Gateway to the Great Books

Gateway to the Great Books


Several years after publishing the “Great Books of the Western World” series, Encyclopædia Britannica published a 2nd, smaller series called, “Gateway to the Great Books”. This is filled with short stories, book chapters, essays, pamphlets & snippets on various topics but aren’t quite the same length as the parent series. I feel that these are every bit as important as that giant tomes of the Great Books series. I’m not really interested in what’s “canonical” but I want to read stuff that makes me think & what’s influenced others to think. Enjoy!


Volume 2 – Imaginative Literature

Daniel Dafoe – Robinson Crusoe
Rudyard Kipling – Mowgli’s Brothers
Victor Hugo – The Battle with the Cannon
Guy de Maupassant – Two Friends
Ernest Hemingway – The Killers
Sir Walter Scott – The Two Drovers
Joseph Conrad – Youth
Voltaire – Micromégas
Oscar Wilde – The Happy Prince
Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar Allan Poe – The Masque of Red Death
Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Mark Twain – The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
Charles Dickens – A Full & Faithful Report of the Memorable Trial of Bardell against Pickwick
Nikolai Gogol – The Overcoat
Samuel Butler – Customs & Opinions of the Erewhonians
Sherwood Anderson – I’m a Fool
Anonymous – Aucassin & Nicolette

Volume 3 – Imaginative Literature

Stephen Crane – The Open Boat
Herman Melville – Billy Budd
Ivan Bunin – The Gentleman from San Francisco
Nathaniel Hawthorne – Rappaccini’s Daughter
George Eliot – The Lifted Veil
Lucius Apuleius – Cupid & Psyche
Ivan Turgenev – First Love
Fyodor Dostoevsky – White Nights
John Galsworthy – The Apple-Tree
Gustave Flaubert – The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Diamond as Big as the Ritz
Honoré de Balzac – A Passion in the Desert
Anton Chekhov – The Darling
Isaac Singer – The Spinoza of Market Street
Alexander Pushkin – The Queen of Spades
D.H. Lawrence – The Rocking-Horse Winner
Henry James – The Pupil
Thomas Mann – Mario & the Magician
Isak Dinesen – Sorrow-Acre
Leo Tolstoy – The Death of Ivan Ilyitch
Leo Tolstoy – The Three Hermits
Leo Tolstoy – What Men Live By

Volume 4 – Imaginative Literature

Molière – The Misanthrope [Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5]
Molière – The Doctor in Spite of Himself [Act 1, Act 2, Act 3]
Richard Sheridan – The School for Scandal [Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5]
Henrik Ibsen – An Enemy of the People [Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5]
Anton Chekhov – The Cherry Orchard [Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4]
George Bernard Shaw – The Man of Destiny
John M. Synge – Riders to the Sea
Eugene O’Neill – The Emperor Jones

Volume 5 – Critical Essays

Virginia Woolf – How Should One Read a Book?
Matthew Arnold – The Study of Poetry
Matthew Arnold – Sweetness & Light
Sainte-Beuve – What is a Classic?
Sainte-Beuve – Montaigne
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Beauty
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Discourse
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Studies
David Hume – Of the Standard of Taste
Arthur Schoenpenhauer – On Style
Arthur Schoenpenhauer – On Some Forms of Literature
Arthur Schoenpenhauer – On The Comparative Place of Interest & Beauty in Works of Art
Friedrich Schiller – On Simple & Sentimental Poetry
Percy Byssche Shelley – A Defence of Poetry
Walt Whitman – Preface to Leaves of Grass
William Hazlitt – My First Acquaintance with Poets
William Hazlitt – On Swift
William Hazlitt – Of Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen
Charles Lamb – My First Play
Charles Lamb – Dream Children, a Reverie
Charles Lamb – Sanity of True Genius
Samuel Johnson – Preface to Shakespeare
Thomas de Quincey – Literature of Knowledge & Literature of Power
Thomas de Quincey – On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth
Thomas Stearns Eliot – Dante
Thomas Stearns Eliot – Tradition & the Individual Talent

Volume 6 – Man & Society

John Stuart Mill – Childhood & Youth
Mark Twain – Learning the River
La Bruyère – Characters
Thomas Carlyle – The Hero as King
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Thoreau
Nathaniel Hawthorne – Sketch of Abraham Lincoln
Walt Whitman – Death of Abraham Lincoln
Virginia Woolf – The Art of Biography
Xenophon – The March to Sea (Anabasis, Book 4)
Xenophon – The Character of Socrates
William H. Prescott – The Land of Montezuma
Haniel Long – The Power within Us
Pliny the Younger – The Eruption of Vesuvius (Letter 6.16, Letter 6.20)
Cornelius Tacitus – The Life of Gnaeus Julius Agricola
François Guizot – Civilization
Henry Adams – The United States in 1800
John Bagnell Bury – Herodotus
Lucian – The Way to Write History
Great Documents – The English Bill of Rights
Great Documents – Declaration of the Rights of Man & of the Citizen
Great Documents – The Virginia Declaration of Rights
Great Documents – The Declaration of Independence
Great Documents – Charter of the United Nations
Great Documents – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Thomas Paine – A Call to Patriots – December 23, 1776
George Washington – Circular Letter to the Governors of All the States on Disbanding the Army
George Washington – The Farewell Address
Thomas Jefferson – The Virginia Constitution
Thomas Jefferson – First Inaugural Address
Thomas Jefferson – Biographical Sketches
Benjamin Franklin – A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America
Benjamin Franklin – Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania
Jean de Crèvecœur – The Making of Americans
Alexis de Tocqueville – Observations on American Life & Government
Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau – A Plea for Captain John Brown
Abraham Lincoln – Address at Copper Institute
Abraham Lincoln – First Inaugural Address
Abraham Lincoln – Letter to Horace Greeley
Abraham Lincoln – Meditation on the Divine Will
Abraham Lincoln – The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln – Second Inaugural Address
Abraham Lincoln – Last Public Address

