What are Great Books? Great books are written publications that have been accepted by modern day scholars as the essential foundation of literature in Western culture. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines them as certain classics of literature, philosophy, history, and science that are believed to contain the basic ideas of western culture. Over the years it has become customary for institutes of higher education to incorporate these readings into their curriculum.“The reason for thestudy of these classical texts is to both allow and encourage students to become familiar with some of the most revered authors throughout history. This helps to ensure that students and newly found scholars are equipped with a plethora of resources to utilize throughout their studies. Task 1List down as many Great Books that you know, either you’ve read and studied them in high school. Name the title of the book and the author. 1.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 2.Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 3.The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 4.Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 5.Moby-Dick by Herman Melville 6.Lord Of The Flies by William Golding 7.Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 8.Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 9.Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen 10.Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 11.The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 12.Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling 13.The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis 14.The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 15.The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams Task 2. List down five (5) Great Books and place them in the respective category below. ANCIENT (BEFORE A.D.)MEDIEVAL (500-1450)MODERN (AFTER AD 1450) Dracula by Bram Stroker (1401)The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1890) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1874) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1860) Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen (1811) Note: The timeline and category is based on How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler (1940), and How to Read a Book, 2nd ed. by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren (1972):
The great books are those that tradition, and various institutions and authorities, have regarded as constituting or best expressing the foundations of Western culture (the Western canon is a similar but broader designation); derivatively the term also refers to a curriculum or method of education based around a list of such books. Mortimer Adler lists three criteria for including a book on the list: • the book has contemporary significance; that is, it has relevance to the problems and issues of our times; • the book is inexhaustible; it can be read again and again with benefit; "This is an exacting criterion, an ideal that is fully attained by only a small number of the 511 works that we selected. It is approximated in varying degrees by the rest." • the book is relevant to a large number of the great ideas and great issues that have occupied the minds of thinking individuals for the last 25 centuries. The following is an example list, in chronological order, compiled from How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler (1940), and How to Read a Book, 2nd ed. by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren (1972): Ancient (before AD 500) : 1.
Homer–Iliad; 2.Odyssey Ancient The Old Testament 3.Aeschylus–Tragedies 4.Sophocles–Tragedies 5.Herodotus–Histories 6.Euripides–Tragedies 7.Thucydides–History of the Peloponnesian War 8.Hippocrates–Medical Writings 9.Aristophanes–Comedies 10.Plato–Dialogues 11.Aristotle–Works 12.Epicurus–"Letter to Herodotus"; "Letter to Menoecus" 13.Euclid–Elements 14.Archimedes–Works 15.Apollonius–Conics 16.Cicero–Works (esp. Orations; On Friendship; On Old Age; Republic; Laws; Tusculan Disputations; Offices) 17.Lucretius–On the Nature of Things 18.Virgil–Works (esp. Aeneid) 19.Horace–Works (esp. Odes and Epodes; The Art of Poetry) 20.Livy–History of Rome 21.Ovid–Works (esp. Metamorphoses) 22.Quintilian–Institutes of Oratory 23.Plutarch–Parallel Lives; Moralia 24.Tacitus–Histories; Annals; Agricola; Germania; Dialogus de oratoribus (Dialogue on Oratory) 25.Nicomachus of Gerasa–Introduction to Arithmetic
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26.Epictetus–Discourses; Enchiridion 27.Ptolemy–Almagest 28.Lucian–Works (esp. The Way to Write History; The True History; The Sale of Creeds; Alexander the Oracle Monger; Charon; The Sale of Lives; The Fisherman; Dialogue of the Gods; Dialogues of the Sea-Gods; Dialogues of the Dead) 29.Marcus Aurelius–Meditations 30.Galen–On the Natural Faculties 31.The New Testament 32.Plotinus–The Enneads 33.St. Augustine–"On the Teacher"; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine Medieval (AD 500—1450) : 1.The Volsungs Saga or N4 Nicolaus Copernicus–On 2.The Song of Roland 3.The Saga of Burnt Njál 4.Maimonides–The Guide for the Perplexed 5.St. Thomas Aquinas–Of Being and Essence; Summa Contra Gentiles; Of the Governance of Rulers; Summa Theologica 6.Dante Alighieri–The New Life (La Vita Nuova); "On Monarchy"; Divine Comedy 7.Giovanni Boccaccio - The Decameron 8.Geoffrey Chaucer–Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 9.Thomas à Kempis–The Imitation of Christ Modern (after AD 1450) : 1.Leonardo da Vinci–Notebooks 2.Niccolò Machiavelli–The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 3.Desiderius Erasmus–The Praise of Folly; Colloquies 4.Nicolaus Copernicus the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 5.Thomas More–Utopia 6.Martin Luther–Table Talk; Three Treatises 7.François Rabelais–Gargantua and Pantagruel 8.John Calvin–Institutes of the Christian Religion 9.Michel de Montaigne–Essays 10.William Gilbert–On the Lodestone and Magnetic Bodies 11.Miguel de Cervantes–Don Quixote 12.Edmund Spenser–Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 13.Francis Bacon–Essays; The Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum; New Atlantis 14.William Shakespeare–Poetry and Plays 15.Galileo Galilei–Starry Messenger; Two New Sciences 16.Johannes Kepler–The Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Harmonices Mundi 17.William Harvey–On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; Generation of Animals 18.Grotius–The Law of War and Peace 19.Thomas Hobbes–Leviathan; Elements of Philosophy
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