How to Read the
Great Books of the Western World

The key to this collection, published by Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., is the Syntopicon, which enables the reader to trace the development of selected ideas from author to author over the centuries. However, not all of these works are equally important to a complete education. For this purpose, it is recommended that those works marked by a > be read in order, preferably before beginning college. Those works marked by a < are mainly of historical interest, and not the best ways to first approach their subjects, so they might be skipped except when the Syntopicon is used to trace an idea.

At the end is a list of works by the same authors recommended either as additional reading, marked by a +, or as recommended over the work(s) selected for inclusion in this set, marked by a ^.

1 Syntopicon I
2 Syntopicon II
3 Homer
> The Illiad
> The Odyssey
4 Aeschylus
> Complete Plays
4 Sophocles
> Complete Plays
4 Euripides
> Complete Plays
4 Aristophanes
> Complete Plays
5 Herodotus
> The History
5 Thucydides
> The History of the Peloponessian War
6 Plato
> Complete Dialogues
7 Aristotle I
8 Aristotle II
> Complete Works
9 Hippocrates
< Hippocratic Writings
9 Galen
< On the Natural Faculties
10 Euclid
> Elements
10 Archimedes
< Works
10 Nicomachus
< Introduction to Arithmetic
11 Lucretius
> The Way Things Are
11 Epictetus
> Discourses
11 Marcus Aurelius
> Meditations
11 Plotinius
> The Six Enneads
12 Virgil
> Eclogues and Georgics
> The Aeneid
13 Plutarch
> Lives
14 Tacitus
> The Annals
> The Histories
15 Ptolemy
< The Almagest
15 Copernicus, Nicolaus
< On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
15 Kepler, Johannes
< Epitome of Copernican Astronomy
< The Harmonies of the World
16 Augustine
< The Confessions
< The City of God
< On Christian Doctrine
17 Aquinas, Thomas I
18 Aquinas, Thomas II
< Summa Theologica
19 Dante Alighieri
> The Devine Comedy
19 Chaucer, Goeffrey
> Troilus and Criseyde
> The Canterbury Tales
20 Calvin, John
< Institutes for the Christian Religion
21 Machiavelli, Niccolò
> The Prince
21 Hobbes, Thomas
> Leviathan
22 Rabelais, François
> Gargantua and Pantagruel
23 Erasmus, Desiderius
> Praise of Folly
23 Montaigne, Michel de
> Essays
24 Shakespeare, William I
25 Shakespeare, William II
> Complete Works
26 Gilbert, William
< On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies
26 Galileo Galilei
< Concerning Two New Sciences
26 Harvey, William
< On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
< On the Circulation of the Blood
< On the Generation of Animals
27 Cervantes, Miguel de
> Don Quixote
28 Bacon, Francis
> Advancement of Learning
> Novum Organum
> New Atlantis
28 Descartes, René
> Rules for the Direction of the Mind
> Discourse on the Method
> Meditations on First Philosophy
> Objections against the Meditations and Replies
< The Geometry
28 Spinoza, Baruch
> Ethics
29 Milton, John
< English Minor Poems
> Paradise Lost
> Samson Agonistes
< Arcopagitica
30 Pascal, Blaise
> The Provincial Letters
> Pensées
< Scientific Treatises
31 Moliére (Jean Baptiste Poquelin)
> The School for Wives
< Critique of the School for Wives
> Tartuffe
> Don Juan
> The Miser
> The Would-Be Gentleman
> The Imaginary Invalid
31 Racine, Jean Baptiste
> Berenice
> Phaedra
32 Newton, Isaac
< Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
< Optics
32 Huygens, Christiaan
< Treatise on Light
33 Locke, John
> Concerning Toleration
> Concerning Civil Government
> Concerning Human Understanding
33 Berkeley, George
> The Principles of Human Knowledge
33 Hume, David
> An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
34 Swift, Jonathan
> Gulliver's Travels
34 Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)
> Candide
34 Diderot, Denis
> Rameau's Nephew
35 Montesquieu (Charles de Secondat)