Volume 7 – Man & Society

Sir Francis Bacon – Of Youth & Age
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Parents & Children
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Marriage & Single Life
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Great Place
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Seditions & Troubles
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Custom & Education
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Followers & Friends
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Usury
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Riches
Jonathan Swift – Resolutions When I Come to be Old
Jonathan Swift – An Essay on Modern Education
Jonathan Swift – A Meditation upon a Broomstick
Jonathan Swift – A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country
David Hume – Of Refinement in the Arts
David Hume – Of Money
David Hume – Of the Balance of Trade
David Hume – Of Taxes
David Hume – Of the Study of History
Plutarch – Of Bashfulness
Robert Louis Stevenson – The Lantern-Bearers
John Ruskin – An Idealist’s Arraignment of the Age
William James – On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings
William James – The Energies of Men
William James – Great Men & Their Environment
Arthur Schopenhauer – On Education
Michael Faraday – Observations on Mental Education
Edmund Burke – Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol
John C. Calhoun – The Concurrent Majority
Thomas Babington Macaulay – Machiavelli
Voltaire – English Men & Ideas
Dante Alighieri – On World Government
Jean Jacques Rousseau – A Lasting Peace through the Federation of Europe
Immanuel Kant – Perpetual Peace
Karl von Clausewitz – What is War?
Thomas Robert Malthus – The Principle of Population

Volume 8 – Natural Science

Sir Francis Bacon – The Sphinx
John Tyndall – Michael Faraday
Eve Curie – The Discovery of Radium
Charles Robert Darwin – Autobiography
Jean Henri Fabre – A Laboratory of the Open Fields
Jean Henri Fabre – The Sacred Beetle
Loren Eiseley – On Time
Rachel L. Carson – The Sunless Sea
J.B.S. Haldane – On Being the Right Size
Thomas Henry Huxley – On the Relations of Man to the Lower Animals
Thomas Henry Huxley – On a Piece of Chalk
Sir Francis Galton – The Classification of Human Ability
Claude Bernard – Experimental Considerations Common to Living Things & Inorganic Bodies
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov – Scientific Study of the So-called Psychical Processes in the Higher Animals
Friedrich Wöhler – On the Artificial Production of Urea
Sir Charles Lyell – Geological Evolution
Galileo Galilei – The Starry Messenger
Tommaso Campanella – Arguments for & against Galileo
Michael Faraday – The Chemical History of a Candle
Dmitri Mendeleev – The Genesis of a Law of Nature
H.L.F. von Helmholtz – On the Conservation of Force
Albert Einstein & Leopold Infeld – The Rise & Decline of Classical Physics
Sir Arthur Eddington – The Running-Down of the Universe
Sir James Jeans – Beginnings & Endings
Kees Boeke – Cosmic View

Volume 9 – Mathematics

Lancelot Hogben – Mathematics, the Mirror of Civilization
Andrew Russell Forsyth – Mathematics, in Life & Thought
Alfred North Whitehead – On Mathematical Method
Alfred North Whitehead – On the Nature of a Calculus
Bertrand Russell – The Study of Mathematics
Bertrand Russell – Mathematics & the Metaphysicians
Bertrand Russell – Definition of Number
Edward Kasner & James R. Newman – New Names for Old
Edward Kasner & James R. Newman – Beyond the Googol
Tobias Danzig – Fingerprints
Tobias Danzig – The Empty Chain
Leonard Euler – The Seven Bridges of Königsberg
Norman Robert Campbell – Measurement
Norman Robert Campbell – Numerical Laws & the Use of Mathematics in Science
William Kingdon Clifford – The Postulates of the Science of Space
Henri Poincaré – Space
Henri Poincaré – Mathematical Creation
Henri Poincaré – Chance
Pierre-Simon de Laplace – Probability
Charles Sanders Peirce – The Red & the Black

Volume 10 – Philosophical Ideas

John Erskine – The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent
William Kingdon Clifford – The Ethics of Belief
William James – The Will to Believe
William James – The Sentiment of Rationality
John Dewey – The Process of Thought
Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus
Epicurus – Letter to Menoeceus
Epictetus – The Enchiridion
Walter Horatio Pater – The Art of Life
Plutarch – Contentment
Cicero – On Friendship
Cicero – On Old Age
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Truth
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Death
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Adversity
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Love
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Friendship
Sir Francis Bacon – Of Anger
George Santayana – Lucretius
George Santayana – Goethe’s Faust
Henry Adams – St. Thomas Aquinas
Voltaire – The Philosophy of Common Sense
John Stuart Mill – Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self-Reliance
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Montaigne; or, the Skeptic
William Hazlitt – On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth