Learn Latin, Old English, Sanskrit, Classical Greek & Other Ancient Languages in 10 Lessons

Germania-tacitusI receive week­ly reminders of my lin­guis­tic igno­rance when­ev­er I read any­thing by authors flu­ent in Latin. How could I not, when­ev­er Clive James starts to pon­tif­i­cate on the great­ness of, say, Tac­i­tus?

“For stu­dents acquir­ing Latin in adult life, the lan­guage is most eas­i­ly approached through those his­to­ri­ans who real­ly wrote chron­i­cles — Cor­nelius Nepos, Sal­lust, Sue­to­nius and Livy — but with the His­to­ries of Tac­i­tus you get the best rea­son for approach­ing it at all… What Sainte-Beuve said of Mon­taigne — that his prose is like one con­tin­u­ous epi­gram — is even more true of Tac­i­tus.”

Fan­tas­tic! So, which trans­la­tion should I read?

“There are innu­mer­able trans­la­tions but the orig­i­nal gives you [Tac­i­tus]’ unri­valled pow­ers of com­pres­sion.”

As with Latin clas­sics, so with oth­er Indo-Euro­pean lan­guage texts, includ­ing Beowulf, orig­i­nal­ly in Old Eng­lish, Homer’s Ili­ad and Odyssey, in Clas­si­cal Greek, and the ancient Vedic hymns of the Rigve­da, in San­skrit.

For those will­ing to take up the chal­lenge of read­ing these canon­ic texts in their orig­i­nal form, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas’ Lin­guis­tics Research Cen­ter pro­vides an excel­lent resource. In addi­tion to host­ing a mul­ti­tude of Indo-Euro­pean vol­umes in their entire­ty, the LRC has made 10-les­son crash cours­es, devel­oped by sev­er­al UT-Austin aca­d­e­mics. Lessons include a brief guide to the alpha­bet, back­ground knowl­edge on the lan­guage’s devel­op­ment, and a gram­mar guide, all  avail­able for the fol­low­ing lan­guages:

Best of all, lessons are based on sem­i­nal texts from each lan­guage: Latin lessons rely on Tac­i­tus’ Ger­ma­nia, Livy’s His­to­ry of Rome, and Virgil’s Aeneid, while Homer, Hesiod’s Works and Days, and Plato’s Repub­lic fea­ture promi­nent­ly in the Clas­si­cal Greek class­es. Stu­dents progress through each les­son by read­ing the orig­i­nal pas­sages, and using the pro­vid­ed guides to trans­late them to Eng­lish.

We’ll be adding these to our grow­ing list of Free Lan­guage Lessons (and our list of Free Online Cours­es), where you can learn over 46 lan­guages, from Ara­bic to Yid­dish.

Note: These links will direct you to pages for­mat­ted in Uni­code 2. If you’re hav­ing trou­ble read­ing the texts, head to the Ear­ly Indo-Euro­pean Online lessons site and choose a dif­fer­ent encod­ing in the side­bar.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Shake­speare Sound­ed Like to Shake­speare: Recon­struct­ing the Bard’s Orig­i­nal Pro­nun­ci­a­tion

What Ancient Greek Music Sound­ed Like: Hear a Recon­struc­tion That is ‘100% Accu­rate’

Hear Homer’s Ili­ad Read in the Orig­i­nal Ancient Greek

Hear The Epic of Gil­gamesh Read in the Orig­i­nal Akka­di­an, the Lan­guage of Mesopotamia

The Tom Waits Map: A Mapping of Every Place Waits Has Sung About, From L.A. to Africa’s Jungles

“And what becomes of all the lit­tle boys who nev­er comb their hair? They’re lined up all around the block, on the Nick­el over there.” So sings Tom Waits on 1980’s “On the Nick­el,” which he orig­i­nal­ly com­posed for Ralph Wait­e’s epony­mous fea­ture film, a sto­ry of shame, degra­da­tion, and good times in the sketchi­est part of down­town Los Ange­les, through which runs 5th Street — the “Nick­el” of the title. That part of town has man­aged an aston­ish­ing cleanup since 1980 (then again, most parts of town have, includ­ing the once-seething cor­ner ref­er­enced by Heartat­tack and Vine, the title of Waits’ album from that year) to the point that you’ll now find, just off 5th, the new-wave retro, hip­ster-friend­ly Nick­el Din­er: a favorite eatery of mine, inci­den­tal­ly, but hard­ly one describ­able with Waits’ sig­na­ture rasp, a force­ful­ly resigned instru­ment tuned to evoke the clas­si­cal­ly, near-mytho­log­i­cal­ly ragged Amer­i­can life.

Still, you can find the old Nick­el on The Tom Waits Map, which marks out all the lyri­cal­ly iden­ti­fi­able places in Waits’ Amer­i­ca, from Min­neapo­lis’ 9th Street (“Hey Char­lie, I’m preg­nant and liv­ing on the 9th street,” goes “Christ­mas Card From A Hook­er In Min­neapo­lis”) to the state of Ida­ho (“Dan­ny says we got­ta go, got­ta go to Ida­ho, but we can’t go surf­ing ’cause it’s 20 below,” on “Dan­ny Says”).

We may think of Waits’ artis­tic per­sona as a cer­tain low­er slice of Amer­i­ca made song, but this map, when zoomed out to a glob­al lev­el, reveals ref­er­ences to many exot­ic lands, as when he sings about “a Hong Kong driz­zle on Cuban heels,” from the per­spec­tive of a char­ac­ter who “drank with all the Chi­na­men, walked the sew­ers of Paris” and of “Radion the human tor­so, deep from the jun­gles of Africa.”

The Tom Waits map itself, in fact, comes from an obvi­ous­ly die-hard Swedish fan by the name of Jonas Nord­ström. As he and the rest of the Waits faith­ful know, the man does­n’t just speak to an askew sen­si­bil­i­ty in Amer­i­ca; he speaks to askew sen­si­bil­i­ties all through­out human­i­ty.

via @sheerly

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Big Time, the Con­cert Film Cap­tur­ing Tom Waits on His Best Tour Ever (1988)

Tom Waits’ Clas­sic Appear­ance on Aus­tralian TV, 1979

Tom Waits Reads Charles Bukows­ki

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

Quentin Tarantino & Steve Buscemi Rehearse Scenes for Reservoir Dogs in 1991 (NSFW)

Think about the actors and direc­tors who stood as pil­lars of the 1990s “indiewood” move­ment, and the dis­tinc­tive images of Quentin Taran­ti­no and Steve Busce­mi will sure­ly cross your mind. Both deliv­ered much of inter­est in that cin­e­mat­i­cal­ly fruit­ful decade. Busce­mi, whom Roger Ebert deemed “the house act of Amer­i­can inde­pen­dent films,” played high­ly mem­o­rable roles in movies like Alexan­dre Rock­well’s In the Soup, Tom DiCil­lo’s Liv­ing in Obliv­ion, and the Coen broth­ers’ Far­go and The Big Lebows­ki. Taran­ti­no direct­ed three fea­tures that need no intro­duc­tion, the first of which, 1991’s Reser­voir Dogs, brought them togeth­er. In the clip above, you can watch Taran­ti­no and Buscemi’s video­taped rehearsal ses­sions, where­in, among oth­er things, they work out their respec­tive char­ac­ters, the would-be dia­mond thieves Mr. Brown and Mr. Pink.

