Annals
    Histories

  14. Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler

    Ptolemy. Almagest
    Copernicus. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
    Kepler. Epitome of Copernican Astronomy
    Kepler. The Harmonies of the World

  15. Augustine

    The Confessions
    The City of God
    On Christian Doctrine

  16. Thomas Aquinas (I)

    Summa Theologica

  17. Thomas Aquinas (II)

    Summa Theologica (continued)

  18. Dante, Chaucer

    Dante. Divine Comedy
    Chaucer. Troilus and Criseyde
    Chaucer. Canterbury Tales

  19. Calvin

    Institutes of the Christian Religion

  20. Machiavelli, Hobbes

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

  21. Rabelais

    Gargantua and Pantagruel

  22. Erasmus, Montaigne

    Erasmus. Praise of Folly
    Montaigne. Essays

  23. Shakespeare (I)

    The Plays and Sonnets

  24. Shakespeare (II)

    The Plays and Sonnets (continued)

  25. 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

  26. Cervantes

    The History of Don Quixote de la Mancha

  27. 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

  28. Milton

    English minor poems
    Paradise Lost
    Samson Agonistes
    Areopagitica

  29. Pascal

    The Provincial Letters
    Pensees
    Scientific Treatises

  30. 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

  31. Newton, Huygens

    Newton. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
    Newton. Optics
    Huygens. Treatise on Light

  32. 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

  33. Swift, Voltaire, Diderot

    Swift. Gulliver's Travels
    Voltaire. Candide
    Diderot. Rameau's Nephew

  34. Montesquieu, Rousseau

    Montesquieu. The Spirit of Laws
    Rousseau. On the Origin of Inequality
    Rousseau. On Political Economy
    Rousseau. The Social Contract

  35. Smith

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

  36. Gibbon (I)

    History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  37. Gibbon (II)

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

  38. Kant

    The Critique of Pure Reason
    The Critique of Practical Reason, and Other Ethical Treatises
    The Critique of Judgment

  39. 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

  40. Boswell

    Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D

  41. Lavoisier, Faraday

    Lavoisier. Elements of Chemistry
    Faraday. Experimental Researches in Electricity

  42. Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche

    Hegel. The Philosophy of Right
    Hegel. The Philosophy of History
    Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling
    Nietzsche. Beyond Good and Evil

  43. Tocqueville

    Democracy in America

  44. Goethe, Balzac

    Goethe. Faust: Parts One and Two
    Balzac. Cousin Bette

  45. Austen, Eliot

    Austen. Emma
    Eliot. Middlemarch

  46. Dickens

    Little Dorrit

  47. Melville, Twain

    Melville. Moby Dick, or, The Whale
    Twain. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

  48. Darwin

    The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
    The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

  49. Marx, Engels

    Marx (edited by Engels). Capital
    Marx and Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party

  50. Tolstoy

    War and Peace

  51. Dostoyevsky, Ibsen

    Dostoyevsky. The Brothers Karamazov
    Ibsen. A Doll's House
    Ibsen. The Wild Duck
    Ibsen. Hedda Gabler
    Ibsen. The Master Builder

  52. James

    The Principles of Psychology

  53. Freud

    The Major Works of Sigmund Freud

  54. 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

  55. 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

  56. 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

  57. 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)

  58. 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

  59. 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


Note: I have not been able to examine the second edition of Great Books; I have compiled this list from library catalogs

The content of this page may belong to the author. The transcription, however, is the result of my research and hard work. It may not be reposted on any Web site, newsgroup, mailing list, or other publicly available electronic format. Please link to this page instead.

 

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First posted: March 1998