Your Harvard Classics

"What books would you choose for a twenty-first century Harvard Classics?" the editors asked readers (November-December, page 56), inviting them to submit lists of 10 books...

"What books would you choose for a twenty-first century Harvard Classics?" the editors asked readers (November-December, page 56), inviting them to submit lists of 10 books, excluding various titles and authors deemed likely consensus choices. By press time, 38 lists were in hand. The book chosen most often was James Joyce's Ulysses (six times), followed by Lectures on Physics, by Richard Feynman (four). Some examples:


The Art of War, Sun Tzu

The Praise of Folly, Desiderius Erasmus

Pensées, Blaise Pascal

Emma, Jane Austen

Either/Or, Søren Kierkegaard

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Le Rouge et le Noir, Stendhal

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche

À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Marcel Proust

--from Percy Crosby, Ph.D. '60, of Mesa, Arizona


Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen

The Man Born to Be King, He That Shall Come, and Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

The Wasteland and Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

Women Artists 1550-1950, Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin

Feminism and Art History, Norma Broude and Mary Garrard

Rembrandt's Aristotle and Other Rembrandt Studies, Julius Held

John Adams, David McCullough

The Anxiety of Influence, Harold Bloom

A Marginal Jew, John P. Meier

--from Alicia Craig Faxon, A.M. '53, of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts


Childhood and Society, Erik Erikson

Sartor Resartus, Thomas Carlyle

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes

The Double Helix, James Watson

Our Town, Thornton Wilder

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber

The Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche

Law in Modern Society, Roberto Unger

The Idea of a Christian Society, T.S. Eliot

Consilience, Edward O. Wilson

--from Richard B. Bloom '76, of Bristol, Pennsylvania


The History of the Persian Wars, Herodotus

The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki

The Story of the Stone, Cao Xueqin

The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio

City of God, Saint Augustine

Ulysses, James Joyce

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

--from Drew Chuppe '83, A.M. '88, G '90, of South Bend, Indiana


Selected Poems, Sappho

Selected Writings, Hildegard of Bingen

The Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Simone de Beauvoir

The Princess of Clèves, Mme. de Lafayette

A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Complete Poems, Emily Dickinson

--from Ann M. Moore '61, of Hampton, Virginia


The Human Comedy, Honoré de Balzac

I and Thou, Martin Buber

On War, Carl von Clausewitz

The Journey to the West, Wu Cheng'en

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Gargantua and Pantagruel, François Rabelais

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Collected Poems, William Butler Yeats

--from a member of the class of '68 who wishes anonymity


From other lists: D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly's Lover; Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities; Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes; Katharine Graham, Personal History; Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah; Heinrich Böll, Billiards at Half-Past Nine; Alfred C. Kinsley, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male; Tony Kushner, Angels in America; Hunter Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers; Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics; J. Anthony Lukas, Common Ground; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard.


You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

An Authentic Act

Basketball coach Kathy Delaney-Smith navigates players’ gender and sexual identity, mental health, and other challenging social issues.

Mass Audubon Ushers in the Spring

Exploring nature through Mass Audubon

Blindspot: A Novel

History professor Jill Lepore is the coauthor, with Jane Kamensky, of the historical novel Blindspot, set in colonial Boston.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults