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HOW TO READ A BOOK

A Guide to Reading the Great Books


by Mortimer J. Adler

 
   
   
   
 

Authors and Titles in

 GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLD

ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY WITHIN CATEGORIES

Imaginative Literature

HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE

NATURAL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS

PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY

 
   
 

  Imaginative Literature

HOMER,
The Iliad, The Odyssey

AESCHYLUS,
Complete Plays

SOPHOCLES,
Complete Plays

EURIPIDES,
Complete Plays

ARISTOPHANES,
Complete Plays

VIRGIL,
The Eclogues,
The Georgics,
The Aeneid

DANTE,
The Divine Comedy

CHAUCER,
Troilus and Criseyde,
The Canterbury Tales

RABELAIS,
Gargantua and Pantagruel

SHAKESPEARE,
Complete Plays,
Sonnets

CERVANTES,
Don Quixote

MILTON,
English Minor Poems,
Paradise Lost,
Samson Agonistes,
Areopagitica

SWIFT,
Gulliver's Travels

FIELDING,
Tom Jones

STERNE,
Tristram Shandy

GOETHE,
Faust

MELVILLE,
Moby Dick

TOLSTOY,
War and Peace

DOSTOEVSKY,
The Brothers Karamazov

 
   
 

 HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE

HERODOTUS,
The History

THUCYDIDES,
The History of the Peloponnesian War

PLUTARCH,
Complete Lives

TACITUS,
The Annals,
The Histories

MACHIAVELLI,
The Prince

MONTAIGNE,
Complete Essays

HOBBES,
Leviathan

MONTESQUIEU,
The Spirit of Laws

ROUSSEAU,
A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality,
A Discourse on Political Economy,
The Social Contract

SMITH,
The Wealth of Nations

GIBBON,
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Declaration of Independence,
Articles of Confederation,
The Constitution of the United States of America

BOSWELL,
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.

HAMILTON, MADISON, and JAY,
The Federalist

MILL,
On Liberty,
Representative Government,
Utilitarianism

MARX,
Capital

MARX and ENGELS,
Manifesto of the Communist Party

 
   
 

 NATURAL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS

HIPPOCRATES,
Complete Works

EUCLID,
Elements

ARCHIMEDES,
Complete Writings

APOLLONIUS OF PERGA,
On Conic Sections

NICOMACHUS,  
Introduction to Arithmetic

GALEN,
On the Natural Faculties

PTOLEMY,
The Almagest

COPERNICUS,
On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres

GILBERT,
On the Loadstone

GALILEO,
Two New Sciences

KEPLER,
Epitome of Copernican Astronomy,
The Harmonies of the World

HARVEY,
Medical Writings

HUYGENS,
Treatise on Light

NEWTON,
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Optics

LAVOISIER,
Elements of Chemistry

FOURIER,
Analytical Theory of Heat

FARADAY,
Experimental Researches in Electricity

DARWIN,
The Origin of Species,
The Descent of Man

JAMES,
The Principles of Psychology

FREUD, Major Works

 
   
 

 PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY

PLATO,
Complete Dialogues,
The Seventh Letter

ARISTOTLE,
Complete Works

LUCRETIUS,
On the Nature of Things

EPICTETUS,
The Discourses

MARCUS AURELIUS,
The Meditations

PLOTINUS,
The Six Enneads

ST. AUGUSTINE,
The Confessions,
The City of God,
On Christian Doctrine

AQUINAS,
Summa Theologica

BACON,
Advancement of Learning,
Novum Organum,
New Atlantis

DESCARTES,
Philosophical Works,
The Geometry

PASCAL,
The Provincial Letters, Pensees,
Scientific Works

SPINOZA,
Ethics

LOCK.E,
A Letter Concerning Toleration,
Concerning Civil Government,
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

BERKELEY,
The Principles of Human Knowledge

HUME,
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

KANT,
Major Philosophical Works

HEGEL,
The Philosophy of Right,
The Philosophy of History

 

 
   
 

