10-Year Plan for Reading “Great Books of the Western World”

Year 1

  1. Plato – Apology
  2. Plato – Crito
  3. Aristophanes – Clouds
  4. Aristophanes – Lysistrata
  5. Plato – Republic
  6. Aristotle – Ethics (Book 1)
  7. Aristotle – Politics (Book 1)
  8. Plutarch – The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
  9. New Testament – The Gospel According to Saint Matthew
  10. New Testament – The Acts of the Apostles
  11. St. Augustine – Confessions (Book 1-8)
  12. Machiavelli – The Prince
  13. Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel
    1. Book 1
    2. Book 2
  14. Montaigne – Essays
  15. Shakespeare – Hamlet
  16. Locke – Concerning Civil Government (2nd Essay)
  17. Rousseau – The Social Contract
  18. Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  19. The Declaration of Independence
  20. The Constitution of the United States
  21. The Federalist
  22. Smith – The Wealth of Nations (Introduction – Book 1, Chapter 9)
  23. Marx & Engels – Manifesto of the Communist Party

Year 2

  1. Homer – The Iliad
  2. Aeschylus – Agamemnon
  3. Aeschylus – Choephoroe
  4. Aeschylus – Eumenides
  5. Sophocles – Oedipus the King
  6. Sophocles – Antigone
  7. Herodotus – The History (Book 1[Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10], Book 2)
  8. Plato – Meno
  9. Aristotle – Poetics
  10. Aristotle – Ethics
  11. Nicomachus – Introduction to Arithmetic
  12. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things
  13. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
  14. Hobbes – Leviathan Part 1
  15. Milton – Areopagitica
  16. Pascal – Pensées
  17. Pascal – Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle
  18. Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
  19. Rousseau – A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  20. Kant – Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals
  21. Mill – On Liberty

Year 3

  1. Aeschylus – Prometheus Bound
  2. Herodotus – The History
    1. Book 7, “Polymnia”
      1. 1-55 – Persian Preparations
      2. 56-137 – Persians Cross into Europe
      3. 138-239 – Battle of Thermopylae
    2. Book 8, “Urania”
      1. 1-39 – Naval Battle of Artemisium
      2. 40-96 – Naval Battle of Salamis
      3. 97-144 – Winter
    3. Book 9, “Calliope”
      1. 1-89 – Battle of Platea;
      2. 90-113 – Liberation of Asia Minor;
      3. 114-122 – Foundation of the Athenian Empire
  3. Thucydides – The History of the Peloponnesian War
  4. Plato – Statesman
  5. Aristotle – On Interpretation (Chapter 1-10)
  6. Aristotle – Politics
    • Book 3
    • Book 4
    • Book 5
  7. Euclid – Elements (Book 1)
  8. Tacitus – The Annals
  9. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I-II, QQ 90-97)
    • Treatise on Law:
      • Q.90 – Of the Essence of Law,
      • Q.91 – Of the Various Kinds of Law,
      • Q.92 – Of the Effects of Law,
      • Q.93 – Of the Eternal Law,
      • Q.94 – Of the Natural Law,
      • Q.95 – Of Human Law,
      • Q.96 – Of the Power of Human Law
  10. Chaucer – Troilus and Cressida
  11. Shakespeare – Macbeth
  12. Milton – Paradise Lost
  13. Locke – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Book III, Ch. 1-3, 9-11)
  14. Kant – Science of Right
  15. Mill – Representative Government (Chapter 1-6)
  16. Lavoisier – Elements of Chemistry (Part 1)
  17. Dostoevsky – The Brothers Karamazov
    • Part 1
    • Part 2
  18. Freud – The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis

Year 4

  1. Euripides – Medea
  2. Euripides – Hippolytus
  3. Euripides – Trojan Women
  4. Euripides – The Bacchantes
  5. Plato – Republic
    • Book 6
    • Book 7
  6. Plato – Theaetetus
  7. Aristotle – Physic (Book 4)
  8. Aristotle – Metaphysics
    • Book I, Ch. 1-2;
    • Book IV;
    • Book VI, Ch. 1;
    • Book XI, Ch. 1-4
  9. St. Augustine – Confessions (Book 9-13)
  10. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I, QQ 16-17, 84-88)
    • Q.16 – Of Truth,
    • Q.17 – Of Falsity,
    • Q.84 – How the Soul While United to the Body Understands Corporeal Things Beneath It,
    • Q.85 – Of the Mode & Order of Understanding,
    • Q.86 – What Our Intellect Knows in Material Things,
    • Q.87 – How the Intellectual Soul Knows Itself & All Within Itself,
    • Q.88 – How the Human Soul Knows What is Above Itself
  11. Montaigne – Apology for Raymond de Sebonde
  12. Galileo – Two New Sciences (Third Day, through Scholium of Theorem II)
  13. Bacon – Novum Organum (Preface, Book I)
  14. Descartes – Discourse on the Method
  15. Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
    • Prefaces
    • Definitions
    • Axioms
    • General Scholium
  16. Locke – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Book 2)
  17. Hume – An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  18. Kant – Critique of Pure Reason (Prefaces, Introduction, Transcendental Aesthetic)
  19. Melville – Moby Dick
  20. Dostoevsky – The Brothers Karamazov
    • Part 3,
    • Part 4
  21. James – Principles of Psychology
    • Chapter 15
    • Chapter 20

Year 5

  1. Plato – Phaedo
  2. Aristotle – Categories
  3. Aristotle – On the Soul (Book 2, Chapter 1-3), Book 3)
  4. Hippocrates
    • The Oath;
    • On Ancient Medicine;
    • On Airs, Waters, and Places;
    • The Book of Prognostics;
    • Of the Epidemics;
    • The Law;
    • On the Sacred Disease
  5. Galen – On the Natural Faculties
  6. Virgil – The Aeneid
  7. Ptolemy – The Almagest (Book 1, Chapter 1-8)
  8. Copernicus – Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Introduction – Book 1, Chapter 11)
  9. Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy (Book 4, Part 2, Chapter 1-2)
  10. Plotinus – Sixth Ennead
  11. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I, QQ 75-76, 78-79)
  12. Dante – The Divine Comedy (Hell)
  13. Harvey – The Motion of the Heart and Blood
  14. Cervantes – Don Quixote (Part 1)
  15. Spinoza – Ethics (Part 2)
  16. Berkeley – The Principles of Human Knowledge
  17. Kant – Critique of Pure Reason (Transcendental Analytic)
  18. Darwin – The Origin of Species (Introduction – Chapter 6, Chapter 15)
  19. Tolstoy – War and Peace
    • Book 1
    • Book 2
    • Book 3
    • Book 4
    • Book 5
    • Book 6
    • Book 7
    • Book 8
  20. James – Principles of Psychology (Chapter 28)

Year 6

  1. Old Testament – Genesis
  2. Old Testament – Exodus
  3. Old Testament – Deuteronomy
  4. Homer – The Odyssey
    • Book 1
    • Book 2
    • Book 3
    • Book 4
    • Book 5
    • Book 6
    • Book 7
    • Book 8
    • Book 9
    • Book 10
    • Book 11
    • Book 12
    • Book 13
    • Book 14
    • Book 15
    • Book 16
    • Book 17
    • Book 18
    • Book 19
    • Book 20
    • Book 21
    • Book 22
    • Book 23
    • Book 24
  5. Plato – Laws (Book 10)
  6. Aristotle – Metaphysics (Book 12)
  7. Tacitus – The Histories
  8. Plotinus – Fifth Ennead
  9. St. Augustine – The City of God
    • Book 15
    • Book 16
    • Book 17
    • Book 18
  10. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I, QQ 1-13)
  11. Dante – The Divine Comedy (Purgatory)
  12. Shakespeare – Comedy of Errors
  13. Shakespeare – The Taming of the Shrew
  14. Shakespeare – As You Like It
  15. Shakespeare – The Twelfth Night
  16. Spinoza – Ethics (Part 1)
  17. Milton – Samson Agonistes
  18. Pascal – The Provincial Letters
  19. Locke – An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Book 4)
  20. Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 2
    • Chapter 3
    • Chapter 4
    • Chapter 5
  21. Kant – Critique of Pure Reason (Transcendental Dialectic)
  22. Hegel – Philosophy of History (Introduction)
  23. Tolstoy – War and Peace
    • Book 9
    • Book 10
    • Book 11
    • Book 12
    • Book 13
    • Book 14
    • Book 15
    • Epilogues

