St John’s College Undergraduate Reading List

2008 edition.  This is probably the ultimate, as far as checklists go.


  • HOMER: Iliad, Odyssey
  • AESCHYLUS: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides, Prometheus Bound
  • SOPHOCLES: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, Philoctetes, Ajax
  • THUCYDIDES: Peloponnesian War
  • EURIPIDES: Hippolytus, Bacchae
  • HERODOTUS: Histories
  • PLATO: Meno, Gorgias, Republic, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Timaeus, Phaedrus
  • ARISTOTLE: Poetics, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, On Generation and Corruption, Politics, Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals
  • EUCLID: Elements
  • LUCRETIUS: On the Nature of Things
  • PLUTARCH: Lycurgus, Solon
  • NICOMACHUS: Arithmetic
  • LAVOISIER: Elements of Chemistry
  • HARVEY: Motion of the Heart and Blood
  • Essays by: Archimedes, Fahrenheit, Avogadro, Dalton, Cannizzaro, Virchow, Mariotte, Driesch, Gay-Lussac, Spemann, Stears, J.J. Thompson, Mendeleyev, Berthollet, J.L. Proust


  • THE BIBLE: New Testament
  • ARISTOTLE: De Anima, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Categories
  • APOLLONIUS: Conics
  • VIRGIL: Aeneid
  • PLUTARCH: “Caesar,” “Cato the Younger,” “Antony,” “Brutus”
  • EPICTETUS: Discourses, Manual
  • TACITUS: Annals
  • PTOLEMY: Almagest
  • PLOTINUS: The Enneads
  • AUGUSTINE: Confessions
  • MAIMONIDES: Guide for the Perplexed
  • ST. ANSELM: Proslogium
  • AQUINAS: Summa Theologica
  • DANTE: Divine Comedy
  • CHAUCER: Canterbury Tales
  • MACHIAVELLI: The Prince, Discourses
  • KEPLER: Epitome IV
  • RABELAIS: Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • PALESTRINA: Missa Papae Marcelli
  • MONTAIGNE: Essays
  • VIETE: Introduction to the Analytical Art
  • BACON: Novum Organum
  • SHAKESPEARE: Richard II, Henry IV, The Tempest, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, and Sonnets
  • POEMS BY: Marvell, Donne, and other 16th- and 17th-century poets
  • DESCARTES: Geometry, Discourse on Method
  • PASCAL: Generation of Conic Sections
  • BACH: St. Matthew Passion, Inventions
  • HAYDN: Quartets
  • MOZART: Operas
  • BEETHOVEN: Third Symphony
  • SCHUBERT: Songs
  • STRAVINSKY: Symphony of Psalms



  • CERVANTES: Don Quixote
  • GALILEO: Two New Sciences
  • HOBBES: Leviathan
  • DESCARTES: Meditations, Rules for the Direction of the Mind
  • MILTON: Paradise Lost
  • LA FONTAINE: Fables
  • PASCAL: Pensees
  • HUYGENS: Treatise on Light, On the Movement of Bodies by Impact
  • ELIOT: Middlemarch
  • SPINOZA: Theological-Political Treatise
  • LOCKE: Second Treatise of Government
  • RACINE: Phaedre
  • NEWTON: Principia Mathematica
  • KEPLER: Epitome IV
  • LEIBNIZ: Monadology, Discourse on Metaphysics, Essay On Dynamics, Philosophical Essays, Principles of Nature and Grace
  • SWIFT: Gulliver’s Travels
  • HUME: Treatise of Human Nature
  • ROUSSEAU: Social Contract, The Origin of Inequality
  • MOLIERE: Le Misanthrope
  • ADAM SMITH: Wealth of Nations
  • KANT: Critique of Pure Reason, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • MOZART: Don Giovanni
  • JANE AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice
  • DEDEKIND: “Essay on the Theory of Numbers”
  • “Articles of Confederation,” “Declaration of Independence,” “Constitution of the United States of America”
  • TWAIN: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • WORDSWORTH: The Two Part Prelude of 1799
  • Essays by:  Young, Taylor, Euler, D. Bernoulli, Orsted, Ampere, Faraday, Maxwell



  • Supreme Court opinions
  • GOETHE: Faust
  • DARWIN: Origin of Species
  • HEGEL: Phenomenology of Mind, “Logic” (from the Encyclopedia)
  • LOBACHEVSKY: Theory of Parallels
  • TOCQUEVILLE: Democracy in America
  • LINCOLN: Selected Speeches
  • FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Selected Speeches
  • KIERKEGAARD: Philosophical Fragments, Fear and Trembling
  • WAGNER: Tristan and Isolde
  • MARX: Capital, Political and Economic Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology
  • DOSTOEVSKI: Brothers Karamazov
  • TOLSTOY: War and Peace
  • MELVILLE: Benito Cereno
  • O’CONNOR: Selected Stories
  • WILLIAM JAMES; Psychology, Briefer Course
  • NIETZSCHE: Beyond Good and Evil
  • FREUD: Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
  • BOOKER T. WASHINGTON: Selected Writings
  • DUBOIS: The Souls of Black Folk
  • HUSSERL: Crisis of the European Sciences
  • HEIDEGGER: Basic Writings
  • EINSTEIN: Selected papers
  • CONRAD: Heart of Darkness
  • FAULKNER: Go Down Moses
  • FLAUBERT: Un Coeur Simple
  • WOOLF: Mrs. Dalloway
  • Poems by: Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Valery, Rimbaud
  • Essays by: Faraday, J.J. Thomson, Millikan, Minkowski, Rutherford, Davisson, Schrodinger, Bohr, Maxwell, de Broglie, Heisenberg, Mendel, Boveri, Sutton, Morgan, Beadle & Tatum, Sussman, Watson & Crick, Jacob & Monod, Hardy

2 responses

  1. I can’t resist a list! And I am fascinated by St. John’s Great Books Curriculum. I am going to pin this to peruse later.

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