In 1909, then Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot compiled and published his version of the Western canon — 51 volumes of essays, poetry and prose. In 1985, my parents purchased a set, and it has slept peacefully in my father’s study ever since. Around two months ago, I finally worked my way through the barricade of boxes and bric-a-brac that have accumulated in front of the shelves over the years. The books were a lovely sight to behold. Mr Eliot, challenge accepted.
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
- ARISTOPHANES: Clouds
- 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
In 2003, the BBC carried out a widespread survey of the British public to ascertain the nation’s best-loved books. They published a list of 200 novels the following year. William Shakespeare’s works were not included in the survey.
Note that some entries are consist of entire series of works, while other entries list parts of a series separately.
1901. Sully Prudhomme
1902. Theodor Mommsen
1903. Bjornstjerne Bjornson
1904. a. Frederic Mistral
1904. b. Jose Echegaray
1905. Henryk Sienkiewicz
1906. Giosue Carducci
1907. Rudyard Kipling
1908. Rudolf Christoph Eucken
1909. Selma Lagerlof
1910. Paul von Heyse