Year 7

  1. Old Testament – Job
  2. Old Testament – Isaiah
  3. Old Testament – Amos
  4. Plato – Symposium
  5. Plato – Philebus
  6. Aristotle – Ethics
  7. Archimedes
    • Measurement of a Circle
    • The Equilibrium of Planes (Book I)
    • The Sand-Reckoner
    • On Floating Bodies (Book I)
  8. Epictetus – Discourse
  9. Plotinus – First Ennead
  10. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I-II, QQ 1-5)
  11. Dante – The Divine Comedy (Paradise)
  12. Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel
    • Book 3
    • Book 4
  13. Shakespeare – Julius Caesar
  14. Shakespeare – Antony and Cleopatra
  15. Shakespeare – Coriolanus
  16. Galileo – Two New Sciences (First Day)
  17. Spinoza – Ethics
    • Part 4
    • Part 5
  18. Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Book 3, Rules)
  19. Newton – Optics
    • Book 1, Part 1;
    • Book 3, Queries
  20. Huygens – Treatise on Light
  21. Kant – Critique of Practical Reason
  22. Kant – Critique of Judgment (Critique of Aesthetic Judgment)
  23. Mill – Utilitarianism

Year 8

  1. Aristophanes – Thesmophoriazusae
  2. Aristophanes – Ecclesiazusae
  3. Aristophanes – Plutus
  4. Plato – Gorgias
  5. Aristotle – Ethics (Book 5)
  6. Aristotle – Rhetoric (Book 1, Chapter 1 – Book 2, Chapter 1; Book 2, Chapter 20 – Book 3, Chapter 1; Book 3, Chapter 13-19)
  7. St. Augustine – On Christian Doctrine
  8. Hobbes – Leviathan (Part 2)
  9. Shakespeare – Othello
  10. Shakespeare – King Lear
  11. Bacon – Advancement of Learning (Book 1, Chapter 1 – Book 2, Chapter 11)
  12. Descartes – Meditations on the First Philosophy
  13. Spinoza – Ethics (Part 3)
  14. Locke – A Letter Concerning Toleration
  15. Rousseau – A Discourse on Political Economy
  16. Smith – The Wealth of Nations (Book 2)
  17. Boswell – The Life of Samuel Johnson
  18. Marx – Capital
    • Prefaces
    • Part 1
    • Part 2
  19. Goethe – Faust (Part 1)
  20. James – Principles of Psychology
    • Chapter 8
    • Chapter 9
    • Chapter 10
  21. Sterne – Tristam Shandy

Year 9

  1. Plato – The Sophist
  2. Thucydides – The History of the Peloponnesian War
    • Book 7
      • 21 – Eighteenth and Nineteenth Years of the War—Arrival of Gylippus at Syracuse—Fortification of Decelea—Successes of the Syracusans
      • 22 – Nineteenth Year of the War—Arrival of Demosthenes—Defeat of the Athenians at Epipolae—Folly and Obstinancy of Nicias
      • 23 – Nineteenth Year of the War—Battles in the Great Harbour—Retreat and Annihilation of the Athenian Army
    • Book 8
      • 24 – Nineteenth and Twentieth Years of the War—Revolt of Ionia— Intervention of Persia—The War in Ionia
      • 25 – Twentieth and Twenty-first Years of the War—Intrigues of Alcibiades—Withdrawal of the Persian Subsidies—Oligarchical Coup d’Etat at Athens—Patriotism of the Army at Samos
      • 26 – Twenty-first Year of the War—Recall of Alcibiades to Samos—Revolt of Euboea and Downfall of the Four Hundred—Battle of Cynossema
  3. Aristotle – Politics
    • Book 7
    • Book 8
  4. New Testament – The Gospel According to St. John
  5. New Testament – The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans
  6. New Testament – The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
  7. St. Augustine – The City of God
    • Book 5
    • Book 19
  8. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part II-II, QQ 1-7)
  9. Gilbert – On the Loadstone
  10. Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind
  11. Descartes – Geometry
  12. Pascal – The Great Experiment Concerning the Equilibrium of Fluids, On Geometrical Demonstration
  13. Montesquieu – The Spirit of Law
    • Book 1
    • Book 2
    • Book 3
    • Book 4
    • Book 5
    • Book 8
    • Book 11
    • Book 12
  14. Faraday – Experimental Researches in Electricity
    • Series 1
    • Series 2
  15. Faraday – A Speculation Touching Electric Conduction and the Nature of Matter
  16. Hegel – Philosophy of Right (Part 3)
  17. Marx – Capital
    • Part 3
    • Part 4
  18. Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents
  19. Apollonius – On Conic Sections
    • Book 1, Prop. 1-15
    • Book 3, Prop. 42-55
  20. Fielding – Tom Jones
  21. Fourier -Analytical Theory of Heat
    • Preliminary Discourse
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 2