Before Reser­voir Dogs, Taran­ti­no had attempt­ed only the incom­plete My Best Friend’s Birth­day. Before shoot­ing what would become his first fin­ished movie for real, he put togeth­er mock-ups of these scenes at the Sun­dance Insti­tute Direc­tor’s Work­shop and Lab, which then sub­ject­ed them to frank eval­u­a­tions from a rotat­ing pan­el of vet­er­an film­mak­ers. As much as we enjoy his act­ing, let’s not for­get his own con­tri­bu­tions as a direc­tor; his 1996 debut Trees Lounge, in which he also stars, eas­i­ly ranks among the finest prod­ucts of that era’s inde­pen­dent cin­e­ma. And as for Taran­ti­no’s own sub­se­quent for­ays into act­ing… well, nobody can argue that they don’t enter­tain.

via Bib­liok­lept

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Best of Quentin Taran­ti­no: Cel­e­brat­ing the Director’s 50th Birth­day with our Favorite Videos

My Best Friend’s Birth­day, Quentin Tarantino’s 1987 Debut Film

Kansas City Con­fi­den­tial: Did This 1952 Noir Film Inspire Quentin Tarantino’s Reser­voir Dogs?

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

Watch Documentaries on the Making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd had to find its way again after found­ing singer Syd Bar­rett had a men­tal break­down and left the band in 1968. The new group became intro­spec­tive, explor­ing a range of effects and sound­scapes that increas­ing­ly trend­ed toward (or invent­ed) New Age music. For exam­ple the open­ing instru­men­tal, “Shine On You Crazy Dia­mond (Part 1)” from 1975’s Wish You Were Here sounds for all the world like Van­ge­lis. At this point in their career, the band seemed like it would be per­fect­ly at home scor­ing sci-fi films, which—given the gold­en age of far out space-glam futur­ism that was the 1970s—I con­sid­er a won­der­ful thing. What this also means how­ev­er, is that Wish You Were Here is an album short on songs, fea­tur­ing only five prop­er­ly list­ed, though the first and last tracks are over ten minute long rock operettas.

Musi­cal­ly, it’s a tremen­dous­ly accom­plished piece of work, lush and expan­sive but curi­ous­ly restrained. The cen­ter­piece, “Have a Cig­ar”— sure­ly a pre­cur­sor of bit­ter show­biz rant dis­guised as dou­ble con­cept album, The Wall—is in fact sung by a ringer, Roy Harp­er. (The only oth­er time the band fea­tured a guest vocal­ist was on the soar­ing, word­less “Great Gig in the Sky” from the pre­vi­ous album, Dark Side of the Moon.) Though the col­lab­o­ra­tion was a fluke—Harper sim­ply hap­pened to be record­ing in the next stu­dio over—his pres­ence seems essen­tial in hind­sight. The band were big fans of Harper’s, an eccen­tric folk singer who has released 22 albums to date. It’s easy to see why. He’s like a psy­che­del­ic British Neil Young, an artist whom, I would argue, some­times has a lot in com­mon with Pink Floyd, such as a will­ing­ness to release albums almost ful­ly com­posed of extend­ed jams.

Wish You Were Here was writ­ten around the song “Shine on You Crazy Dia­mond,” an extend­ed jam bro­ken into two extend­ed sequences that book­end the album. The song is about their trag­i­cal­ly befud­dled for­mer singer, and the album has some of the sad­dest lyrics in the band’s oeu­vre, which I sup­pose says quite a lot (I attend­ed many an ado­les­cent par­ty where someone—yes, some­times that some­one was me—picked up the acoustic gui­tar and led a maudlin sin­ga­long of the title track.) Fans of the band will need no fur­ther per­suad­ing to watch the above doc­u­men­tary about the mak­ing of Wish You Were Here, but if my tout­ing does­n’t sway you, con­sid­er it then a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to see some of the most tal­ent­ed musi­cians of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry at work, shin­ing even into their very Eng­lish old­er years (though rarely in the same room), with a dig­ni­ty and ded­i­ca­tion that is dif­fi­cult to find in mod­ern pop music. I say this with full aware­ness of how cranky it may sound, but so be it. They don’t make bands like this any­more.

Peo­ple do still occa­sion­al­ly make records like Pink Floyd’s, espe­cial­ly like 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon—which more or less per­fect­ed the sound of space rock—but no one has ever made one so per­fect­ly real­ized. And yet if asked to choose between that album and Wish You Were Here, I could not do it. They are far too dif­fer­ent in their approach­es. In the Mak­ing of Dark Side of the Moon doc­u­men­tary above, Roger Waters char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly says that Dark Side was made at a time when the band “still had a com­mon goal—that is to become rich and famous.” And for all its acid satire of wealth and fame and its often mor­bid themes, it’s the sound of a band full of youth­ful self-con­fi­dence and ambi­tion, where the follow-up’s orches­tral pieces speak of deep­er and sad­der realms.

The songs on Dark Side of the Moon were part­ly fin­ished live as the band debuted exper­i­men­tal ver­sions of the songs in a 1972 tour, and the album’s suc­cess the fol­low­ing year saw the band real­ize their dreams. Pink Floyd became a sta­di­um act overnight. One can imag­ine the toll the Dark Side of the Moon tour­ing took on the band, who—despite their renown for stage spectacles—have always seemed like very retir­ing indi­vid­u­als, except for the fre­quent­ly grandiose Waters.

Waters has tak­en a lot of flack for his part in the long­stand­ing ani­mos­i­ty between him­self and co-leader, gui­tarist David Gilmour, but see­ing him mas­ter­mind Dark Side of the Moon—through ret­ro­spec­tive inter­views mainly—reminds us of what an enor­mous tal­ent he had. Speak­ing of retir­ing per­son­al­i­ties, Waters, for a time the band’s pri­ma­ry lyri­cist, penned the unfor­get­table line, “hang­ing on in qui­et des­per­a­tion is the Eng­lish way” from “Time”—a line cribbed from Thore­au but that could have been writ­ten by Eve­lyn Waugh or Som­er­set Maugh­am, says gui­tarist Nigel Williamson. It’s a “descrip­tion of the Eng­lish char­ac­ter,” says Williamson, that “permeate[s] the whole record, and indeed the whole of Pink Floyd’s career.”

H/T and thanks goes to @BrainPicker for send­ing the top film our way.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Syd Bar­rett: Under Review, a Full Doc­u­men­tary About Pink Floyd’s Bril­liant and Trou­bled Founder

Dark Side of the Rain­bow: Pink Floyd Meets The Wiz­ard of Oz in One of the Ear­li­est Mash-Ups

Watch Pink Floyd Play Live in the Ruins of Pom­peii (1972)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

A Brief History of Sampling: From the Beatles to the Beastie Boys

Jon­ny Wil­son, oth­er­wise known as Eclec­tic Method, has made an art of “splic­ing togeth­er music, TV and film and set­ting it to high-ener­gy dance beats.” He has also become some­thing of a dig­i­tal cura­tor of pop cul­ture. In the video above, Wil­son presents:

A video remix jour­ney through the his­to­ry of sam­pling tak­ing in some of the most not­ed breaks and riffs of the decades. A chrono­log­i­cal jour­ney from the Bea­t­les’ use of the Mel­lotron in the 60s to the sam­ple dense hiphop and dance music of the 80s and 90s. Each break is rep­re­sent­ed by a vibrat­ing vinyl sound­wave explod­ing into var­i­ous tracks that sam­pled it, each re-use anoth­er chap­ter in the mod­ern nar­ra­tive.

The audio track can be down­loaded over at Sound­Cloud. If you dig this brief bit of musi­cal his­to­ry, you won’t want to miss some of the relat­ed items below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Rick Wake­man Tells the Sto­ry of the Mel­lotron, the Odd­ball Pro­to-Syn­the­siz­er Pio­neered by the Bea­t­les

All Hail the Beat: How the 1980 Roland TR-808 Drum Machine Changed Pop Music

The “Amen Break”: The Most Famous 6‑Second Drum Loop & How It Spawned a Sam­pling Rev­o­lu­tion

David Foster Wallace Talks About Literature (and More) in an Internet Chatroom: Read the 1996 Transcript

dfw internet chat

Reddit’s Ask Me Any­thing (AMA) series, where users get the chance to pose ques­tions to the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen King, and Bill Nye the Sci­ence Guy, pro­vides a sur­pris­ing­ly sim­ple way to inter­act with celebri­ties. Before Reddit’s arrival in 2005, how­ev­er, real-time exchanges between your gar­den-vari­ety Inter­net user and famous per­son­al­i­ties were occa­sion­al­ly con­duct­ed in Inter­net cha­t­rooms. One such ear­ly case appears to be a chat between the read­ers of WORD Mag­a­zine and David Fos­ter Wal­lace (read 30 of his essays free online), which seems to have tak­en place in May of 1996.

If AMAs are an order­ly, if vast, Q & A ses­sion, this chat is more like a boozy group meet­ing with your favorite Eng­lish lit pro­fes­sor in a smoky bar. (Read the tran­script here.) Wal­lace, using the han­dle “dfw,” is on a refresh­ing­ly lev­el field with the oth­er chat par­tic­i­pants, and the con­ver­sa­tion nat­u­ral­ly drifts from one top­ic to anoth­er. Things, as they often do, begin with a bit of ban­ter:

dfw: I’ve had some unpleas­ant nick­naames and monikers in my time, but nobody’s ever hung “fos­ty” on me before.

Keats: You know, I still think it should be spelled Fos­tie, or Fos­tey.
Keats: Fos­ty looks too much like “Frosty” and “sty” to me.

Keats: And makes me think of eye­balls packed in ice.

dfw: “Sty” as in an impact­ed eye­lash or a pig­pen, you mean?

Keats: Yeah. Is that what a sty as in “sty in your eye” is?

Marisa: I used to think the word “sty” was pro­nounced “stee”.

Keats: I had no idea exact­ly, just an unpleas­ant feel­ing about it.

dfw: Yes. Mas­sive­ly painful and embar­rass­ing, too. Like a car­bun­cle on the exact tip of your nose — that sort of thing.

Keats: I used to think the word “trough” was pro­nounced “troff.”

Keats: You know, I hap­pen to have a car­bun­cle on the tip of my nose right now.

Keats: Except it’s not a car­bun­cle, it’s more like a welt. It’s still embar­rass­ing.

dfw: In my very first sem­i­nar in col­lege, I pro­nounced facade “fakade.” The mem­o­ry’s still fresh and raw.

Soon, things take a turn for the seri­ous, and read­ers begin to ask Wal­lace about irony:

dfw: I don’t think irony’s meant to syn­er­gize with any­thing as heart­felt as sad­ness. I think the main func­tion of con­tem­po­rary irony is to pro­tect the speak­er from being inter­pret­ed as naive or sen­ti­men­tal.

Marisa: Why are peo­ple afraid to be seen as naive and sen­ti­men­tal?

dfw: Marisa: I think that’s a very deep, very hard ques­tion. One answer is that com­mer­cial com­e­dy’s often set up to fea­ture an iro­nist mak­ing dev­as­tat­ing sport of some­one who’s naive or sen­ti­men­tal or pre­ten­tious or pompous.

Keats: I’m start­ing to see a lot of irony in Hol­ly­wood and in adver­tis­ing, but its func­tion seems to be to let them talk out of both sides of their mouths.

dfw: Keats: adver­tis­ing that makes fun of itself is so pow­er­ful because it implic­it­ly con­grat­u­lates both itself and the view­er (for mak­ing the joke and get­ting the joke, respec­tive­ly).

Wal­lace also drops a few men­tions of some of his favorite authors:

DaleK: Mr. Wal­lace, I’m curious…who among cur­rent nov­el­ists do you find the most inter­est­ing?

dfw: Dalek — DeLil­lo, Ozick, R. Pow­ers, AM Homes, Denis John­son, David Mark­son, (old) JA Phillips and Louise Erdrich.

While we can’t con­clu­sive­ly con­firm that this was indeed the real DFW con­duct­ing the chat, it’s hard to deny that “dfw” sounds very much like the author. Cer­tain­ly, the com­plete exchange is as much fun to read for its mid-90s inter­net cha­t­room nos­tal­gia as it is for Wallace’s thoughts on irony, Infi­nite Jest, and the sound of one hand clap­ping. The whole tran­script is avail­able here.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

30 Free Essays & Sto­ries by David Fos­ter Wal­lace on the Web

David Fos­ter Wallace’s Love of Lan­guage Revealed by the Books in His Per­son­al Library

The David Fos­ter Wal­lace Audio Archive: A Lit­tle Gift For the Novelist’s 50th Birth­day

Pete Seeger Tells the Story Behind “We Shall Overcome”


Like near­ly all folk songs, “We Shall Over­come” has a con­vo­lut­ed, obscure his­to­ry that traces back to no sin­gle source. The Library of Con­gress locates the song’s ori­gins in “African Amer­i­can hymns from the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry” and an arti­cle on About.com dates the melody to an ante­bel­lum song called “No More Auc­tion Block for Me” and the lyrics to a turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry hymn writ­ten by the Rev­erend Charles Tind­ley of Philadel­phia. The orig­i­nal lyric was one of per­son­al salvation—“I’ll Over­come Someday”—but at least by 1945, when the song was tak­en up by strik­ing tobac­co work­ers in Charleston, S.C., it was trans­mut­ed into a state­ment of sol­i­dar­i­ty as “We Will Over­come.” Need­less to say, in its final form, “We Shall Over­come” became the unof­fi­cial anthem of the labor and Civ­il Rights move­ments and even­tu­al­ly came to be sung “in North Korea, in Beirut, Tianan­men Square and in South Africa’s Sowe­to Town­ship.

Pete Seeger—who passed away yes­ter­day at the age of 94—has long been cred­it­ed with the dis­sem­i­na­tion of “We Shall Over­come,” but he was always quick to cite his sources. Seeger heard the song in 1947 from folk­lorist Zil­phia Hor­ton, music direc­tor at Tennessee’s High­lander Folk Cen­ter who, Seeger said, “had a beau­ti­ful alto voice and sang it with no rhythm.” As he told NPR recent­ly, his touch­es were also those of oth­er singers:

I gave it kind of ump-chin­ka, ump-chin­ka, ump-chin­ka, ump-chin­ka, ump-chin­ka, ump. It was medi­um slow as I sang it, but the ban­jo kept a steady rhythm going. I remem­ber teach­ing it to a gang in Carnegie Hall that year, and the fol­low­ing year I put it in a lit­tle music mag­a­zine called Peo­ple’s Songs. Over the years, I remem­ber singing it two dif­fer­ent ways. I’m usu­al­ly cred­it­ed with chang­ing [‘Will’] to ‘Shall,’ but there was a black woman who taught at High­lander Cen­ter, a won­der­ful per­son named Sep­ti­ma Clark. And she always liked shall, too, I’m told.

Accord­ing to Seeger in the inter­view above—con­duct­ed by Josh Baron before a 2010 performance—the per­son most respon­si­ble for “mak­ing it the num­ber one song back in those days” was the Music Direc­tor of the High­lander Folk Cen­ter, Guy Carawan, who “sent mes­sages to the civ­il rights move­ment all through the South from Texas to Flori­da to Mary­land.” Carawan “intro­duced this song with a new rhythm that I had nev­er heard before.” Seeger goes on to describe the rhythm in detail, then says “it was the hit song of the week­end in Feb­ru­ary 1960…. It was not a song, it was the song all across the South. I’ve found out since then that the song start­ed off as a union song in the 19th cen­tu­ry.”

In this par­tic­u­lar inter­view, Seeger takes full cred­it for chang­ing the “will” to “shall.” Although it was “the only record [he] made which sold,” he did­n’t seek to cash in on his changes (Seeger shared the copy­right with Zil­phia Hor­ton, Carawan, and Frank Hamil­ton). As you can eas­i­ly see from the numer­ous eulo­gies and trib­utes pop­ping up all over (or a quick scan of the “Pete Seeger Appre­ci­a­tion Page”), Seeger deserves to be remem­bered for much more than his six­ties folk singing, but he per­haps did more than any­one to make “We Shall Over­come” a song sung by a nation. And as he tells it, it was song he hoped would res­onate world­wide:

I was singing for some young Luther­an church peo­ple in Sun­dance, Ida­ho, and there were some old­er peo­ple who were mis­trust­ful of my lefty pol­i­tics.  They said: ‘Who are you intend­ing to over­come?’ I said: ‘Well, in Sel­ma, Alaba­ma they’re prob­a­bly think­ing of Chief Pritch­ett.; they will over­come. And I am sure Dr. King is think­ing of the sys­tem of seg­re­ga­tion across the whole coun­try, not just the South. For me, it means the entire world. We’ll over­come our ten­den­cies to solve our prob­lems with killing and learn to work togeth­er to bring this world togeth­er.

Via Blank on Blank

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pete Seeger Dies at 94: Remem­ber the Amer­i­can Folk Leg­end with a Price­less Film from 1947

94-Year-Old Pete Seeger Sings “This Land is Your Land” at Farm Aid

Willie Nel­son, Pete Seeger, and Arlo Guthrie at Occu­py Wall Street

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Harold Bloom Creates a Massive List of Works in The “Western Canon”: Read Many of the Books Free Online


I have lit­tle desire to rehash the pol­i­tics, but the facts are plain: by the time I arrived in col­lege as an under­grad­u­ate Eng­lish major in the mid-90s, the idea of the “West­ern Canon” as a con­tain­er of—in the words of a famous hymn—“all that’s good, and great, and true” was seri­ous­ly on the wane, to put it mild­ly. And in many quar­ters of acad­e­mia, men­tion of the name of Yale lit­er­ary crit­ic Harold Bloom pro­voked, at the very least, a raised eye­brow and point­ed silence. Bloom’s rep­u­ta­tion per­haps unfair­ly fell vic­tim to the so-called “Canon Wars,” like­ly at times because of a misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion with polit­i­cal philoso­pher Allan Bloom. That Bloom was him­self no ide­o­logue, writes Jim Sleep­er; he was a close friend of Saul Bel­low and “an eccen­tric inter­preter of Enlight­en­ment thought who led an Epi­cure­an, qui­et­ly gay life.” Nonethe­less, his fiery attack on chang­ing aca­d­e­m­ic val­ues, The Clos­ing of the Amer­i­can Mind, became a text­book of the neo­con­ser­v­a­tive right.

