A Recommended Reading List – from C.S. Lewis

Daniel Lattier | August 25, 2016

A Recommended Reading List – from C.S. Lewis

Over at the blog A Pilgrim in Narnia, Brenton Dickieson has done something kind of cool.

He has taken C.S. Lewis’ book An Experiment in Criticism—in which Lewis attempts to answer the question “what makes a great book?”—and listed in chronological order all of the great books that Lewis references.

The list serves not only as a window into the knowledge-base of one of the great authors of our time, but also as a reading program for those interested in preserving a Western tradition that is in danger of being forgotten.

Here’s the list:

A Canon List from An Experiment in Criticism

  • Homer
    • Iliad (c. 8th BCE)
    • Odyssey (c. 8th BCE)
  • Unknown, Book of Jonah (8th-4th BCE)
  • Pindar
    • Olympian Odes (early 5th BCE)
    • Pythian Odes (early 5th BCE)
    • Fragments (early 5th BCE)
  • Aeschylus, The Eumenides (5th BCE)
  • Sophocles, Oedipus Rex (c. 429 BCE)
  • Aristotle, Poetics (335 BCE)
  • Virgil
    • The Georgics (29 BCE)
    • The Aeneid (29-19 BCE)
  • Lucian, Vera Historia (2nd)
  • Apuleius, Metamorphoses/The Golden Ass (late 2nd)
  • Unknown, Beowulf (8th-11th)
  • Unknown, The Song of Roland (11th-12th)
  • Laȝamon, Brut (c. 1190-1215)
  • Unknown, Huon of Bordeaux (c. 1216-1268)
  • Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda (early 13th)
  • Dante, Divine Comedy (1308-20)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
    • The Canterbury Tales (late 14th)
    • Troilus and Criseyde (1380s)
  • Unknown, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late 14th)
  • Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur (1485)
  • Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (c. 1516)
  • Arthur Brooke, The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562)
  • Sir Philip Sidney, Arcadia (late 16th)
  • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590s)
  • William Shakespeare
    • Romeo & Juliet (1591-5)
    • Twelfth Night (1601-2)
    • The Winter’s Tale (1611)
    • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1590-7)
    • Henry V (c. 1599)
  • John Donne, “The Apparition” (early 17th)
  • Michael Drayton, “The Shepherds Sirena” (1627)
  • Thomas Browne, Urn Burial (1658)
  • Jean Racine
    • Andromaque (1667)
    • Phèdre (c. 1677)
  • John Milton
    • Paradise Lost (1667-74)
    • Samson Agonistes (1671)
  • Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712-4)
  • Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726, 1735)
  • Voltaire
    • “Micromégas” (1752)
    • Candide (1759)
  • Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (1759)
  • William Beckford, Vathek, an Arabian Tale (1782)
  • James Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798)
  • William Wordsworth
    • “Michael” (1800)
    • The Excursion (1814)
  • Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice (1813)
  • Walter Scott, Guy Mannering (1815)
  • Benjamin Constant, Adolphe (1816)
  • John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (1819)
  • James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Witch of Atlas (1824)
  • Elias Lönnrot, The Kalevala (1835-49)
  • Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
  • Charles Dickens
    • The Pickwick Papers (1836)
    • Great Expectations (1861)
  • William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair (1848)
  • Edward Fitzgerald, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859-89)
  • Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers (1857)
  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1869)
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life (1871-2)
  • Samuel Butler, Erewhon (1872)
  • Lewis Carroll, “The Hunting of the Snark” (1874-6)
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Treasure Island (1883)
    • Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
  • Edwin Abbott, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884)
  • John Ruskin, Praeterita (1885)
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898)
  • H.G. Wells
    • First Men in the Moon (1901)
    • “The Door in the Wall” (1911)
  • Beatrix Potter, Tales (1902-1930)
  • Joseph Conrad, Nostromo (1904)
  • E.R. Burroughs, Tarzan (1912-1965)
  • Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  • Arnold Bennett, The Old Wives’ Tale (1908)
  • James Stephens, The Crock of Gold (1912)
  • D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (1913)
  • Gertrude Stein, “Sacred Emily” (1913)
  • James Branch Cabell, JurgenA Comedy of Justice (1919)
  • Kafka, The Castle (1926)
  • Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan (1946)
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings (1954-5)

 

H/T David Russell Mosely at Patheos 



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