Year 10

  1. Sophocles – Ajax
  2. Sophocles – Electra
  3. Plato – Timaeus
  4. Aristotle – On the Parts of Animals (Book 1, Chapter 1 – Book 2, Chapter 1)
  5. Aristotle – On the Generation of Animals
    • Book 1
      • Chapter 1
      • Chapter 17
      • Chapter 18
      • Chapter 20
      • Chapter 21
      • Chapter 22
      • Chapter 23
  6. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things
    • Book 5
    • Book 6
  7. Virgil – The Eclogues
  8. Virgil – The Georgics
  9. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I, QQ 65-74)
  10. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica (Part I, QQ 90-102)
  11. Chaucer – Canterbury Tales
    • Prologue
    • Knight’s Tale
    • Miller’s Prologue and Tale
    • Reeve’s Prologue and Tale
    • Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale
    • Friar’s Prologue and Tale
    • Summoner’s Prologue and Tale
    • Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale
  12. Shakespeare – The Tragedy of King Richard II
  13. Shakespeare – The First Part of King Henry IV
  14. Shakespeare – The Second Part of King Henry IV
  15. Shakespeare – The Life of King Henry V
  16. Harvey – On the Generation of Animals (Introduction – Exercise 62)
  17. Cervantes – Don Quixote (Part 2)
  18. Kant – Critique of Judgement (Critique of Teleological Judgement)
  19. Goethe – Faust (Part 2)
  20. Darwin – The Descent of Man (Part 1, Part 3, Chapter 21)
  21. Marx – Capital
    • Part 7
    • Part 8
  22. James – Principles of Psychology
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 5
    • Chapter 6
    • Chapter 7
  23. Freud – A General Introduction to Psycho-analysis
  24. Boswell – The Life of Samuel Johnson

Additional Texts

Year 1:

  1. Tocqueville – Democracy in America
  2. Ibsen – The Master Builder
  3. Schrödinger – What is Life?

Year 2:

  1. Voltaire – Candide
  2. Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil
  3. Whitehead – Science and the Modern World
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 2
    • Chapter 3
    • Chapter 4
    • Chapter 5
    • Chapter 6

Year 3:

  1. Twain – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  2. Lévi-Strauss – Structural Anthropology (Selections)
  3. Poincaré – Science and Hypothesis
    • Part 1
    • Part 2

Year 4:

  1. Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book 3)
  2. Frazer – The Golden Bough (Selections)
  3. Heisenberg – Physics and Philosophy
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 2
    • Chapter 3
    • Chapter 4
    • Chapter 5
    • Chapter 6

Year 5:

  1. Dewey – Experience and Education
  2. Waddington – The Nature of Life
  3. Orwell – Animal Farm

Year 6:

  1. Kierkegaard – Fear and Trembling
  2. Huizinga – The Waning of the Middle Ages
    • Chapter 1
    • Chapter 2
    • Chapter 3
    • Chapter 4
    • Chapter 5
    • Chapter 6
    • Chapter 7
    • Chapter 8
    • Chapter 9
    • Chapter 10
  3. Shaw – Saint Joan

Year 7:

  1. Weber – Essays in Sociology (Part 3)
  2. Proust – Swann in Love
  3. Brecht – Mother Courage and Her Children

Year 8:

  1. Barth – The Word of God and the Word of Man
    • Part 1
    • Part 2
    • Part 3
    • Part 4
  2. Bergson – An Introduction to Metaphysics
  3. Hardy – A Mathematician’s Apology
  4. Kafka – The Metamorphosis

Year 9:

  • Molière – Tartuffe
    • Act 1
    • Act 2
    • Act 3
    • Act 4
    • Act 5
  • Austen – Emma
  • Planck – Scientific Autobiography
  • Veblen – The Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Joyce – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Hemingway – The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Year 10:

  1. Erasmus – In Praise of Folly
  2. Huizinga – The Waning of the Middle Ages
    • Chapter 11
    • Chapter 12
    • Chapter 13
    • Chapter 14
    • Chapter 15
    • Chapter 16
    • Chapter 17
    • Chapter 18
    • Chapter 19
    • Chapter 20
    • Chapter 21
    • Chapter 22
    • Chapter 23
  3. Eddington – The Expanding Universe
  4. Eliot – The Waste Land