Great-Books Reading List: Western Canon

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This list is based upon great-books reading lists in the USA and UK.

It is in no way complete; it only offers suggestions for further reading.


An Intelligent and Cultured Person’s Reading List


Disclaimer: This great-books reading list is not exhaustive nor does it cover non-Western literature. It is merely an occidental reading list highlighting the ancestral traditions of Europeans or people of the European Diaspora (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.S.A., etc.). For non-Westerners, there are other reading lists available. For example, for Asians, there are various Asian reading lists; for people with ancestry from the Middle East and North Africa, various Arabic/Persian reading lists; for Hispanics with ancestry from Mexico, and Central & South America, various Amerindian/Mestizo reading lists; for those of African heritage, various African reading lists; and for people with ancestry from India, various Indo-Dravidian reading lists; etc. We leave it to others to develop non-Western great-books reading lists.




Books of the Week: 10,000 Year Explosion, Camp of the Saints [PDF], Uniqueness of Western Civilization






English: After one has learned Latin, it is advisable that one read Robert Lowth's A Short Introduction to English Grammar (1762), and Fowler’s King’s English (Oxford Press). Also the Second Edition (not the Third) of Fowler’s Modern English Usage is quite indispensable.


Latin: Studies show that at least two years of Classical Latin not only augments one's English vocabulary by 20,000 words, but also provides one with a meticulous understanding of English grammar.  Classical Latin not only prepares one for a career in law, science, medicine, business or humanities, but will also enrich one’s life by allowing him to read the Western Classics.


Additional Languages: After or before (or in some circumstances, in place of) Classical Latin, one should learn at least one other Western language, preferably French, German, Italian, Anglo Saxon, Gaelic, Old Norse, and/or Classical Greek. If a student is to study only two foreign languages, Classical Latin and German would be best, as these two languages most influenced English. In order to maintain a highbrow benchmark, we strongly advise against Spanish.


German: The basis of Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and representative of the Germanic family of languages (Danish, Dutch, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, etc.). Today German is the most widely spoken language in Europe. German, like Latin, is an inflected language, the study of which will refine one's understanding of grammar.





Greece & Rome :

Herodotus: Histories

Thucydides:The Peloponnesian War

A History of Greece, by J.B. Bury & Russell Meiggs


Livy: History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita)

Caesar:The Gallic War

Tacitus: The Annals

Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. D.M. Low

A History of Rome, by M. Cary & H.H. Scullard

Roman Imperialism, by Frank Tenney


Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges: Ancient City



Tacitus: Germania

Jordanes: History of the Goths

Gregory of Tours: History of the Franks

Gesta Danorum

A History of Europe, H.A.L. Fisher (Oxford, 1939).

Oswald Spengler: Decline of the West



Bede: History of the English People

Godefridus Monmouth: Historia Britonum

David Hume: History of England

Frank Stenton: Anglo-Saxon England

Chadwick: Origin of the English Nation

Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall: Our Island Story


United States:

M.E. Bradford: Founding Fathers: Brief Lives of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution

Russell Kirk: John Randolph of Roanoke, Roots of American Order

Henry Davenport Northrop: Student's History of the United States


World History:

V.M. Hillyer: A Child's History of the World
Hendrik Willem Van Loon: The Story of Mankind




Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

James C. Russell: The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity




Homer: Iliad and Odyssey

Hesiod: Theogony and Works and Days

Aeschylus: Oresteia.

Sophocles: Oedipus Rex

Euripides: Bacchae

Aristophanes: Clouds


Plautus: Pseudolus

Catullus: Poems

Cicero: Orations Against Catiline, Philippics

Vergil: Aeneid, Eclogues, and Georgics

Horace: Odes; Satires, Book I

Ovid: Art of Love (Ars Amatoria).

Juvenile: Satires

Petronius: Satyricon

Old Norse / Germanic Mythology:


Poetic Edda

Prose Edda

Saga of the Volsungs



Saga of Thidrek of Berne

Jakob Grimm: Germanic Mythology

Celtic Mythology:

Labor Gabala Erenn

Cath Maige Tuired

Story of the Tuatha De Danaan

Ulster Cycle

Fenian Cycle


Slavic Mythology:

[Coming Soon]



"Battle of Maldon"


Battle of Finnsburgh

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales

Fitzstephen, William: Caedes in Ecclesia (Thomas Becket)

Malory: Morte D’Athur

Sir Thomas More: Utopia, Epigrammata

Shakespeare: Hamlet, King Lear, Henry IV, et al.

Donne: Poetry

Milton: Paradise Lost, Latin Poems

Pope: Essay on Man, (Horatian) Satires, Translations of Homer

Poetry: Tennyson, Coleridge, Yeats

Rudyard Kipling: "The Children's Song," "A Song of White Men," "The Stranger," and "Song of the Fifth River."

Anthony Trollope: The Way We Live Now



Goethe: Sufferings of Young Werther, The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, Faust

Friedrich Holderlin: Hyperion


Song of Roland

Racine: Plays

La Fontaine: Fables

Moliere: Plays

Claudel, P.: Poetry

Mallarme: Herodiade; Le vierge, le vivace et le bel aujourd’hui...

Jean Raspail: Camp of the Saints


Dante: Divine Comedy

Petrarch: Italian and Latin poems

Boccaccio: "Decameron," Latin poems, et al.


Cervantes: Don Quixote


Erasmus: The Praise of Folly, De Copia Verborum, De Ratione Studii

United States:

T.S. Eliot: The Wasteland and Prufrock


Aesthetics / Literary Criticism:

Aristotle: Poetics

Horace: Ars Poetica

Quintilian: The Orator’s Education

Isidore of Seville: Etymologiae

Burke: On the Sublime and Beautiful

Schiller: “On Naive and Sentimental Poetry”

Matthew Arnold: Culture & Anarchy

T. S. Eliot: “Tradition and Individual Talent” in The Sacred Wood


Political Philosophy:


Plutarch: Lives: Lycurgus and Solon

Plato:The Republic, The Laws

Aristotle: Politics, Nicomachean Ethics

Cicero: The Republic, The Laws, On Duties (De Officiis).

Thomas Aquinas: Treatise on Law

Machiavelli: The Prince

Hobbes: Leviathan

Filmer: Patriarcha

Locke: Second Treatise of Civil Government

Edmund Burke: Reflections on the French Revolution

Joseph de Maistre: Considerations on France

Chateaubriand: Essai historique, politique et moral sur les revolutions anciennes et modernes; Genie du christianisme.

Friedrich Nietzsche: The Anti-Christ, On the Genealogy of Morality; Beyond Good and Evil

F.H. Bradley: “My Station and Its Duties” in Ethical Studies



Tocqueville: Democracy in America

U.S. Constitution, Federalist Papers


Contemporary Conservative Thought:

Twelve Southerners: I'll Take My Stand

Russell Kirk: The Conservative Mind

Thomas Fleming: Politics of Human Nature; The Morality of Everyday Life: Rediscovering an Ancient Alternative to the Liberal Tradition

Sam Francis: Shots Fired, Essential Writings on Race

Paul Gottfried: Conservatism in America

Patrick J. Buchanan: State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America; Death of the West

Chilton Williamson Jr.: The Conservative Bookshelf

Tomislav Sunic: Against Democracy and Equality

Frank Salter: On Genetic Interests




The Oxford History of Western Philosophy, ed. Anthony Kenny

Modern Philosophy: Introduction and Survey, Roger Scruton


Plato: Republic, Meno, Apology

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, Metaphysics

Cicero: On Duties (De Officiis), On the Ends of Good and Evil (De Finibus), On the Nature of the Gods (De Natura Deorum), Academics (Academica), Tusculan Disputations (Tusculanae Disputationes), Stoic Paradoxes (Paradoxa Stoicorum), The Republic (De Re Publica), The Laws (De Legibus)

Seneca: Moral Essays

Augustine: Confessiones

Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica

Descartes: Meditationes De Prima Philosophia, Discours de la methode

Vico: The New Science

Berkeley: Treatise the Concerning Principles of Human Knowledge

Spinoza: Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demostrata

Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Treatise of Human Nature

Kant: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals

Hegel: Philosophy of History



Plato: Timaeus

Aristotle: Physics, Heavens, Parts of Animals, On Plants

Euclid: Elements

Lucretius: De Rerum Natura

Pliny: Historia Naturalis

Galilei: Sidereus Nuntius

Bacon, R.: Opus Maius

Bacon, F.: Novum Organum

Kepler: Astronomia Nova

Newton: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

Charles Darwin: On the Origin of Species, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life; The Descent of Man

E.O. Wilson: Sociobiology

Pierre L. van den Berghe: The Ethnic Phenomenon

Frank Salter: On Genetic Interests



A History of Astronomy from Thales to Kepler, J.L.E. Dreyer

E.O. Wilson: Sociobiology

Nicholas Wade: Before the Dawn

Pierre L. van den Berghe: The Ethnic Phenomenon

Frank Salter: On Genetic Interests

Cochran & Harpending: 10,000 Year Explosion




Population Genetics, Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology:

E.O. Wilson: Sociobiology

Pierre L. van den Berghe: The Ethnic Phenomenon

Nicholas Wade: Before the Dawn

W. D. Hamilton: Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Vol 1

Frank Salter: On Genetic Interests

Cochran & Harpending: 10,000 Year Explosion

Edward Dutton: How to Judge People by What They Look Like



Anthropology / Sociology:

Emile Durkheim: Elementary Forms of Religious Life

Roger Pearson: Introduction to Anthropology

Nicholas Wade: Before the Dawn

William Graham Sumner: Folkways: A Study of Mores, Manners, Customs and Morals

E.O. Wilson: Sociobiology

Cochran & Harpending: 10,000 Year Explosion




Carl Jung: The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious

W. D. Hamilton: Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Vol 1

E.O. Wilson: Sociobiology

Cochran & Harpending: 10,000 Year Explosion




Xenophon: Oeconomicus

Veblen: The Theory of the Leisure Class

Josef Pieper: Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Wilhelm Ropke: A Humane Economy

Gregory Clark: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World




Modern Journals:

Chronicles Magazine


Quarterly Review (UK)





Great-Books Reading List for Children and High-Schoolers




Book of the Week: 10,000 Year Explosion, Camp of the Saints [PDF],Uniqueness of Western Civilization

Essay of the Week: "Ethnic Nepotism and the Reality of Race"

Essay of the Week #2: E Christian Kopff of the Classical Christian Tradition



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