As a general introduction I should warn that this list of books is not comprehensive. There are a great many important books omitted from this list. While some are omitted because of their esotericism, the vast majority are good books omitted simply on account of the fact that an undergraduate can only read so much in four years. It is hoped that this list will serve as an introduction to rather than an exhaustion of the Great Books of the Western Canon.

The question of curriculum is a difficult one. I hope soon to include guidance about the sequence and order in which, in my opinion, these books ought to be read. But in the meantime I leave it to any good teacher to recognize where each book belongs in a student’s studies, when the list should be amended, and of which works it is preferable to read in part rather than in whole.


Acts of the Council of Trent.
Adams, Karl: The Christ of Faith.
Aeschylus: The Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides, & Prometheus Bound
St. Anselm: Proslogion & Why God Became Man.
Aristotle: Categories, De Anima, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, De interpretatione, Physics, Poetics, & Politics.
Aristophanes: Acharnians, Peace, & Frogs.
St. Athanasius: On the Incarnation.
St. Thomas Aquinas: On Being and Essence, On Kingship, On the Principles of Nature, On the Teacher, & Summa Theologica.
Auden, W. H.: Collected Poems.
St. Augustine: Against the Donatists, Against the Skeptics, City of God, Confessions, On Christian Doctrine, On Free Choice of the Will, On the Teacher, On the Trinity, & The Rule of St. Augustine.


Bacon, Francis: Novom Organum.
Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot.
St. Benedict: The Rule of St. Benedict.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux: The Steps of Humility.
The Bible.
Blake, William: Collected Poems.
Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy.
St. Bonaventure: The Journey of the Mind to God & Retracing the Arts to Theology
Brooks, Cleanth: Modern Poetry and the Tradition & The Well Wrought Urn
Buber, Martin: Between Man and Man, I and Thou, & The Knowledge of Man
Burke, Edmund: Reflections on the Revolution in France


Calvin, John: Institutes of the Christian Religion
Camus, Albert: The Myth of Sisyphus & The Stranger
Cary, Joyce: The Horse’s Mouth.
Chateaubriand: The Genius of Christianity.
Chaucer: Canterburry Tales.
Cicero: De officiis, On Academic Skepticism, & Republic
St. Clement of Rome: Letter to the Corinthians
St. Clement of Alexandria: Stromata
The Code of Justinian.
Coleridge, Samuel: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner & Biographia Literaria.
Collingwood, R. G.: Autobiography, The Idea of Nature, The Idea of History, & Principles of Art.
Conrad, Joseph: Lord Jim.
Cowan, Louise: The Epic Cosmos, The Terrain of Comedy, The Tragic Abyss, & The Prospect of Lyric.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem: On the Christian Sacraments.


Dante: Divine Comedy & La Vita Nuova.
Descartes: Discourse on Method, The World, Meditations, Principles of Philosophy.
Dionysius the Areopagite: On the Divine Names & On the Mystical Theology.
Donne, John: Complete Poems.
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov & Crime and Punishment.


Einhard of Fulda: Life of Charlemagne.
Eliot, T. S.: The Cocktail Party, Four Quartets, Murder in the Cathedral, The Waste Land, Complete Poems and Plays, & Selected Essays.
Eriugena, John Scotus: De Divisione Naturae.
Erasmus: On Pilgrimages.
Euclid: The Elements.
Euripides: The Bacchae.
Eusebius: Church History & The Life of Constantine.


Faulkner, William: Absalom, Absalom, Go Down, Moses, The Hamlet, Light in August, The Mansion, The Reivers, The Sound and the Fury, The Town.
Fergusson, Francis: Selected Essays.
Feuerbach: The Old Faith and the New.
Flaubert: Madame Bovary.
St. Francis de Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life.
Frankl, Victor: Man’s Search for Meaning.
Frost, Robert: Collected Poems.


Gilson, Etienne: The Arts of the Beautiful & The Unity of Philosophical Experience.
Gogol, Nikolai: Dead Souls.
Gordon, Caroline: Collected Stories & The Women on the Porch.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus: Third Theological Oration, Concerning the Son, & Treatise on Holy Baptism.
St. Gregory of Nyssa: On the Holy Trinity & One Not Three Gods.
Guardini, Romano: The Spirit of the Liturgy.


Hamilton, Jay & Madison: The Federalist Papers.
Heaney, Seamus: Collected Poems.
Hegel: Philosophy of History.
Herbert, Edward: De Religione Gentilium.
Herbert, George: The Temple.
Herodotus: The Histories.
Herrick, Robert: Selected Poems.
Hesiod: Theogony.
Hilton, Walter: The Ladder of Perfection.
Hobbes, Thomas: Leviathan.
Homer: Iliad & Odyssey.
Hopkins, Gerard Manley: Complete Poems.
Housman, A. E.: Complete Poems.
Hume, David: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion & Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.


St. Ignatius of Antioch: The Seven Letters.
St. Irenaeus: The Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So-Called.


St. John of Damascus: On the Divine Images & On the Orthodox Faith.
Joyce, James: Dubliners & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love.
St. Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho the Jew & First Apology.


Kant, Immanuel: Critique of Judgment, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, & Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone.
Keats, John: The Letters of John Keats & The Poems of John Keats.
Kierkegaard, Søren: Fear and Trembling & Sickness unto Death.
Knox, Ronald: Enthusiasm.


Langland, William: Piers Plowman.
Lewis, C. S.: The Weight of Glory.
Livy: History of Rome.
Locke, John: Essay Concerning Human Understanding & Second Treatise on Civil Government.
Luther, Martin: Appeal to the German Nobility, Babylonian Captivity of the Church, & On the Bondage of the Will.
Lynch, William F.: Christ and Apollo.


Machiavelli, Niccolo: The Prince & Discourses on Livy.
Marcel, Gabriel: Homo Viator, The Mystery of Being, & The Philosophy of Existentialism.
Marcus Aurelius: Meditations.
Maritain, Jacques: Art and Scholasticism, Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, Introduction to Philosophy, A Preface to Metaphysics, & Three Reformers.
Marlowe, Christopher: Dr. Faustus.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp.
Marvell, Andrew: Complete Poems.
Marx, Karl: Communist Manifesto.
St. Maximus the Confessor: Chapters on Knowledge & On Charity.
St. Melito of Sardis: On the Passover.
Melville, Herman: Moby Dick.
Merton, Thomas: New Seeds of Contemplation.
Mill, J. S.: Utilitarianism.
Milton, John: Paradise Lost.
Montesquieu: Spirit of the Laws.
Moore, G. E.: Principia Ethica.
St. Thomas More: Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, Letters, & Utopia.
Newman, Blessed John Henry: Apologia pro Vita Sua, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, The Idea of a University, Lectures on Justification, On Consulting the Faithful, & University Sermons.


Nietzsche, Friedrich: Beyond Good and Evil, Will to Power, The Gay Science, & On the Geneology of Morality.


Occam, William of: Quodlibetal Questions.
O’Connor, Flannery: The Complete Stories, Mystery and Manners, The Violent Bear it Away, Wise Blood.
Origen: On First Principles & On Prayer.


Pascal, Blaise: Pensées.
St. Paschasius Radbertus of Corbie: The Lord’s Body and Blood.
Pico della Mirandola: Oration on the Dignity of Man.
Pieper, Josef: Leisure: the Basis of Culture & The Philosophical Act.
Plato: Apology, Crito, Laws, Meno, Parmenides, Phaedrus, Republic, & Symposium.
Plotinus: Enneads.
Plutarch: Parallel Lives.
Pugin, Augustus: Contrasts.


Ransom, John Crow: Selected Poems & The World’s Body.
Ratramnus of Corbie: Christ’s Body and Blood.
Rauschenbusch, Walter: The Social Gospel.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: On the Origin of Inequality & The Social Contract.


Sartre, Jean-Paul: No Exit.
Schleiermacher, Friedrich: On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers.
Shakespeare: Cymbeline, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Othello, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Selected sonnets.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Sophocles: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone.
Spener: Pia Desideria.
Stevens, Wallace: Collected Poems.
Strauss, David: Life of Jesus (1836 Preface).
Suso, Blessed Henry: The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom.
Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars.


Tate, Allan: Collected Poems & Essays of Four Decades.
Tauler, Johannes: On Disinterest.
Thomas, Dylan: Collected Poems.
Thomas à Kempis: The Imitation of Christ.
Thucydides: The Imitation of Christ.
Tocqueville, Alexis de: Democracy in America.
Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina.
Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Sons.


Valentinus: The Gospel of Truth.
Vincent of Lerins: A Commonitory.
Vergil: The Aeneid.


Warren, Robert Penn: All the King’s Men.
Warren, Robert Penn: All the King’s Men.
Weber, Max: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
Welty, Eudora: The Eye of the Story, Collected Stories.
Wilbur, Richard: Collected Poems.
Wordsworth, William: The Complete Poetical Works.
Wojtyła, Karol Józef: Fides et Ratio, The Jeweler’s Shop, Person and Community, Veritatis Splendor.


Yeats, W. B.: Collected Poems.