Friday, February 27, 2009

100 books every student of humanities should read

As posited by Universities and Their assessment is removed, so as not to color your opinion.

Like the BBC list, I'm curious as to which you've read and haven't, which you'd recommend and which you wouldn't. Other comments welcome.

Each of these works is available to read online (follow the link).
  1. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.
  2. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
  3. The Iliad by Homer.
  4. Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson.
  5. The Art of War by Sunzi.
  6. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.
  7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
  8. A Tales of Two Cities.
  9. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.
  10. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
  11. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
  12. Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
  14. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
  15. Apology, Crito, and Phaedo of Socrates by Plato.
  16. Symposium by Plato.
  17. The Divine Comedy by Dante.
  18. Paradise Lost by John Milton.
  19. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.
  20. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.
  21. The Works of Aristotle.
  22. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
  23. The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.
  24. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
  25. Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
  26. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
  27. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  28. Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary.
  29. Candide by Voltaire.
  30. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
  31. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
  32. Father Goriot by Honore de Balzac.
  33. The Atheist’s Mass by Honore de Balzac.
  34. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  35. Notes From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
  36. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
  37. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
  38. The Tao Te Ching by Laozi.
  39. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
  40. The Complete Works of P.B. Shelley.
  41. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
  42. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe.
  43. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.
  44. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
  45. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.
  46. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche.
  47. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
  48. The Lifted Veil by George Eliot.
  49. Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence.
  50. Women in Love by DH Lawrence.
  51. White Fang by Jack London.
  52. Call of the Wild by Jack London.
  53. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
  54. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe.
  55. Dracula by Bram Stoker.
  56. Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker.
  57. Discourse by Descartes.
  58. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  59. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
  60. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
  61. Aesop’s Fables.
  62. Beowulf by Anonymous.
  63. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
  64. Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
  65. The Ambassadors by Henry James.
  66. Daisy Miller by Henry James.
  67. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
  68. Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe.
  69. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen.
  70. The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen.
  71. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.
  72. Dubliners by James Joyce.
  73. Ulysses by James Joyce.
  74. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
  75. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy.
  76. Far From the Madding of the Crowd by Thomas Hardy.
  77. Twice Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  78. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  79. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
  80. Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde.
  81. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
  82. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.
  83. The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott.
  84. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.
  85. The Machine by Upton Sinclair.
  86. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.
  87. The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper.
  88. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
  89. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
  90. Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert.
  91. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
  92. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
  93. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  94. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
  95. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
  96. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.
  97. The Aeneid by Virgil.
  98. The Education of Henry Adams.
  99. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
  100. The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth.


  1. Love Jane Eyre, Little Women and This Side of Paradise. Didn't finish Wuthering Heights. Hated Moby Dick.

    I'm surprised there's no Hemingway.

  2. It's positively scary how many of these books I've actually read, many of them more than once.

  3. I've read 41 of them, but surprisingly the only ones I'd recommend to someone now would be the ones by Dickens and Verne and the Sherlock Holmes canon. Maybe Upton Sinclair.

    I would never recommend Ulysses, Paradise Lost, or Crime and Punishment. As famous and impressive as they are, they are neverless tedious ordeals to slog through.

  4. I'm a little bit (not a lot, just a little) ashamed that I've read so few. I had considered myself a reasonably well-read person.