It Might As Well Be Springing Eternally
Encylopedia Miscellannica

Entering the Lists

Thanks to Kimberly Swygert's Number 2 Pencil, I have found the source of the book list below.

The list comes from The College Board, where it is presented as "101 Great Books: Recommended for H.S. Students & Readers of All Ages". A comment to my prior post noted -- as one always can with lists, especially those that seem to have been put together because they are Good For You -- some sins of inclusion and omission, notably the absence of John Milton. As it happens, the Board also offers two supplemental lists, one of Classic Cultural and Historical Texts and another of Poetry (which still excludes Milton). Both are to be found here.

For the benefit those who are playing along at home, I have reproduced the additional lists in the extended portion of this post, with bolding and comment as before.

And as before, bolded titles are those I actually claim to have read. First up, the Cultural and Historical Texts:

The Arabian Nights [I've read them -- all of them -- in Sir Richard Francis Burton's copiously footnoted translation]
Kennedy, John F. - Profiles in Courage
The Bible [I have read enough to bold it, but I don't for a moment claim to have covered everything in it]
King Jr., Martin Luther - A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Adams, Henry - The Education of Henry Adams
Malory, Sir Thomas - Morte D’Arthur
Aesop - Aesop’s Fables [not bolded because never read systematically]
Machiavelli, Niccolo - The Prince
Andersen, Hans Christian - Andersen’s Fairy Tales [see comment re Aesop, supra]
Marx, Karl - The Communist Manifesto
Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics
Paine, Thomas - Common Sense
DuBois, W.E.B. - The Souls of Black Folk
Plato - The Republic
Franklin, Benjamin - Autobiography
de Tocqueville, Alexis - Democracy in America [excerpts here and there; it's actually on my to-do list for this year]
Hamilton, Edith - Mythology
X, Malcolm - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Hamilton, Alexander, et al. - The Federalist Papers [most, not all]

Next up, the Poetry list. The Board has generally chosen individual shorter poems instead of long works (e.g., Paradise Lost); the selection of collected volumes -- Gertrude Stein?!? -- is more than a tad eccentric. Indeed, the governing principle behind this list is difficult to deduce at best. In any case, here we go:

Blake, William - “London” and “The Tyger
Keats, John - “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and “The Eve of St. Agnes” [my favorite phrase from "St. Agnes" -- "lucent syrops" -- appeared here last August in the title of a post ostensibly about, of all things, Bullwinkle J. Moose]
Brooks, Gwendolyn - “We Real Cool,” “The Mother” and “The Bean Eaters”
Moore, Marianne - “Marriage,” “Poetry” and “The Fish
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor - “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kublai Khan” and “Frost at Midnight”
O’Hara, Frank - “Why I Am Not a Painter,” “The Day Lady Died” and “Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed)” [I've read one portion of "The Day Lady Died," as can you, in the context of Aaron Haspel's recent consideration of Free Verse Scansion]
Dickinson, Emily - “There’s a certain Slant of light,” “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” and “Because I could not stop for Death
Shakespeare, William - Sonnets
Donne, John - “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” “Death, be not proud” [Holy Sonnet 10] and “The Flea
Stein, Gertrude - Tender Buttons, Stanzas in Meditation [enough to prefer not to read more]
Eliot, T.S. - “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Williams, William Carlos - “The Red Wheelbarrow,” “This is Just to Say” and Spring and All
Hopkins, Gerard Manley - “God’s Grandeur,” “Windhover” and “Carrion Comfort
Wordsworth, William - “Tintern Abbey,” “Prelude” and Lyrical Ballads (with S.T. Coleridge) [that's quite enough Wordsworth for one lifetime, or several]
Hughes, Langston - “Theme for English B” and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Your turn. Carry on.


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