> The Spirit of Laws
35 Rousseau, Jean Jacques
> On the Origin of Inequality
> On Political Economy
> The Social Contract
36 Smith, Adam
> The Wealth of Nations
37 Gibbon, Edward I
38 Gibbon, Edward II
> The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
39 Kant, Immanuel
> The Critique of Pure Reason
> The Critique of Practical Reason
> The Critique of Judgement
40 American State Papers
40 The Federalist
40 Mill, John Stuart
> On Liberty
> Representative Government
> Utilitarianism
41 Boswell, James
> Life of Samuel Johnson
42 Lavoisier, Antoine
< Elements of Chemistry
42 Faraday, Michael
< Researches in Electricity
43 Hegel, Georg
> The Philosophy of Right
> The Philosophy of History
43 Kierkegaard, Sören
> Fear and Trembling
43 Nietzsche, Friedrich
> Beyond Good and Evil
44 Toqueville, Alexis de
> Democracy in America
45 Goethe, Johann
> Faust (parts I & II)
45 Balzac, Honoré de
> Cousin Bette
46 Austen, Jane
> Emma
46 Eliot, George (Mary Ann Evans)
> Middlemarch
47 Dickens, Charles
> Little Dorrit
48 Melville, Herman
> Moby Dick
48 Twain, Mark (S.L. Clemens)
> Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
49 Darwin, Charles
> The Origin of Species
> The Descent of Man
50 Marx, Karl
< Capital
< Manifesto of the Communist Party (with Friedrich Engels)
51 Tolstoy, Leo
> War and Peace
52 Dostoevsky, Fyodor
> The Brothers Karamasov
52 Ibsen, Henrik
> A Doll's House
> The Wild Duck
> Hedda Gabler
> The Master Builder
53 James, William
> The Principles of Psychology
54 Freud, Sigmund
< The Major Works
55 James, William
> Pragmatism
55 Bergson, Henri
> An Introduction to Metaphysics
55 Dewey, John
> Experience and Education
55 Whitehead, Alfred North
> Science and the Modern World
55 Russell, Bertrand
> The Problems of Philosophy
55 Heidegger, Martin
> What is Metaphysics?
55 Wittgenstein, Ludwig
> Philosophical Investigations
55 Barth, Karl
> The Word of God and the Word of Man
56 Poincaré, Henri
> Science and Hypothesis
56 Planck, Max
> Scientific Autobiography
56 Whitehead, Alfred North
> Introduction to Mathematics
56 Einstein, Albert
> Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
56 Eddington, Arthur
> The Expanding Universe
56 Bohr, Niels
> Atomic Theory: The Description of Nature
> Bohr-Einstein Dialogues
56 Hardy, G.H. (Godfrey Harold)
> A Mathematician's Apology
56 Heisenberg, Werner
> Physics and Philosophy
56 Schrödinger, Erwin
> What is Life?
56 Dobzhansky, Theodosius
> Genetics and the Origin of Species
56 Waddington, Conrad Hal
> The Nature of Life
57 Veblen, Thorstein
> The Theory of the Leisure Class
57 Tawney, Richard Henry
> The Acquisitive Society
57 Keynes, John Maynard
> General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
58 Frazer, James George
> The Golden Bough (selections)
58 Weber, Max
> Essays in Sociology (selections)
58 Huizinga, Johan
> The Waning of the Middle Ages
58 Levi-Strauss, Claude
> Structural Anthropology (selections)
59 James, Henry
> The Beast in the Jungle
59 Shaw, Bernard
> St. Joan
59 Conrad, Joseph
> The Heart of Darkness
59 Chekhov, Anton
> Uncle Vanya
59 Pirandello, Luigi
> Six Characters in Search of an Author
59 Proust, Marcel
> Swann in Love
59 Cather, Willa
> A Lost Lady
59 Mann, Thomas
> Death in Venice
59 Joyce, James
> Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
60 Woolf, Virginia
> To the Lighthouse
60 Kafka, Franz
> The Metamorphosis
60 Lawrence, D.H. (David Herbert)
> The Prussian Officer
60 Eliot, T.S. (Thomas Stearns)
> The Waste Land
60 O'Neill, Eugene
> Mourning Becomes Electra
60 Fitzgerald, F. Scott
> The Great Gatsby
60 Faulkner, William
> A Rose for Emily
60 Brecht, Bertolt
> Mother Courage and her Children
60 Hemingway, Ernest
> The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
60 Orwell, George
> Animal Farm
60 Beckett, Samuel
> Waiting for Godot