Though Harold Bloom wished to dis­tance him­self from cul­ture war polemics, he has unapolo­get­i­cal­ly prac­ticed what Allan Bloom preached, teach­ing the Canon­i­cal “great books” of lit­er­a­ture and reli­gion and oppos­ing all man­ner of crit­ics on the left, whom he lumps togeth­er in the phrase “the School of Resent­ment.” Bloom’s 1973 The Anx­i­ety of Influ­ence has itself exert­ed a major influ­ence on lit­er­ary stud­ies, and best-sell­ing pop­u­lar works, like 1998’s Shake­speare: The Inven­tion of the Human, have kept Harold Bloom’s name in cir­cu­la­tion even when schol­ar­ly cita­tions of his work declined. In 1994, Bloom re-affirmed his com­mit­ment to the Canon with The West­ern Canon: The Books and School of the Agesa fierce sor­tie against his so-called “School of Resent­ment” adver­saries and a work Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta pro­fes­sor Nor­man Fru­man called a “hero­ical­ly brave, for­mi­da­bly learned and often unbear­ably sad response to the present state of the human­i­ties.” (Hear Bloom dis­cuss the book with  Eleanor Wach­tel in a 1995 CBC inter­view.)

The West­ern Canon is tight­ly focused on only 26 authors, but in a series of four appen­dices, Bloom lists the hun­dreds of oth­er names he con­sid­ers canon­i­cal. For all of Bloom’s ornery defen­sive­ness, his list is sur­pris­ing­ly inclu­sive, as well as—for Fruman—surprisingly idio­syn­crat­ic. (Bloom lat­er dis­avowed the list, claim­ing that his edi­tor insist­ed on it.) Like a clas­si­cal philol­o­gist, Bloom divides his Canon into four “ages” or peri­ods: The Theo­crat­ic Age (2000 BCE-1321 CE); The Aris­to­crat­ic Age (1321–1832); The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Age: 1832–1900); and The Chaot­ic Age (20th Cen­tu­ry). You can view the com­plete list here. Below, we’ve com­piled a very par­tial, but still siz­able, excerpt of texts from Bloom’s list that are avail­able online through the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ade­laide’s ebook library. For all of the unpop­u­lar posi­tions he has tak­en over the past few decades, Bloom’s immense eru­di­tion, expan­sive intel­lect, and sin­cere com­mit­ment to the human­i­ties have nev­er been in ques­tion. As a dis­tin­guished exem­plar of a fad­ing tra­di­tion, he is an invalu­able resource for stu­dents and lovers of lit­er­a­ture.

A: “The Theocratic Age”

The Ancient Greeks

Homer (ca.800BC)
Ili­ad; Odyssey.
Hes­iod (ca.700BC)
Works and Days; Theogony.
Sap­pho (ca.600BC)
Aeschy­lus (525 BC — 456 BC)
Oresteia; Sev­en Against Thebes; Prometheus Bound; Per­sians; Sup­pli­ant Women.
Sopho­cles (c. 496‑c. 405 BC)
Oedi­pus the King; Oedi­pus at Colonus; Antigone; Elec­tra; Ajax; Women of Tra­chis; Philoctetes.
Euripi­des (480 or 484–406 BC)
Cyclops; Her­a­cles; Alces­tis; Hecu­ba; Bac­chae; Orestes; Andro­mache; Medea; Ion; Hip­poly­tus; Helen; Iphi­ge­nia at Aulis.
Aristo­phanes (ca. 446 BC — 385 BC)
The Birds; The Clouds; The Frogs; Lysis­tra­ta; The Knights; The Wasps; The Assem­bly­women.
Herodotus, 485–420BCE
The His­to­ries.
Thucy­dides, ca.460 BCE
The Pelo­pon­nesian Wars.
Pla­to, c.427‑c.347 BCE
Aris­to­tle, 384–322 BCE
Poet­ics; Ethics.

Hellenistic Greeks

Menan­der, ca. 342–291 BC
The Girl from Samos.
Plutarch, 46–120
Lives; Moralia.
Aesop (620 — 560 BC)
Petro­n­ius, c.27–66

The Romans

Ter­ence, 195/185–159 BC
The Girl from Andros; The Eunuch; The Moth­er-in-Law.
Lucretius, 98?–55 BCE
The Way Things Are.
Mar­cus Tul­lius Cicero, 106–43 BCE
On the Gods.
Horace, 65–8 BCE
Odes; Epis­tles; Satires.
Cat­ul­lus (c.84 B.C. — c.54 B.C.)
Attis and Oth­er Poems.
Vir­gil (70–19 BC)
Aeneid; Eclogues; Geor­gics.
Ovid (43 BC — 17 AD)
Meta­mor­phoses; The Art of Love; Hero­ides.
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca.4 BCE–65 CE
Tragedies, par­tic­u­lar­ly Medea and Her­cules Furens.
Petro­n­ius, c.27–66
Apuleius, c. 123/125‑c. 180
The Gold­en Ass.

The Middle Ages: Latin, Arabic, and the Vernacular Before Dante

Augus­tine of Hip­po, 354–430
City of God; Con­fes­sions.
Wol­fram von Eschen­bach, 1170–1220
Chré­tien de Troyes, 12th cent
Yvain: The Knight of the Lion.
Beowulf (ca.800)

B: “The Aristocratic Age”


Dante (1265 — 1321)
The Divine Com­e­dy; The New Life.
Petrar­ch, 1304–1374
Lyric Poems; Selec­tions.
Gio­van­ni Boc­cac­cio, 1313–1375
The Decameron.
Mat­teo Maria Boiar­do, 1440 or 41–1494.
Orlan­do Innamora­to.
Lodovi­co Arios­to, 1474–1533
Orlan­do Furioso.
Machi­avel­li, Nic­colò, 1469–1527
The Prince; The Man­drake, a Com­e­dy.
Ben­venu­to Celli­ni, 1500–1571
Tom­ma­so Cam­panel­la, 1568–1639
Poems; The City of the Sun.


Miguel de Cer­vantes, 1547–1616
Don Quixote; Exem­plary Sto­ries.
Pedro Calderon de la Bar­ca, 1600–1681
Life is a Dream; The May­or of Zalamea; The Mighty Magi­cian; The Doc­tor of His Own Hon­or.

England and Scotland

Chaucer, Geof­frey (ca.1343–1400)
The Can­ter­bury Tales; Troilus and Criseyde.
Thomas Mal­o­ry, 1430–1471
Le Morte D’Arthur.
Thomas More, 1478–1535
Philip Sid­ney, 1554–1586.
The Count­ess of Pem­broke’s Arca­dia; Astro­phel and Stel­la; An Apol­o­gy for Poet­ry.
Edmund Spenser, 1552–1599
The Faerie Queene; The Minor Poems.
Christo­pher Mar­lowe, 1564–1593
Poems and Plays.
Thomas Nashe, 1567–1601
The Unfor­tu­nate Trav­eller.
William Shake­speare, 1564–1616
Plays and Poems.
John Donne, 1572–1631
Poems; Ser­mons.
Ben Jon­son, 1573–1637
Poems, Plays, and Masques.
Fran­cis Bacon, 1561–1626
Robert Bur­ton, 1577–1640
The Anato­my of Melan­choly.
Thomas Browne, 1605–1682
Reli­gio Medici; Hydri­o­taphia, or Urne-Buri­all; The Gar­den of Cyrus.
Thomas Hobbes, 1588–1679
Her­rick, Robert, 1591–1674
Andrew Mar­vell, 1621–1678
John Ford, 1586-ca.1640
‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore.
John Web­ster, c.1580‑c.1634
The White Dev­il; The Duchess of Mal­fi.
Iza­ak Wal­ton, 1593–1683
The Com­pleat Angler.
John Mil­ton, 1608–1674
Par­adise Lost; Par­adise Regained; Lyci­das, Comus, and the Minor Poems; Sam­son Ago­nistes; Are­opagit­i­ca.
John Aubrey, 1626–1697
Brief Lives.
Samuel But­ler, 1612–1680
John Dry­den, 1631–1700
Poet­ry and Plays; Crit­i­cal Essays.
Jonathan Swift, 1667–1745
A Tale of a Tub; Gul­liv­er’s Trav­els; Short­er Prose Works; Poems.
Alexan­der Pope, 1688–1744
John Gay, 1685–1732
The Beg­gar’s Opera.
James Boswell, 1740–1795
Life of John­son; Jour­nals.
Samuel John­son, 1709–1784
Edward Gib­bon, 1737–1794
The His­to­ry of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Edmund Burke, 1729–1797
A Philo­soph­i­cal Enquiry into the Sub­lime and Beau­ti­ful; Reflec­tions on the Rev­o­lu­tion in France
Oliv­er Gold­smith, 1728–1774
The Vic­ar of Wake­field; She Stoops to Con­quer; The Trav­eller; The Desert­ed Vil­lage.
Richard Brins­ley Sheri­dan, 1751–1816
The School of Scan­dal; The Rivals.
William Cow­per, 1731–1800
Poet­i­cal Works.
Defoe, Daniel (1661?-1731)
Moll Flan­ders; Robin­son Cru­soe; A Jour­nal of the Plague Year.
Samuel Richard­son, 1689–1761.
Claris­sa; Pamela; Sir Charles Gran­di­son.
Hen­ry Field­ing, 1707–1754
Joseph Andrews; The His­to­ry of Tom Jones, a Foundling.
Tobias Smol­lett, 1721–1771
The Expe­di­tion of Humphry Clink­er; The Adven­tures of Rod­er­ick Ran­dom.
Lau­rence Sterne, 1713–1768
The Life and Opin­ions of Tris­tram Shandy, Gen­tle­man; A Sen­ti­men­tal Jour­ney Through France and Italy.
Fan­ny Bur­ney, 1752–1840


Michel de Mon­taigne, 1533–1592
Fran­cois Rabelais, 1494?-1553?
Gar­gan­tua and Pan­ta­gru­el.
Mar­guerite de Navarre, 1492–1549
The Hep­tameron.
Jean de La Fontaine, 1621–1695
Molière, 1622–1673
The Mis­an­thrope; Tartuffe; The School for Wives; The Learned Ladies; Don Juan; School for Hus­bands; Ridicu­lous Pre­cieuses; The Would-Be Gen­tle­man; The Miser; The Imag­i­nary Invalid.
Blaise Pas­cal, 1623–1662
Rousseau, Jean–Jacques, 1712–1778
The Con­fes­sions; Émile; La Nou­velle Héloïse.
Voltaire, 1694–1778
Zadig; Can­dide; Let­ters on Eng­land; The Lis­bon Earth­quake.


Eras­mus of Rot­ter­dam, 1466–1536
In Praise of Fol­ly.
Johann Wolf­gang von Goethe, 1749–1832
Faust, Parts One and Two; Dich­tung und Wahrheit; Egmont; Elec­tive Affini­ties; The Sor­rows of Young Werther; Poems; Wil­helm Meis­ter’s Appren­tice­ship; Wil­helm Meis­ter’s Years of Wan­der­ing; Ital­ian Jour­ney; Verse Plays; Her­mann and Dorothea; Roman Ele­gies; Venet­ian Epi­grams; West-East­ern Divan.
Friedrich Schiller, 1759–1805
The Rob­bers; Mary Stu­art; Wal­len­stein; Don Car­los; On the Naïve and Sen­ti­men­tal in Lit­er­a­ture.

C: “The Democratic Age”


Gio­van­ni Ver­ga, 1840–1922
Lit­tle Nov­els of Sici­ly; Mas­tro-Don Gesu­al­do; The House by the Med­lar Tree; The She-Wolf and Oth­er Sto­ries.


Vic­tor Hugo, 1802–1885
The Dis­tance, the Shad­ows: Select­ed Poems; Les Mis­érables; Notre-Dame of Paris; William Shake­speare; The Toil­ers of the Sea; The End of Satan; God.
Gau­ti­er, Théophile, 1811–1872
Made­moi­selle de Maupin; Enam­els and Cameos.
Balzac, Hon­oré de, 1799–1850
The Girl with the Gold­en Eyes; Louis Lam­bert; The Wild Ass’s Skin; Old Gori­ot; Cousin Bette; A Har­lot High and Low; Eugénie Grandet; Ursule Mirou­et.
Stend­hal, 1783–1842
On Love; The Red and the Black; The Char­ter­house of Par­ma.
Gus­tave Flaubert, 1821–1880
Madame Bovary; Sen­ti­men­tal Edu­ca­tion; Salamm­bô; A Sim­ple Soul.
George Sand, 1804–1876
The Haunt­ed Pool.
Charles Baude­laire, 1821–1867
Flow­ers of Evil; Paris Spleen.
Guy de Mau­pas­sant, 1850–1893
Select­ed Short Sto­ries.
Emile Zola, 1840–1902
Ger­mi­nal; L’As­som­moir; Nana.


Hen­rik Ibsen, 1828–1906
Brand; Peer Gynt; Emper­or and Galilean; Hed­da Gabler; The Mas­ter Builder; The Lady from the Sea; When We Dead Awak­en.

Great Britain

William Blake, 1757–1827
Com­plete Poet­ry and Prose.
William Wordsworth, 1770–1850
Poems; The Pre­lude.
Wal­ter Scott, 1771–1832
Waver­ley; The Heart of Mid­loth­i­an; Redgaunt­let; Old Mor­tal­i­ty.
Jane Austen, 1775–1817
Pride and Prej­u­dice; Emma; Mans­field Park; Per­sua­sion.
Samuel Tay­lor Coleridge, 1772–1834
Poems and Prose.
Hazlitt, William, 1778–1830
Essays and Crit­i­cism.
George Byron, 1788–1824
Don Juan; P oems.
Thomas de Quincey, 1785–1859
Con­fes­sions of an Eng­lish Opi­um Eater; Select­ed Prose.
Maria Edge­worth, 1767–1849
Cas­tle Rack­rent.
Eliz­a­beth Gaskell, 1810–1865
Cran­ford; Mary Bar­ton; North and South.
Charles Robert Maturin, 1782–1824
Mel­moth the Wan­der­er.
Per­cy Bysshe Shel­ley, 1792–1822
Poems; A Defence of Poet­ry.
Mary Shel­ley, 1797–1851
John Keats, 1795–1821
Poems and Let­ters.
Robert Brown­ing, 1812–1889
Poems; The Ring and the Book.
Charles Dick­ens, 1812–1870
The Posthu­mous Papers of the Pick­wick Club; David Cop­per­field; The Adven­tures of Oliv­er Twist; A Tale of Two Cities; Bleak House; Hard Times; Nicholas Nick­le­by; Dombey and Son; Great Expec­ta­tions; Mar­tin Chuz­zle­wit; Christ­mas Sto­ries; Lit­tle Dor­rit; Our Mutu­al Friend; The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood.
Alfred Ten­nyson, 1809–1892
Dante Gabriel Ros­set­ti, 1828–1882
Poems and Trans­la­tions.
Matthew Arnold, 1822–1888
Poems; Essays.
Christi­na Georgina Ros­set­ti, 1830–1894.
Thomas Love Pea­cock, 1785–1866
Night­mare Abbey; Gryll Grange.
Thomas Car­lyle, 1795–1881
Select­ed Prose; Sar­tor Resar­tus.
John Ruskin, 1819–1900
Mod­ern Painters; The Stones of Venice; Unto This Last; The Queen of the Air.
John Stu­art Mill, 1806–1873
On Lib­er­ty; Auto­bi­og­ra­phy.
Antho­ny Trol­lope, 1815–1882
The Barset­shire Nov­els; The Pal­lis­er Nov­els; Orley Farm; The Way We Live Now.
Lewis Car­roll, 1832–1898
Com­plete Works.
George Giss­ing, 1857–1903
New Grub Street.
Char­lotte Bronte, 1816–1855
Jane Eyre; Vil­lette.
Emi­ly Bronte, 1818–1848
Poems; Wuther­ing Heights.
Anne Bronte, 1820–1849
William Make­peace Thack­er­ay, 1811–1863
Van­i­ty Fair; The His­to­ry of Hen­ry Esmond.
George Mered­ith, 1828–1909
Poems; The Ego­ist.
Chester­ton, G. K. (Gilbert Kei­th), 1874–1936
Col­lect­ed Poems; The Man Who Was Thurs­day.
Samuel But­ler, 1835–1902
Erewhon; The Way of All Flesh.
Wilkie Collins, 1824–1889
The Moon­stone; The Woman in White; No Name.
Thom­son, James, 1834–1882
The City of the Dread­ful Night.
Oscar Wilde, 1854–1900
Plays; The Pic­ture of Dori­an Gray; The Artist as Crit­ic; Let­ters.
George Eliot, 1819–1880
Adam Bede; Silas Marn­er; The Mill on the Floss; Mid­dle­march; Daniel Deron­da.
Robert Louis Steven­son, 1850–1894
Essays; Kid­napped; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Trea­sure Island; The New Ara­bi­an Nights; The Mas­ter of Bal­lantrae; Weir of Her­mis­ton.
William Mor­ris, 1834–1896
Ear­ly Romances; Poems; The Earth­ly Par­adise; The Well at the World’s End; News from Nowhere.
Bram Stok­er, 1847–1912
George Mac­Don­ald, 1824–1905
Lilith; At the Back of the North Wind.


Jakob Grimm, 1785–1863 and Grimm, Wil­helm, 1786–1859
Fairy Tales.
Hoff­mann, E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), 1776–1822
The Dev­il’s Elixir; Tales.
Friedrich Niet­zsche, 1844–1900
The Birth of Tragedy; Beyond Good and Evil; On the Geneal­o­gy of Morals; The Will to Pow­er.


Alek­san­dr Pushkin, 1799–1837
Com­plete Prose Tales; Com­plete Poet­ry; Eugene One­gin; Nar­ra­tive Poems; Boris Godunov.
Niko­lai Gogol, 1809–1852
The Com­plete Tales; Dead Souls; The Gov­ern­ment Inspec­tor.
Mikhail Ler­mon­tov, 1814–1841
Nar­ra­tive Poems; A Hero of Our Time.
Ivan Tur­genev, 1818–1883
A Sports­man­’s Note­book; A Month in the Coun­try; Fathers and Sons; On the Eve; First Love.
Fyo­dor Dos­toyevsky, 1821–1881
Notes from the Under­ground; Crime and Pun­ish­ment; The Idiot; The Pos­sessed (The Dev­ils); The Broth­ers Kara­ma­zov; Short Nov­els.
Leo Tol­stoy, 1828–1910
The Cos­sacks; War and Peace; Anna Karen­i­na; A Con­fes­sion; The Pow­er of Dark­ness; Short Nov­els.
Anton Chekhov, 1860–1904
The Tales; The Major Plays.

