Book lists

The Harvard Classics

The Harvard Classics is a 51 volume collection of classic texts published in 1909. It is also known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf after the original editor and compiler, Harvard President Charles W. Eliot.

Details of the individual volumes are below, with links to the relevant pages at this site for works and authors included in the collection. Electronic copies of each volume are available from the Internet Archive links in parentheses.

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Harold Bloom's Western Canon

51bVSG8KaFL._SX329_BO1 204 203 200_The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages, by Harold Bloom is a 1994 book defending the concept of a central canon of Western writers against various modern critical approaches that Bloom characterised as a 'school of resentment'.

The book is perhaps best remembered for an appendix listing central canonical writers, an exercise which Bloom later repudiated. Non-Western works are included only in so far as Bloom recognised their influence on the Western tradition. This leads to the inclusion of a handful of major Indian and Middle Eastern works from the ancient and medieval periods, while Chinese literature is totally excluded.

Modern African and Asian literature is slightly better represented, but Bloom's list is best used with the understanding that it intended to be representative of western culture only and therefore excludes much of what is most valuable in world literature.

An adapted version of Bloom's list is presented below with links to relevant free resources. His recommended translations, mostly still in copyright, are omitted.

The Western Canon at Amazon

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