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March 2019

John Aubrey: Brief Lives

John_AubreyThe Brief Lives by John Aubrey (1626-1697) are a collection of short biographies of his contemporaries, chosen on eclectic grounds which allowed for the inclusion of personal friends as well as prominent figures from science, philosophy, the arts, politics and high society.

The Brief Lives have long been appreciated for the intimate tone, and personal insights based on interviews with the subjects' acquaintances.

The Brief Lives at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Brief Lives Vol. I | Vol. II, edited Andrew Clarke (1898). HTML, EPUB, Kindle and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: Brief Lives Vol . I (Incomplete | Vol. II. PDF, EPUB, TXT and Kindle formats.

Other Resources

Librivox: Brief Lives Vol. I | Vol. II - public domain audiobooks.

Wikipedia: John Aubrey - Brief Lives

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Harold Bloom's Western Canon: The Brief Lives are included.


Swift: Gulliver's Travels

800px-Captain_lemuel_gulliverGulliver's Travels is a 1726 work by Jonathan Swift, now most often read in versions adapted for children, but originally a sharp satire of contemperary Europe.

Gulliver's successive encounters with the people of Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and with the Houyhnhnms, raise questions about the nature and influence of society that contrast, perhaps deliberately, with the individualism of Swift's contemporary, Daniel Defoe, in Robinson Crusoe.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Gulliver's Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. HTML, EPUB, Kindle and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: Gullivers' Travels. EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats.

University of Adelaide: Gullivers Travels. HTML, EPUB, and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Gulliver's Travels

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Michael Psellos: Chronographia

Michael_PsellosThe Chronographia (Greek: Χρονογραφία) by Michael Psellos is a history of the Byzantine Empire in the century from 976 CE by Michael Psellos, who was himself an active courtier and political advisor during the latter part of this period. His chief interest is in the character of individual rulers, which he considers in fourteen biographies of individual emperors and empresses, from Basil II 'The Bulgar-Slayer' to Michael VII Doukas.

Chronographia at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

English translations

Documenta Catholica Omnia: Chronographia, translated by E.R.A. Sewter (1953). PDF format.

Fordham University Medieval History Sourcebook: Chronographia, translated by E.R.A. Sewter (1953). HTML format.

Greek texts

Internet Archive: The History of Psellus, edited by Constantine Sathas (1899). PDF, EPUB, DJVU, Kindle and other formats.

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Anna Comnena: The Alexiad

Alexios_I_KomnenosThe Alexiad (Greek: Ἀλεξιάς) by Anna Comnena, is a history of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of her father Alexios I Comnenus from 1048-1118. Written in around 1148, it is significant as an important source for the period leading up to the First Crusade, and as one of the earliest historical works by by a woman.

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Free online texts
English Translations

Fordham University Medieval Sourcebook: The Alexiad, translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes (1928). HTML format.

Wikisource: The Alexiad, translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes. HTML and other formats.

York University: The Alexiad, translated by Elizabeth A. Dawes. PDF format.

Greek texts

Greek Wikisource: Αλεξιάς. HTML and other formats.

Internet Archive: Anna Comnena Vol I (edited by Schopen). | Vol II (edited by Reifferscheid). Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae.

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Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel_Kant_(painted_portrait)The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft), often known as the First Critique, is a 1781 work by Immanuel Kant. It is a foundational text of modern Western philosophy, proposing a 'Copernican turn' in the approach to central questions posed by previous thinkers. Rather than assuming that the mind must conform to its objects, Kant posited that objects must conform to our minds. Objects must conform to the conditions of possible experience to be experienced at all, and so we can know that they will conform to them, but that knowledge does not extend beyond our experience, to things as they are in themselves, limiting our ability to make many traditional metaphysical claims.

The Critique of Pure Reason at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy
Free online texts

English translations

Early Modern Texts: The Critique of Pure Reason, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: The Critique of Pure Reason. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn (Everyman's Library edition, 1934). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Multiple English translations including J.M.D. Meiklejohn, F. Max Müller and Norman Kemp Smith. HTML and other formats.

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Berkeley: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous

George_Berkeley._Line_engraving._Wellcome_V0000473Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous is a 1713 philosophical work by George Berkeley, written as a dialogue in which the characters discuss the metaphysical ideas which Berkeley had previously propounded to some criticism in A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.

The two characters are given Greek names which reflect their respective commitments. Hylas is named after the Greek word for matter and takes a materialist position. Philonous, 'lover of mind', defends an idealist stance which is largely Berkeley's own.

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Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1901). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. HTML and other formats.

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Berkeley: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

George_Berkeley_by_Jonh_SmibertA Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge is a 1710 work by George Berkeley, which sets out an idealist theory of knowledge, similar to that of Locke, in the service of a radically different idealist metaphysics. Berkeley argues that the source of our ideas cannot be material things, but only other ideas, and the ultimate basis of objective reality is therefore the existence of ideas in the mind of God.

A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: The Principles of Human Knowledge, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg : A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Principles of Human Knowledge (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Principles of Human Knowledge, with works by Locke and Hume. (Great Books of the Western World edition, 1937). Multiple formats.

Trinity College Dublin: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Multiple Formats.

Wikisource: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. HTML and other formats.

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