Authors and Titles in

 GATEWAY TO THE GREAT BOOKS

ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY WITHIN CATEGORIES

IMAGINATIVE LITERATURE

CRITICAL ESSAYS

MAN AND SOCIETY

NATURAL SCIENCE

MATHEMATICS

PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS

 
   
 

 IMAGINATIVE LITERATURE

SHERWOOD ANDERSON,
I'm a Fool

ANONYMOUS,
Aucassin and Nicolette

LUCIUS APULEIUS,
"Cupid and Psyche" (from The Golden Ass)

HONORE DE BALZAC,
A Passion in the Desert

IVAN BUNIN,
The Gentleman from San Francisco

SAMUEL BUTLER,
"Customs and Opinions of the Erewhonians" (from Erewhon)

ANTON CHEKHOV,
The Darling,
The Cherry Orchard

JOSEPH CONRAD,
Youth

STEPHEN CRANE,
The Open Boat

DANIEL DEFOE,
Robinson Crusoe

CHARLES DICKENS,
"A Full and Faithful Report of the Memorable Trial of Bardell Against Pickwick" (from The Pickwick Papers)

ISAK DINESEN,
Sorrow-Acre

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY,
White Nights

GEORGE ELIOT,
The Lifted Veil

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD,
The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

GUSTAVE FLAUBERT,
The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller

JOHN GALSWORTHY,
The Apple-Tree

NIKOLAI GOGOL,
The Overcoat

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE,
Rappaccini's Daughter

ERNEST HEMINGWAY,
The Killers

VICTOR HUGO,
"The Battle with the Cannon" (from Ninety-Three)

HENRIK IBSEN,.
An Enemy of the People

HENRY JAMES,
The Pupil

RUDYARD KIPLING,
Mowgli's Brothers

D. H. LAWRENCE,
The Rocking-Horse Winner

THOMAS MANN,
Mario and the Magician

GUY DE MAUPASSANT,
Two Friends

HERMAN MELVILLE,
Billy Budd

MOLIERE,
The Misanthrope,
The Doctor in Spite of Himself

EUGENE O'NEILL,
The Emperor Jones

EDGAR ALLAN POE,
The Tell-Tale Heart,
The Masque of the Red Death

ALEXANDER PUSHKIN,
The Queen of Spades

SIR WALTER SCOTT,
The Two Drovers

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW,
The Man of Destiny

RICHARD SHERIDAN,
The School for Scandal

ISAAC SINGER,
The Spinoza of Market Street

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON,
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

JOHN M. SYNGE,
Riders to the Sea

LEO TOLSTOY,
The Death of Ivan Ilyitch,
The Three Hermits,
What Men Live By

IVAN TURGENEV,
First Love

MARK TWAIN,
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

VOLTAIRE,
Micromegas

OSCAR WILDE,
The Happy Prince

 
   
 

 CRITICAL ESSAYS

MATTHEW ARNOLD,
The Study of Poetry,
Sweetness and Light

SIR FRANCIS BACON,
Of Beauty,
Of Discourse,
Of Studies

THOMAS DE QUINCEY,
Literature of Knowledge and Literature of Power,
On the Knocking at the Gate in "Macbeth"

THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT,
Dante,
Tradition and the Individual Talent

WILLIAM HAZLITT,
My First Acquaintance with Poets,

On Swift,
Of Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen

DAVID HUME,
Of the Standard of Taste

SAMUEL JOHNSON,
Preface to Shakespeare

CHARLES LAMB,
My First Play;
Dream Children, a Reverie;
Sanity of True Genius

SAINTE-BEUVE,
What Is a Classic?, Montaigne

FRIEDRICH SCHILLER,
On Simple and Sentimental Poetry

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER,
On Style,
On Some Forms of Literature,
On the Comparative Place of Interest and Beauty in Works of Art

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY,
A Defence of Poetry

WALT WHITMAN,
Preface to Leaves of Grass

VIRGINIA WOOLF,
How Should One Read a Book?

 
   
 

 MAN AND SOCIETY

HENRY ADAMS,
"The United States in 1800" (from History of the United States of America)

SIR FRANCIS BACON,
Of Youth and Age,
Of Parents and Children,
Of Marriage and Single Life,
Of Great Place,
Of Seditions and Troubles,
Of Custom and Education,
Of Followers and Friends,
Of Usury,
Of Riches

EDMUND BURKE,
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol

JOHN BAGNELL BURY,
Herodotus

JOHN C. CALHOUN,
"The Concurrent Majority" (from A Disquisition on Government)

THOMAS CARLYLE,
The Hero as King

KARL VON CLAUSEWITZ,
"What Is War?" (from On War)

JEAN DE CREVECOEUR,
"The Making of Americans" (from Letters from an American Farmer)

DANTE ALIGHIERI,
"On World Government" (from De Monarchia)

RALPH WALDO EMERSON,
Thoreau

MICHAEL FARADAY,
Observations on Mental Education

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
 Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge Among the British Plantations in America,
Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania

GREAT DOCUMENTS,
The English Bill of Rights,
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen,
The Virginia Declaration of Rights,
The Declaration of Independence,
Charter of the United Nations,
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

FRANCOIS GUIZOT,
"Civilization" (from History of Civilization in Europe)

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE,
Sketch of Abraham Lincoln

DAVID HUME,
Of Refinement in the Arts,
Of Money,
Of the Balance of Trade,
Of Taxes,
Of the Study of  History

WILLIAM JAMES,
On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings,
The Energies of Men, Great Men and Their Environment

THOMAS JEFFERSON,
"The Virginia Constitution" (from Notes on Virginia),
 First Inaugural Address,
Biographical Sketches

IMMANUEL KANT,
Perpetual Peace

LA BRUYERE,
Characters

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
Address at Cooper Institute,
First "Inaugural Address,
Letter to Horace Greeley,
Meditation on the Divine Will,
The Gettysburg Address,
Second Inaugural Address,
Last Public Address

HANIEL LONG,
The P,ower Within Us

LUCIAN,
The Way to Write History

THRMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY,
Machiavelli

THOMAS ROBERT MALTHUS,
"The Principle of Population" (from Population: The First Essay)

JOHN STUART MILL,
"Childhood and Youth" (from Autobiography)

THOMAS PAINE,
"A Call to Patriots—December 23, 1776" (from The Crisis)

PLINY THE YOUNGER,
"The Eruption of Vesuvius" (from Letters)

PLUTARCH,
Of Bashfulness

WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT,
"The Land of Montezuma" (from The Conquest of Mexico)

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU,
A Lasting Peace Through the Federation of Europe

JOHN RUSKIN,
An Idealist's Arraignment of the Age

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER,
On Education

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON,
The Lantern-Bearers

JONATHAN SWIFT,
Resolutions When I Come to Be Old,
An Essay on Modern Education,
A Meditation Upon a Broomstick,
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country

CORNELIUS TACITUS,
The Life of Gnaeus Julius Ag-ricola

HENRY DAVID THOREAU,
Civil Disobedience,
A Plea for Captain John Brown

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE,
"Observations on American Life and Government" (from Democracy in America)

MARK TWAIN,
"Learning the River" (from Life on the Mississippi)

VOLTAIRE,
"English Men and Ideas" (from Letters on the English)

GEORGE WASHINGTON,
Circular Letter to the Governors of All the States on Disbanding the Army,
The Farewell Address

WALT WHITMAN,
Death of Abraham Lincoln

VIRGINIA WOOLF,
The Art of Biography

XENOPHON,
"The March to the Sea" (from The Persian Expedition),
"The Character of Socrates" (from Memorabilia)

 
   
 

 NATURAL SCIENCE

SIR FRANCIS BACON,
The Sphinx

CLAUDE BERNARD,
Experimental Considerations Common to Living Things and Inorganic Bodies

KEES BOEK.E,
Cosmic View

TOMMASO CAMPANELLA,
"Arguments For and Against Galileo" (from The Defense of Galileo)