The United States

Wash­ing­ton Irv­ing, 1783–1859
The Sketch Book.
James Fen­i­more Coop­er, 1789–1851.
The Deer­slay­ers.
Ralph Wal­do Emer­son, 1803–1882
Nature; Essays; Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Men; The Con­duct of Life; Jour­nals; Poems.
Emi­ly Dick­in­son, 1830–1886
Com­plete Poems.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804–1864
The Scar­let Let­ter; Tales and Sketch­es; The Mar­ble Faun; Note­books.
Her­man Melville, 1819–1891
Moby-Dick; The Piaz­za Tales; Bil­ly Budd; Col­lect­ed Poems; Clarel.
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809–1849
Poet­ry and Tales; Essays and Reviews; The Nar­ra­tive of Arthur Gor­don Pym; Eure­ka.
Hen­ry David Thore­au, 1817–1862
Walden; Poems; Essays.
Hen­ry Wadsworth Longfel­low, 1807–1882
Select­ed Poems.
Ambrose Bierce, 1842–1913
Col­lect­ed Writ­ings.
Louisa May Alcott, 1832–1888
Lit­tle Women.
Kate Chopin, 1850–1904
The Awak­en­ing.
William Dean How­ells, 1837–1920
The Rise of Silas Lapham; A Mod­ern Instance.
Hen­ry James, 1843–1916
The Por­trait of a Lady; The Bosto­ni­ans; The Princess Casamas­si­ma; The Awk­ward Age; Short Nov­els and Tales; The Ambas­sadors; The Wings of the Dove; The Gold­en Bowl
Mark Twain, 1835–1910
Com­plete Short Sto­ries; The Adven­tures of Huck­le­ber­ry Finn; The Dev­il’s Race­track; Num­ber Forty-Four: The Mys­te­ri­ous Stranger; Pud­d’n­head Wil­son; A Con­necti­cut Yan­kee in King Arthur’s Court.
William James, 1842–1910
The Vari­eties of Reli­gious Expe­ri­ence; Prag­ma­tism.

D: “The Chaotic Age”


Ana­tole France, 1844–1924
Pen­guin Island; Thaïs.
Mar­cel Proust, 1871–1922
Remem­brance of Things Past (In Search of Lost Time).
Albert Camus, 1913–1960
The Stranger; The Plague; The Fall; The Rebel.

Great Britain and Ireland.

Yeats, W. B. (William But­ler), 1865–1939
The Col­lect­ed Poems; Col­lect­ed Plays; A Vision; Mytholo­gies.
George Bernard Shaw, 1856–1950
Major Crit­i­cal Essays; Heart­break House; Pyg­malion; Saint Joan; Major Bar­bara; Back to Methuse­lah.
John Milling­ton Syn­ge, 1871–1909
Col­lect­ed Plays.
George Dou­glas Brown, 1869–1902
The House with the Green Shut­ters.
Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928
The Well-Beloved; The Wood­lan­ders; The Return of the Native; The May­or of Cast­er­bridge; Far From the Madding Crowd; Tess of the D’Urbervilles; Jude the Obscure; Col­lect­ed Poems.
Rud­yard Kipling, 1865–1936
Kim; Col­lect­ed Sto­ries; Puck of Pook’s Hill; Com­plete Verse.
Hous­man, A. E., 1859–1936
Col­lect­ed Poems.
Joseph Con­rad, 1857–1924
Lord Jim; The Secret Agent; Nos­tro­mo; Under West­ern Eyes; Vic­to­ry.
Ronald Fir­bank, 1886–1926
Five Nov­els.
Ford Madox Ford, 1873–1939
Parade’s End; The Good Sol­dier.
Saki, 1870–1916
The Short Sto­ries.
Wells, H. G., 1866–1946
The Sci­ence Fic­tion Nov­els.
David Lind­say, 1876–1945
A Voy­age to Arc­turus.
Arnold Ben­nett, 1867–1931.
The Old Wives’ Tale.
John Galswor­thy, 1867–1933
The Forsyth Saga.
Lawrence, D. H., 1885–1930
Com­plete Poems; Stud­ies in Clas­sic Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture; Com­plete Short Sto­ries; Sons and Lovers; The Rain­bow; Women in Love.
Vir­ginia Woolf, 1882–1941
Mrs. Dal­loway; To the Light­house; Orlan­do: A Biog­ra­phy; The Waves; Between the Acts.
James Joyce, 1882–1941
Dublin­ers; Por­trait of the Artist as a Young Man; Ulysses; Finnegans Wake.
George Orwell, 1903–1950
Col­lect­ed Essays; 1984.


Franz Kaf­ka, 1883–1924
Ameri­ka; The Com­plete Sto­ries; The Blue Octa­vo Note­book; The Tri­al; Diaries; The Cas­tle; Para­bles, Frag­ments, Apho­risms.


Mak­sim Gorky, 1868–1936
Rem­i­nis­cences of Tol­stoy, Chekhov, and Andreev; Auto­bi­og­ra­phy.


Knut Ham­sun, 1859–1952
Hunger; Pan.


Karel Čapek, 1890–1938
War with the Newts; R.U.R.

Australia and New Zealand.

Miles Franklin, 1879–1954
My Bril­liant Career.
Kather­ine Mans­field, 1888–1923
The Short Sto­ries.

The United States.

Edith Whar­ton, 1862–1937
Col­lect­ed Short Sto­ries; The Age of Inno­cence; Ethan Frome; The House of Mirth; The Cus­tom of the Coun­try.
Willa Cather, 1873–1947
My Anto­nia; The Pro­fes­sor’s House; A Lost Lady.
Gertrude Stein, 1874–1946
Three Lives; The Geo­graph­i­cal His­to­ry of Amer­i­ca; The Mak­ing of Amer­i­cans; Ten­der But­tons.
Theodore Dreis­er, 1871–1945
Sis­ter Car­rie; An Amer­i­can Tragedy.
Sin­clair Lewis, 1885–1951
Bab­bitt; It Can’t Hap­pen Here.
Eugene O’Neill, 1888–1953
Lazarus Laughed; The Ice­man Cometh; Long Day’s Jour­ney into Night.
Fitzger­ald, F. Scott, 1896–1940
Baby­lon Revis­it­ed and Oth­er Sto­ries; The Great Gats­by; Ten­der is the Night.
Nathanael West, 1903–1940
Miss Lone­ly­hearts; A Cool Mil­lion; The Day of the Locust.

Of this last Appendix–which ends with Tony Kush­n­er’s Angels in Amer­i­ca and includes a great degree of diversity–Bloom writes: “I am not as con­fi­dent about this list as the first three. Cul­tur­al prophe­cy is always a mug’s game. Not all of the works here can prove to be canon­i­cal . . . lit­er­ary over­pop­u­la­tion is a haz­ard to many among them. But I have nei­ther exclud­ed nor includ­ed on the basis of cul­tur­al pol­i­tics of any kind.” Again, the selec­tions above are very lim­it­ed. Before you ask, “what about x, y, or z!” see Bloom’s full list here. And if you still do not find authors you believe deserve inclu­sion in any ver­sion of the West­ern Canon, pick up a copy of Bloom’s book to learn more about his crit­i­cal cri­te­ria.

A decent num­ber of the texts above can also be found in our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books col­lec­tions.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Harold Bloom Recites ‘Tea at the Palaz of Hoon’ by Wal­lace Stevens

Harold Bloom on the Ghast­ly Decline of the Human­i­ties (and on Obama’s Poet­ry)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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