What We’ve Read

Since beginning this project in January 2011, we have completed the following works:

Imaginative Literature

Epic Poems:

  1. The Odyssey of Homer
  2. The Iliad of Homer
  3. The Aeneid of Virgil
  4. Milton, John: Paradise Lost
  5. Dante Alighieri: The Divine Comedy


  1. Aeschylus: The Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, Eumenides)
  2. Aristophanes: The Clouds
  3. Brecht, Bertolt: Mother Courage and Her Children
  4. Chekhov, Anton: The Cherry Orchard
  5. Euripides: Alcestis
  6. Euripides: Medea
  7. Ibsen, Henrik: An Enemy of the People
  8. Ibsen, Henrik: A Doll’s House
  9. Milton, John: Samson Agonistes
  10. Molière: The Doctor in Spite of Himself
  11. Molière: The Misanthrope
  12. O’Neill, Eugene: The Emperor Jones
  13. Pirandello, Luigi: Six Characters in Search of an Author
  14. Shakespeare, William: The Taming of the Shrew
  15. Shakespeare, William: Julius Caesar
  16. Shakespeare, William: The Tempest
  17. Shakespeare, William: The Merchant of Venice
  18. Shakespeare, William: Macbeth
  19. Shakespeare, William: Hamlet
  20. Shakespeare, William: As You Like It
  21. Shakespeare, William: Richard II
  22. Shakespeare, William: The Winter’s Tale
  23. Shakespeare, William: Othello
  24. Shakespeare, William: Henry IV, Part I
  25. Shakespeare, William: Henry IV, Part II
  26. Shakespeare, William: Henry V
  27. Shakespeare, William: Romeo and Juliet
  28. Shaw, George Bernard: The Man of Destiny
  29. Sheridan, Robert: The School for Scandal
  30. Sophocles: Antigone
  31. Sophocles: Oedipus the King
  32. Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus
  33. Sophocles: Philoctetes
  34. Synge, J.M.: Riders to the Sea

Short Stories:

  1. Anderson, Sherwood: “I’m a Fool”
  2. Anonymous: “Aucassin and Nicolette”
  3. Balzac, Honoré de: “Passion in the Desert”
  4. Bunin, Ivan: “The Gentleman from San Francisco”
  5. Chekhov, Anton: “The Darling”
  6. Conrad, Joseph: “Youth”
  7. Crane, Stephen: “The Open Boat”
  8. Dinesen, Isak: “Sorrow-Acre”
  9. Dostoevsky, Fyodor: “White Nights”
  10. Fitzgerald, F. Scott: “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”
  11. Flaubert, Gustave: “The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller”
  12. Galsworthy, James: “The Apple Tree”
  13. Gogol, Nikolai: “The Overcoat”
  14. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: “Rappaccini’s Daughter”
  15. Hemingway, Ernest: “The Killers”
  16. James, Henry: “The Pupil”
  17. Kipling, Rudyard: “Mowgli’s Brothers”
  18. Lawrence, D.H.: “The Rocking-Horse Winner”
  19. Long, Haniel: “The Power Within Us”
  20. Maupassant, Guy de: “Two Friends”
  21. Poe, Edgar Allan: “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  22. Poe, Edgar Allan: “The Masque of the Red Death”
  23. Pushkin, Alexander: “The Queen of Spades”
  24. Scott, Walter: “Two Drovers”
  25. Singer, Isaac: “The Spinoza of Market Street”
  26. Tolstoy, Leo: “The Three Hermits”
  27. Tolstoy, Leo: “What Men Live By”
  28. Turgenev, Ivan: “First Love”
  29. Twain, Mark: “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg”
  30. Voltaire: “Micromégas”
  31. Wilde, Oscar: “The Happy Prince”

Novels, Novellas, and Collections of Stories:

  1. Apuleius, Lucius: The Golden Ass (excerpt)
  2. Butler, Samuel: Erewhon (excerpts)
  3. Cather, Willa:  A Lost Lady
  4. Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote
  5. Chaucer, Geoffrey: Canterbury Tales
  6. Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe
  7. Eliot, George: The Lifted Veil
  8. Hugo, Victor: Ninety-Three (excerpt)
  9. Thomas Mann: Mario and the Magician
  10. Melville, Herman: Billy Budd, Sailor
  11. Melville, Herman: Moby Dick
  12. Orwell, George: Animal Farm
  13. Stevenson, Robert L.: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  14. Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver’s Travels
  15. Tolstoy, Leo: The Death of Ivan Ilyitch
  16. Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  17. Voltaire: Candide

Literary and Critical Essays:

  1. Arnold, Matthew: “Sweetness and Light”
  2. Arnold, Matthew: “The Study of Poetry”
  3. Eliot, T.S.: “Dante”
  4. Eliot, T.S.: “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
  5. Hazlitt, William: “Of Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen”
  6. Hazlitt, William: “On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth”
  7. Hazlitt, William: “My First Acquaintance with Poets”
  8. Hazlitt, William: “On Swift”
  9. Hume, David: “Of the Standard of Taste”
  10. Johnson, Samuel: “Preface to Shakespeare
  11. Lamb, Charles: “My First Play”
  12. Lamb, Charles: “Dream Children, a Reverie”
  13. Lamb, Charles: “Sanity of True Genius”
  14. De Quincey, Thomas: “On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth
  15. De Quincey, Thomas: “Literature of Knowledge and Literature of Power”
  16. Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin: “What Is a Classic?”
  17. Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin: “Montaigne”
  18. Schiller, Friedrich: “On Simple and Sentimental Poetry”
  19. Schopenhauer, Arthur: “On Some Forms of Literature”
  20. Schopenhauer, Arthur: “On Style”
  21. Shelley, Percy: “A Defence of Poetry”
  22. Whitman, Walt: “Preface” to Leaves of Grass
  23. Woolf, Virginia: “How Should One Read a Book?”

Man and Society

Histories and Treatises:

  1. Adams, Henry: History of the United States in the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson (excerpts)
  2. Calhoun, John C.: A Disquisition on Government (excerpt)
  3. Dante: De Monarchia (excerpt)
  4. Herodotus: The Histories
  5. Jefferson, Thomas: Notes on the State of Virginia (excerpt)
  6. Machiavelli, Niccoló: The Prince
  7. Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich: Manifesto of the Communist Party
  8. Mill, John Stuart: Autobiography (excerpts)
  9. Mill, John Stuart: On Liberty
  10. Prescott, William: History of the Conquest of Mexico (excerpt)
  11. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: The Social Contract
  12. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  13. Smith, Adam: Wealth of Nations
  14. Tacitus: Life of Julius Gnaeus Agricola
  15. Tacitus: Annals
  16. Tacitus: Histories
  17. Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
  18. de Tocqueville, Alexis: Democracy in America
  19. Twain, Mark: Life on the Mississippi (excerpt)
  20. Veblen, Thorstein: Theory of the Leisure Class
  21. von Clausewitz, Karl: On War (excerpt)
  22. Xenophon: Anabasis (excerpt)
  23. Xenophon: Marginalia (excerpt)

Constitutional Documents:

  1. The English Bill of Rights
  2. The Virginia Declaration of Rights
  3. The American Declaration of Independence
  4. The Articles of Confederation
  5. The Constitution of the United States of America
  6. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
  7. The Charter of the United Nations
  8. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights


  1. Burke, Edmund: “Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol”
  2. Franklin, Benjamin: “A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America”
  3. Franklin, Benjamin: “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania”
  4. Jefferson, Thomas: “Biographical Sketches of Washington and Franklin”
  5. Lincoln, Abraham: “To Horace Greeley”
  6. Pliny the Younger: “The Eruption of Vesuvius”
  7. Voltaire: Philosophical Letters on the English (excerpts)
  8. Washington, George: “Circular Letter to the Governors upon the Disbanding of the Army”
  9. Washington, George: “Farewell Address”

Speeches and Lectures:

  1. Bury, J.B.: “Herodotus”
  2. Carlyle, Thomas: “The Hero as King”
  3. Faraday, Michael: “Observations on Mental Education”
  4. Guizot, Francois: “Civilization”
  5. Jefferson, Thomas: “First Inaugural Address”
  6. Lincoln, Abraham: “The Gettysburg Address”
  7. Lincoln, Abraham: “Second Inaugural Address”
  8. Lincoln, Abraham: “Last Public Address”
  9. Lincoln, Abraham: “Address at Cooper Institute”
  10. Lincoln, Abraham: “First Inaugural Address”
  11. Weber, Max: “Politics as a Vocation”
  12. Weber, Max: “Science as a Vocation”


  1. St. Jean de Crèvecoeur: “The Making of Americans” from Letters From an American Farmer
  2. Emerson, Ralph Waldo: “Thoreau”
  3. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: The Federalist
  4. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: “Sketch of Abraham Lincoln” from “Chiefly About War Matters”
  5. Hume, David: “Of the Study of History”
  6. Hume, David: “Of Refinement in the Arts”
  7. Hume, David: “Of the Balance of Trade”
  8. Hume, David: “Of Money”
  9. James, William: “The Energies of Men”
  10. James, William: “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings”
  11. Kant, Immanuel: “Perpetual Peace”
  12. La Bruyère, Jean de: Characters (excerpts)
  13. Lincoln, Abraham: “Meditation on the Divine Will”
  14. Lucian: “The Way to Write History”
  15. Macaulay, Thomas Babington: “Machiavelli”
  16. Malthus, Thomas: Essay on the Principle of Population (excerpts)
  17. Milton, John: Areopagitica
  18. Paine, Thomas: “A Call to Patriots” from The Crisis
  19. Plutarch: Of Bashfulness
  20. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: “A Lasting Peace through the Federation of Europe”
  21. Ruskin, John: “An Idealist’s Arraignment of the Age”
  22. Schopenhauer, Arthur:”On Education”
  23. Swift, Jonathan: “Resolutions When I Come to Be Old”
  24. Swift, Jonathan: “A Meditation Upon a Broomstick”
  25. Swift, Jonathan: “A Modest Proposal”
  26. Swift, Jonathan: “An Essay on Modern Education”
  27. Thoreau, Henry David: “A Plea for Captain John Brown”
  28. Thoreau, Henry David: “Civil Disobedience”
  29. Whitman, Walt: “The Death of Abraham Lincoln”
  30. Woolf, Virginia: “The Art of Biography”

Natural Sciences

Physical Sciences:

  1. Archimedes: “The Sand-Reckoner”
  2. Archimedes: “On Floating Bodies”
  3. Archimedes: “Method Treating of Mechanical Problems”
  4. Bacon, Francis: “The Sphinx”
  5. Bernard, Claude: “Experimental Considerations Common to Living Things and Inorganic Bodies”
  6. Boeke, Kees: Cosmic View
  7. Campanella, Tomasso: A Defense of Galileo (excerpt)
  8. Carson, Rachel: The Sea Around Us (excerpt)
  9. Curie, Eve: Madame Curie (excerpt)
  10. Darwin, Charles: Autobiography
  11. Darwin, Charles: On the Origin of Species
  12. Darwin, Charles: The Descent of Man
  13. Eddington, Sir Arthur: The Nature of the Physical World (excerpt)
  14. Einstein, Albert and Infeld, Leopold: The Evolution of Physics (excerpts)
  15. Eiseley, Loren: The Immense Journey (excerpt)
  16. Fabre, Jean-Henri: The Sacred Beetle and Others (excerpts)
  17. Faraday, Michael: “The Chemical History of a Candle”
  18. Galen: On the Natural  Faculties
  19. Galilei, Galileo: “The Starry Messenger”
  20. Galilei, Galileo: Dialogues Concerning the Two New Sciences
  21. Galton, Sir Francis: Hereditary Genius (excerpt)
  22. Gilbert, William: On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies
  23. Haldane, J.B.S.: “On Being the Right Size”
  24. Harvey, William: Anatomical Disquisition on the Circulation of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  25. Harvey, William: The Circulation of the Blood
  26. Hippocrates: The Hippocratic Oath
  27. Hippocrates: “On Ancient Medicine”
  28. Hippocrates: “On Airs, Waters, and Places”
  29. Hippocrates: “The Book of Prognostics”
  30. Hippocrates: “On the Sacred Disease”
  31. Hippocrates: “On Injuries of the Head”
  32. Hippocrates: “On Regimen in Acute Diseases”
  33. Hippocrates: “Instruments of Reduction”
  34. Huxley, Thomas: “On a Piece of Chalk”
  35. Huxlet, Thomas: “The Relation of Man to the Lower Animals”
  36. Jeans, Sir James: The  Universe Around Us (excerpt)
  37. Lavoisier, Antoine: Elements of Chemistry
  38. Lyell, Sir Charles: Principles of Geology (excerpt)
  39. Mendeleev, Dmitri: The
  40. Newton, Isaac: Optics
  41. Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich: Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes (excerpt)
  42. Schrödinger, Erwin: What Is Life?
  43. Tyndall, John: Faraday as a Discoverer (excerpts)
  44. Wöhler, Friedrich: “On the Artificial Production of Urea”