Additional Works

Kant, Immanuel
+ Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, tr. Lewis White Beck, Indianapolis: Bobbs- Merrill, 1969.
Nietzsche, Friedrich
+ Ecce Homo and the Birth of Tragedy, tr. Clifton Fadiman, New York: Modern Library, 1927.
+ Will to Power, tr. Walter Kaufmann & R.J. Hollingdale, New York: Random House, 1967.
+ Thus Spake Zarathustra, tr. Thomas Cannon, New York: Modern Library, 1905.
Dickens, Charles
+ The Adventures of Oliver Twist, New York: Oxford U. Press, 1987.
+ David Copperfield, New York: Oxford U. Press, 1981.
+ A Tale of Two Cities, New York: Oxford U. Press, 1987.
Tolstoy, Leo
+ Anna Karenina, New York: W.W. Norton, 1970.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor
+ Crime and Punishment, New York: W.W. Norton, 1975.
James, William
+ William James: The Essential Writings, ed Bruce W. Wilshire, Albany: SUNY Press, 1984, esp. "The Moral Equivalent of War", p.349.
Dewey, John
+ Philosophy and Civilization, Gloucester: Peter Smith, 1968.
+ Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1938.
Russell, Bertrand
^ The Will to Doubt, New York: Philosophical Library, 1958.
^ Why I am not a Christian ..., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957.
James, Henry
^ Novels, 1871-1880 (Watch and Ward, Roderick Hudson, The American, The Europeans), 1983;
^ Novels, 1881-1886 (Washington Square, The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians), 1985;
^ Novels, 1886-1890 (The Princess Casamassima, The Reverberator, The Tragic Muse), 1989; New York: Viking.
^ Theory of Fiction, Lincoln: U. Nebraska Press, 1972.
^ The Art of the Novel, New York: Scribner, 1962.
Shaw, Bernard
+ Seven Plays (Mrs. Warren's Profession, Arms and the Man, Candida, The Devil's Disciple, Caesar and Cleopatra, Man and Superman, Saint Joan), New York: Dodd, Mead, 1967.
Chekhov, Anton
^ The Best Known Works of Anton Chekhov, Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1972.
Proust, Marcel
^ Remembrance of Things Past, New York: Random House, 1981.
Joyce, James
^ Ulysses, New York: Random House, 1986.
^ Finnegan's Wake, New York: Viking, 1974.
Lawrence, D.H.
^ Sons and Lovers, New York: Seltzer, 1913.
^ Women in Love, New York: Viking, 1968.
^ Complete Plays, New York: Viking, 1966.
Eliot, T.S.
^ Complete Poems and Plays, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962.
O'Neill, Eugene
^ Complete Plays, New York: Viking, 1988.
Faulkner, William
^ As I Lay Dying, New York: Modern Library, 1967.
^ The Sound and the Fury, New York: Random House, 1984.
Hemingway, Ernest
^ The Sun Also Rises, New York: Scribner, 1954.
^ A Farewell to Arms, New York: Modern Library, 1932.
^ For Whom the Bell Tolls, New York: Scribner, 1940.
^ The Old Man and the Sea, New York: Scribner, 1952.
^ Hemingway's African Stories, New York: Scribner, 1969.
^ Islands in the Stream, New York: Scribner, 1970.
Orwell, George
^ 1984, San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1984.

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