RACHEL L. CARSON,
"The Sunless Sea" (from The Sea Around Us)

EVE CURIE,
The Discovery of Radium

CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN,
Autobiography

SIR ARTHUR EDDINGTON,
The Running-Down of the Universe

ALBERT EINSTEIN and LEOPOLD INFELD,
"The Rise and Decline of Classical Physics" (from The Evolution of Physics)

LOREN EISELEY,
"On Time" (from The Immense Journey)

JEAN HENRI FABRE,
A Laboratory of the Open Fields, The Sacred Beetle

MICHAEL FARADAY,
The Chemical History of a Candle

GALILEO GALILEI,
The Starry Messenger

SIR FRANCIS GALTON,
"The Classification of Human Ability" (from Hereditary Genius')

B. S. HALDANE,
On Being the Right Size

H. L. F. VON HELMHOLTZ,
On the Conservation of Force

THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY,
On the Relations of Man to the Lower Animals, On a Piece of Chalk

SIR JAMES JEANS,
Beginnings and Endings

SIR CHARLES LYELL,
"Geological Evolution" (from The Principles of Geology)

DMITRI MENDELEEV,
"The Genesis of a Law of Nature" (from The Periodic Law of the Chemical Elements)

IVAN PETROVICH PAVLOV,
Scientific Study of the So-called Psychical Processes in the Higher Animals

JOHN TYNDALL,
"Michael Faraday" (from Faraday as a Discoverer)

FRIED RICH WOHLER,
On the Artificial Production of Urea

 
   
 

 MATHEMATICS

NORMAN ROBERT CAMPBELL,
Measurement, Numerical Laws and the Use of Mathematics in Science

WILLIAM KINGDON CLIFFORD, The Postulates of the Science of Space

TOBIAS DANTZIG,
Fingerprints,
The Empty Column

LEONHARD EULER,
The Seven Bridges of Konigsberg

ANDREW RUSSELL FORSYTH,
Mathematics, in Life and Thought

LANCELOT HOGBEN,
Mathematics, the Mirror of Civilization

EDWARD KASNER and JAMES R. NEWMAN,
New Names for Old, Beyond the Googol

PIERRE SIMON DE LAPLACE,
"Probability" (from A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities)

CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE,
The Red and the Black

HENRI POINCARE,
Space,
Mathematical Creation,
Chance

BERTRAND RUSSELL,
The Study of Mathematics,
Mathematics and the Metaphysicians,
Definition of Number

ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD,
"On Mathematical Method" (from An Introduction to Mathematics),
On the Nature of a Calculus

 
   
 

 PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS

HENRY ADAMS,
St. Thomas Aquinas

SIR FRANCIS BACON,
Of Truth, Of Death,
Of Adversity,
Of Love,
Of Friendship,
Of Anger

SIR THOMAS BROWNE,
"Immortality" (from Urn-Burial)

CICERO,
On Friendship,
On Old Age

WILLIAM KINGDON CLIFFORD,
The Ethics of Belief

JOHN DEWEY,
"The Process of Thought" (from How We Think

RALPH WALDO EMERSON,
Nature,
Self-Reliance,
Montaigne;
or, the Skeptic

EPICTETUS,
The Enchiridion

EPICURUS,
Letter to Herodotus,
Letter to Menoeceus

JOHN ERSKINE,
The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent

WILLIAM HAZLITT,
On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth

WILLIAM JAMES,
The Will to Believe,
The Sentiment of Rationality

JOHN STUART MILL,
Nature

WALTER HORATIO PATER,
"The Art of Life" (from The Renaissance)

PLUTARCH,
Contentment

GEORGE SANTAYANA,
 Lucretius,
Goethe's Faust

VOLTAIRE,
"The Philosophy of Common Sense" (from Philosophical Dictionary)

 

 
   
 

Table of Contents ] Author's Preface ] PART I. ] PART II. ] PART III. ] [ Appendix ] Index ] About the Author... ] Mindmap (How2R) ]


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