  1. Campbell, Norman Robert: What Is Science? (excerpts)
  2. Clifford, W.K.: “Postulates of the Science of Space”
  3. Dantzig, Tobias: Number–The Language of Science (excerpts)
  4. Descartes, René: The Geometry
  5. Euclid: Elements
  6. Euler, Leonhard: “The Seven Bridges of Königsberg”
  7. Forsyth, Andrew Russell: “Mathematics in Life and Thought”
  8. Hogben, Lancelot: Mathematics for the Million (excerpt)
  9. Kasner and Newman: Mathematics and the Imagination (excerpts)
  10. de Laplace, Pierre Simon: A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities (excerpt)
  11. Nicomachus: Introduction to Arithmetic
  12. Peirce, Charles Sanders: “The Red and the Black”
  13. Poincaré, Henri: Science and Method (excerpts)
  14. Poincaré, Henri: Science and Hypothesis (excerpts)
  15. Ptolemy: The Almagest
  16. Russell, Bertrand: Mysticism and Logic (excerpts)
  17. Russell, Bertrand: Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (excerpt)
  18. Whitehead, Alfred N.: An Introduction to Mathematics
  19. Whitehead, Alfred N.: A Treatise on Universal Algebra (excerpt)


  1. Freud, Sigmund: The Interpretation of Dreams
  2. Freud, Sigmund: “The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis”
  3. Freud, Sigmund: “On Narcissism”


Philosophy and Theology:

Treatises and Longer Works:

  1. Adams, Henry: Mont St. Michel and Chartres (excerpt)
  2. Aristotle: Politics
  3. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics
  4. Aristotle: Poetics
  5. Aristotle: Posterior Analytics
  6. Aristotle: Physics
  7. Aristotle: Metaphysics
  8. Aristotle: On Sense and the Sensible
  9. Aristotle: Categories
  10. Aristotle: Rhetoric
  11. Aristotle: On Interpretation
  12. Aristotle: A History of Animals
  13. Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations
  14. St. Augustine of Hippo: Confessions
  15. St. Augustine of Hippo: The City of God
  16. Bacon, Francis: The New Atlantis
  17. Bacon, Francis: The Advancement of Learning
  18. Bacon, Francis: Novum Organum
  19. Berkeley, George: The Principles of Human Knowledge
  20. Descartes, René: Discourse on Method
  21. Descartes, René: Rules for the Direction of the Mind
  22. Descartes, René: Meditations on First Philosophy and Replies
  23. Dewey, John: How We Think (excerpts)
  24. Hegel, G.W.F.: The Philosophy of Right
  25. Hume, David: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  26. James, William: Pragmatism
  27. Kant, Immanuel: The Critique of Pure Reason
  28. Locke, John: Second Treatise on Civil Government
  29. Locke, John: Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  30. Lucretius: The Way Things Are (AKA On the Nature of Things)
  31. Nietzsche, Friedrich: Beyond Good and Evil
  32. Plato: Republic
  33. Spinoza, Benedict: Ethics
  34. Voltaire: Philosophical Dictionary (excerpt)

Dialogues and Other Shorter Works:

  1. Cicero: On Friendship
  2. Cicero: On Old Age
  3. Epictetus: Enchiridion
  4. Kant, Immanuel: Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals
  5. Pascal, Blaise: Preface to the Treatise on the Vacuum
  6. Plato: Meno
  7. Plato: The Apology
  8. Plato: Crito
  9. Plato: Phaedo
  10. Plato: Symposium
  11. Plato: Protagoras
  12. Plato: Charmides
  13. Plato: Gorgias
  14. Plato: Euthydemus
  15. Plato: Cratylus
  16. Plato: Phaedrus
  17. Plato: Timaeus
  18. Plato: Parmenides
  19. Plato: Lysis
  20. Plutarch: On Contentment
  21. Plutarch: On Bashfulness

Essays, Lectures, and Letters:

  1. Bacon, Francis: Essays (excerpts)
  2. Bergson, Henri: An Introduction to Metaphysics
  3. Browne, Sir Thomas: Urn-Burial (excerpt)
  4. Clifford, William: “The Ethics of Belief”
  5. Emerson, Ralph Waldo: “Self-Reliance”
  6. Emerson, Ralph Waldo: “Montaigne”
  7. Emerson, Ralph Waldo: “Nature”
  8. Epicurus: “Letter to Menoeceus”
  9. Epicurus: “Letter to Herodotus”
  10. Erskine, John: “The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent”
  11. Hazlitt, William: “On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth”
  12. James, William: “The Will to Believe”
  13. James, William: “The Sentiment of Rationality”
  14. Locke, John: “A Letter Concerning Toleration”
  15. Mill, John Stuart: “On Nature”
  16. Pascal, Blaise: Provincial Letters
  17. Pater, Walter: “The Art of Life”
  18. Santayana, George: “Lucretius” (from Three Philosophical Poets)
  19. Santayana, George: “Goethe’s Faust” (from Three Philosophical Poets)

Works in Progress

  1. Michel de Montaigne: Essays
  2. Plutarch: Lives of the Ancient Greeks and Romans
  3. Epictetus: Discourses
  4. St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica
  5. Milton, John: Shorter Poems
  6. Dostoevsky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov
  7. Gibbon, Edward: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  8. Waddington, C.H.: The Nature of Life



8 Responses to What We’ve Read

  1. Chris Godat says:

    I just found your web page and plan on following your schedule one year behind.

    Now if you are going to be complete, you should also know (and you might already) that there is a third set of books in the series: The Great Ideas Today. From 1961 to 1998 a supplemental volume was published concerning events/themes in the world. Each volume has one reading in each of the four GBWW categories. http://www.thegreatideas.org/git.html

    • Dr. J says:

      Hi, Chris, and welcome to the reading plan! I’m aware of the “Great Ideas Today” series but only have access to a handful of the volumes. If I can accumulate a set of them between now and the end of Year Seven, maybe we can make a go of reading those as well.

  2. Hong says:

    Hello Dr. J

    So glad to find your web. I am planing to read these two sets of books. I will see if I can follow your schedules although I might take slow steps. Thank you so much for your sharing.

    Happy New Year!


  3. Ginger says:

    I’ve had a great time working on this project. It seems I won’t have internet for some time to come. Do you have the whole plan mapped out or do you do it bit by bit. If it is mapped out, could you send it along. I can use books downloaded on my I-pad and kindle.

  4. Greg Shubert says:

    This is a helpful list, and a great blog. Looks like the title “The Genesis of a Law of Nature” is missing from the entry in the natural sciences by Mendeleev.

  5. Pingback: Readings Page Updated | Through the Great Books

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