|Part of a series on|
|Age of Enlightenment|
|Part of a series on|
|Learning to read|
|Scientific Theories & Models|
|Reading differences & disabilities|
Great books are written publications that have been accepted by modern day scholars as the essential foundation of literature in Western culture. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines them as certain classics of literature, philosophy, history, and science that are believed to contain the basic ideas of western culture. Over the years it has become customary for institutes of higher education to incorporate these readings into their curriculum. The reason for the study of these classical texts is to both allow and encourage students to become familiar with some of the most revered authors throughout history. This helps to ensure that students and newly found scholars are equipped with a plethora of resources to utilize throughout their studies.
The great books are used in conjunction with literary classes in higher education courses, but are often taught in separate subcategories designed for the tone of the intended learning environment. Mortimer Adler used 500 books, out of the list of 517 books within the conglomeration of mixed titles, to teach his pupils expanded literary knowledge past that of their current generation. While Adler stuck to the original list, with a few differences to some novels, many chose to omit many of these titles in order to suit an undergraduate class semester by allowing for only 130 books, such as Torrey Honors Institute. For more thorough literary criticisms, people such as Harold Bloom have comprised lists of volumes including up to 2400 books of differing natures.(2,400 books, Harold Bloom)
The great books are those that tradition, and various institutions and authorities, have regarded as constituting or best expressing the foundations of Western culture (the Western canon is a similar but broader designation); derivatively the term also refers to a curriculum or method of education based around a list of such books. Mortimer Adler lists three criteria for including a book on the list:
- the book has contemporary significance; that is, it has relevance to the problems and issues of our times;
- the book is inexhaustible; it can be read again and again with benefit; "This is an exacting criterion, an ideal that is fully attained by only a small number of the 511 works that we selected. It is approximated in varying degrees by the rest."
- the book is relevant to a large number of the great ideas and great issues that have occupied the minds of thinking individuals for the last 25 centuries.
Thomas Jefferson, well known for his interest in higher education, frequently composed great books lists for his friends and correspondents, for example, for Peter Carr in 1785 and again in 1787.
In 1909, Harvard University published a 51-volume Great Books series, titled the Harvard Classics. These volumes are now in the public domain.
The Great Books of the Western World came about as the result of a discussion among American academics and educators, starting in the 1920s and 1930s and begun by Prof. John Erskine of Columbia University, about how to improve the higher education system by returning it to the western liberal arts tradition of broad cross-disciplinary learning. These academics and educators included Robert Hutchins, Mortimer Adler, Stringfellow Barr, Scott Buchanan, Jacques Barzun, and Alexander Meiklejohn. The view among them was that the emphasis on narrow specialization in American colleges had harmed the quality of higher education by failing to expose students to the important products of Western civilization and thought.
They were at odds both with much of the existing educational establishment and with contemporary educational theory, which caused educational theorists like Sidney Hook and John Dewey (see pragmatism) to disagree with the premise that there was crossover in education.
In 1920, Professor Erskine taught the first course based on the "Great Books" program, titled "General Honors", at Columbia University, and helped mould its core curriculum. The course, however, initially began to fail shortly after its introduction due to numerous disputes between senior faculty over the best way to conduct classes, as well as concerns about the rigour of the courses. This resulted in junior faculty, including Mark Van Doren and Mortimer Adler after 1923, teaching parts of the course. The course was discontinued in 1928, though later reinstated. Adler left for the University of Chicago in 1929, where he continued his work on the theme, and along with the University president, Robert M. Hutchins, held an annual seminar of great books. In 1937, when Mark Van Doren redesigned the course, it was already being taught at St. John's College, Annapolis, in addition to the University of Chicago. This course was later named Humanities A for freshmen, and then subsequently evolved into Literature Humanities. Survivors, however, include Columbia's Core Curriculum, the Common Core at Chicago, and the Core Curriculum at Boston University, each heavily focused on the "great books" of the Western canon.
Modern day university and college Great Books Programs are inspired by the Great Books movement that began in the United States during the 1920s. The aim of such programs is a return to the Western Liberal Arts tradition in education, as a correction to the extreme disciplinary specializations common within the academy. The essential component of such programs is a high degree of engagement with whole primary texts, the Great Books. The curricula of Great Books programs often follow a canon of texts considered more or less essential to a student's education, such as Plato's Republic, or Dante's Divine Comedy. Such programs often focus exclusively on Western culture. Their employment of primary texts dictates an interdisciplinary approach, as most of the Great Books do not fall neatly under the prerogative of a single contemporary academic discipline. Great Books programs often include designated discussion groups as well as lectures, and have small class sizes. In general students in such programs receive an abnormally high degree of attention from their professors, as part of the overall aim of fostering a community of learning.
There are only a few true "Great Books Programs" still in operation. These schools focus almost exclusively on the Great Books Curriculum throughout enrolment and do not offer classes analogous to those commonly offered at other colleges. The first, and most well known, of these schools is St. John's College in Annapolis and Santa Fe (program established in 1937); it was followed by Shimer College in Chicago, the Integral Program at Saint Mary's College of California (1955), Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California (est. 1971), Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire (est. 1978), and Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. More recent schools with this type of curriculum include New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho (est. 1994), Gutenberg College in Eugene, Oregon (est. 1994), Harrison Middleton University in Tempe, Arizona (est. 1998), Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming (est. 2005), and Imago Dei College in Oak Glen, California (est. 2010). Fordham University's Honors Program at Rose Hill incorporates the Great Books curriculum into a rigorous first four semesters in the program. Loyola University Chicago's Honors Program combines a Great Books curriculum with additional elective classes on subjects not covered in traditional Western thought over a rigorous four year program. The University of Notre Dame's Program of Liberal Studies, established in 1950, is a highly regarded Great Books Program that operates as a separate institution within the College of Liberal Arts. Dharma Realm Buddhist University is the first Great Books school to offer curriculum combining Eastern and Western classics.
The Center for the Study of the Great Ideas advances the Great Conversation found in the Great Books by providing Adler's guidance, and resource materials through both live and on-line seminars, educational and philosophical consultation, international presence on the Internet, access to the Center's library collection of books, essays, articles, journals and audio/video programs. Center programs are unique in that they do not replicate other existing programs either started or developed by Adler.
Over 100 institutions of higher learning in the United States, Canada, and Europe maintain some version of a Great Books Program as an option for students. Among these are:
- American Public University System
- Azusa Pacific University Honors College
- Baylor University, Great Texts
- Bethlehem College & Seminary, Omnia Program
- Biola University, Torrey Honors Institute
- Boston College
- Boston University
- Columbia University
- Dharma Realm Buddhist University
- East Carolina University Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
- Faulkner University
- Fordham University, Rose Hill, Honors Program
- Franciscan University of Steubenville
- George Fox University, Honors Program
- Gutenberg College
- Harrison Middleton University
- Hillsdale College
- Houston Baptist University, Honors College
- Iona College
- Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts
- Mercer University
- Middlebury College
- New York University, Gallatin Program, Liberal Studies Program
- Palm Beach Atlantic University
- Pepperdine University
- Saint Anselm College
- St. John's College
- Saint Mary's College of California (Moraga), Integral Liberal Arts Program
- Shimer College
- Templeton Honors College at Eastern University
- Thomas Aquinas College
- Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
- University of Chicago
- University of Dallas
- University of Michigan
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- University of Notre Dame
- University of San Francisco, St. Ignatius Institute
- University of Texas at Austin, Thomas Jefferson Center
- University of West Florida, Kugelman Honors Program
- Wilbur Wright College
- Wyoming Catholic College
- Xavier University (Cincinnati)
- The College of the Humanities at Carleton University, Ottawa
- The Liberal Arts College at Concordia University, Montreal
- Liberal Studies at Vancouver Island University
- St. Thomas University (New Brunswick)
- University of King's College (Foundation Year Programme)
- The Arts One Program at the University of British Columbia
- The Centre for Preparatory & Liberal Studies at George Brown College, Toronto
- Ashoka University (India)
- Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
- Shalem College (Israel)
In contemporary scholarship, the Great Books curriculum was drawn into the popular debate about multiculturalism, traditional education, the "culture war," and the role of the intellectual in American life. Many had issue with the lack of culture added to this list in both the first and second editions due to its lack of diversity in ethnic origin, as many Hispanic and African American documents were overlooked because they did not meet the ideals, of the Great ideas that the chosen texts had to meet a total of 25 of at the least, to be considered as Great books. Much of this debate centered on reactions to the publication of The Closing of the American Mind in 1987 by Allan Bloom. In his book, Allan Bloom suggested that the shortcomings of teaching the methods of the Great books is that it focuses primarily on historical reading without allowing for point of view of the reader in today’s day in age. He argued that this limited the ability for our knowledge to grow, given that no perspective was given in regards to the advancement of civilization past the date of these books.
The Great Books of the Western World is a hardcover 60-volume collection (originally 54 volumes) of the books on the Great Books list (517 individual works). A prominent feature of the collection is a two-volume Syntopicon (meaning "a collection of topics") that includes essays written by Mortimer Adler on 102 "great ideas." Following each essay is an extensive outline of the idea with page references to relevant passages throughout the collection. The collection is available from Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., which owns the copyright.
Shortly after Adler retired from the Great Books Foundation in 1989, a second edition (1990) of the Great Books of the Western World was published; it included more Hispanic and female authors and, for the first time, works by black authors. During his tenure as president of the Foundation, Adler had resisted such additions.
We did not base our selections on an author's nationality, religion, politics, or field of study; nor on an author's race or gender. Great books were not chosen to make up quotas of any kind; there was no "affirmative action" in the process ... we chose the Great books on the basis of their relevance to at least 25 of the 102 great ideas. Many of the Great books are relevant to a much larger number of the 102 great ideas, as many as 75 or more great ideas, a few to all 102 great ideas. In sharp contrast are the good books that are relevant to less than 10 or even as few as 4 or 5 great ideas. We placed such books in the lists of Recommended Readings to be found in the last section in each of the 102 chapters of the "Syntopicon". Here readers will find many twentieth-century female authors, black authors, and Latin American authors whose works we recommended but did not include in the second edition of the great books.
In the course of history ... new books have been written that have won their place in the list. Books once thought entitled to belong to it have been superseded; and this process of change will continue as long as men can think and write. It is the task of every generation to reassess the tradition in which it lives, to discard what it cannot use, and to bring into context with the distant and intermediate past the most recent contributions to the Great Conversation.
Ancient (before AD 500) :
- Homer – Iliad; Odyssey
- The Old Testament
- Aeschylus – Tragedies
- Sophocles – Tragedies
- Herodotus – Histories
- Euripides – Tragedies
- Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War
- Hippocrates – Medical Writings
- Aristophanes – Comedies
- Plato – Dialogues
- Aristotle – Works
- Epicurus – "Letter to Herodotus"; "Letter to Menoecus"
- Euclid – Elements
- Archimedes – Works
- Apollonius – Conics
- Cicero – Works (esp. Orations; On Friendship; On Old Age; Republic; Laws; Tusculan Disputations; Offices)
- Lucretius – On the Nature of Things
- Virgil – Works (esp. Aeneid)
- Horace – Works (esp. Odes and Epodes; The Art of Poetry)
- Livy – History of Rome
- Ovid – Works (esp. Metamorphoses)
- Quintilian – Institutes of Oratory
- Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia
- Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola; Germania; Dialogus de oratoribus (Dialogue on Oratory)
- Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic
- Epictetus – Discourses; Enchiridion
- Ptolemy – Almagest
- Lucian – Works (esp. The Way to Write History; The True History; The Sale of Creeds; Alexander the Oracle Monger; Charon; The Sale of Lives; The Fisherman; Dialogue of the Gods; Dialogues of the Sea-Gods; Dialogues of the Dead)
- Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
- Galen – On the Natural Faculties
- The New Testament
- Plotinus – The Enneads
- St. Augustine – "On the Teacher"; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine
Medieval (AD 500—1450) :
- The Volsungs Saga or Nibelungenlied
- The Song of Roland
- The Saga of Burnt Njál
- Maimonides – The Guide for the Perplexed
- St. Thomas Aquinas – Of Being and Essence; Summa Contra Gentiles; Of the Governance of Rulers; Summa Theologica
- Dante Alighieri – The New Life (La Vita Nuova); "On Monarchy"; Divine Comedy
- Giovanni Boccaccio - The Decameron
- Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales
- Thomas à Kempis – The Imitation of Christ
Modern (after AD 1450) :
- Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks
- Niccolò Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy
- Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly; Colloquies
- Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
- Thomas More – Utopia
- Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises
- François Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel
- John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion
- Michel de Montaigne – Essays
- William Gilbert – On the Lodestone and Magnetic Bodies
- Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote
- Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene
- Francis Bacon – Essays; The Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum; New Atlantis
- William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays
- Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Two New Sciences
- Johannes Kepler – The Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Harmonices Mundi
- William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; Generation of Animals
- Grotius – The Law of War and Peace
- Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan; Elements of Philosophy
- René Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy; Principles of Philosophy; The Passions of the Soul
- Corneille – Tragedies (esp. The Cid, Cinna)
- John Milton – Works (esp. the minor poems; Areopagitica; Paradise Lost; Samson Agonistes)
- Molière – Comedies (esp. The Miser; The School for Wives; The Misanthrope; The Doctor in Spite of Himself; Tartuffe; The Tradesman Turned Gentleman; The Imaginary Invalid; The Affected Ladies)
- Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensées; Scientific Treatises
- John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress
- Boyle – The Sceptical Chymist
- Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light
- Benedict de Spinoza – Political Treatises; Ethics
- John Locke – A Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; An Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Some Thoughts Concerning Education
- Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies (esp. Andromache; Phaedra; Athalie (Athaliah))
- Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Opticks
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays on Human Understanding; Monadology
- Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe; Moll Flanders
- Jonathan Swift – The Battle of the Books; A Tale of a Tub; A Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal
- William Congreve – The Way of the World
- George Berkeley – A New Theory of Vision; A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
- Alexander Pope – An Essay on Criticism; The Rape of the Lock; An Essay on Man
- Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; The Spirit of the Laws
- Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary
- Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones
- Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; Lives of the Poets
- David Hume – A Treatise of Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; History of England
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Discourse on Inequality; On Political Economy; Emile: or, On Education; The Social Contract; Confessions
- Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
- Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations
- William Blackstone – Commentaries on the Laws of England
- Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace
- Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography
- James Boswell – Journal; The Life of Samuel Johnson
- Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry)
- Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers (together with the Articles of Confederation; United States Constitution and United States Declaration of Independence)
- Jeremy Bentham – Comment on the Commentaries; Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth
- Thomas Robert Malthus – An Essay on the Principle of Population
- John Dalton – A New System of Chemical Philosophy
- Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – The Phenomenology of Spirit; Science of Logic; Elements of the Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History
- William Wordsworth – Poems (esp. Lyrical Ballads; Lucy poems; sonnets; The Prelude)
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems (esp. Kubla Khan; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ); Biographia Literaria
- David Ricardo – On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation
- Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma
- Carl von Clausewitz – On War
- Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love
- François Guizot – History of Civilization in France
- Lord Byron – Don Juan
- Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism
- Michael Faraday – The Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity
- Nikolai Lobachevsky – Geometrical Researches on the Theory of Parallels
- Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology
- Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy
- Honoré Balzac – Works (esp. Le Père Goriot; Le Cousin Pons; Eugénie Grandet; Cousin Bette; César Birotteau)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal
- Victor Hugo - Les Misérables
- Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
- Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America
- John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; Principles of Political Economy; On Liberty; Considerations on Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography
- Charles Darwin – On the Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography
- William Makepeace Thackeray – Works (esp. Vanity Fair; The History of Henry Esmond; The Virginians; Pendennis)
- Charles Dickens – Works (esp. Pickwick Papers; Our Mutual Friend; David Copperfield; Dombey and Son; Oliver Twist; A Tale of Two Cities; Hard Times)
- Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine
- George Boole – The Laws of Thought
- Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – Das Kapital (Capital); The Communist Manifesto
- George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch
- Herman Melville – Typee; Moby-Dick; Billy Budd
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov
- Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories
- Henry Thomas Buckle – A History of Civilization in England
- Francis Galton – Inquiries into Human Faculties and Its Development
- Bernhard Riemann – The Hypotheses of Geometry
- Henrik Ibsen – Plays (esp. Peer Gynt; Brand; Hedda Gabler; Emperor and Galilean; A Doll's House; The Wild Duck; The Master Builder)
- Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; "What Is Art?"; Twenty-Three Tales
- Richard Dedekind – Theory of Numbers
- Wilhelm Wundt – Physiological Psychology; Outline of Psychology
- Mark Twain – The Innocents Abroad; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; The Mysterious Stranger
- Henry Adams – History of the United States; Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres; The Education of Henry Adams; Degradation of Democratic Dogma
- Charles Peirce – Chance, Love, and Logic; Collected Papers
- William Sumner – Folkways
- Oliver Wendell Holmes – The Common Law; Collected Legal Papers
- William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; A Pluralistic Universe; Essays in Radical Empiricism
- Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors
- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; On the Genealogy of Morality; The Will to Power; Twilight of the Idols; The Antichrist
- Georg Cantor – Transfinite Numbers
- Jules Henri Poincaré – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method; The Foundations of Science
- Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality; Introduction to Psychoanalysis; Beyond the Pleasure Principle; Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego; The Ego and the Id; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
- George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces
- Max Planck – Origin and Development of the Quantum Theory; Where Is Science Going?; Scientific Autobiography
- Henri Bergson – Time and Free Will; Matter and Memory; Creative Evolution; The Two Sources of Morality and Religion
- John Dewey – How We Think; Democracy and Education; Experience and Nature; The Quest for Certainty; Logic – The Theory of Inquiry
- Alfred North Whitehead – A Treatise on Universal Algebra; An Introduction to Mathematics; Science and the Modern World; Process and Reality; The Aims of Education and Other Essays; Adventures of Ideas
- George Santayana – The Life of Reason; Scepticism and Animal Faith; The Realms of Being (which discusses the Realms of Essence, Matter and Truth); Persons and Places
- Vladimir Lenin – Imperialism; The State and Revolution
- Marcel Proust – In Search of Lost Time (formerly translated as Remembrance of Things Past)
- Bertrand Russell – Principles of Mathematics; The Problems of Philosophy; Principia Mathematica; The Analysis of Mind; An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth; Human Knowledge, Its Scope and Limits
- Thomas Mann – The Magic Mountain; Joseph and His Brothers
- Albert Einstein – The Theory of Relativity; Sidelights on Relativity; The Meaning of Relativity; On the Method of Theoretical Physics; The Evolution of Physics
- James Joyce – "The Dead" in Dubliners; A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Ulysses
- Jacques Maritain – Art and Scholasticism; The Degrees of Knowledge; Freedom and the Modern World; A Preface to Metaphysics; The Rights of Man and Natural Law; True Humanism
- Franz Kafka – The Trial; The Castle
- Arnold J. Toynbee – A Study of History; Civilization on Trial
- Jean-Paul Sartre – Nausea; No Exit; Being and Nothingness
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – The First Circle; Cancer Ward
The original edition of How to Read a Book contained a separate "contemporary list" because "Here one's judgment must be tentative". All but the following authors were incorporated into the single list of the revised edition:
- Ivan Pavlov – Conditioned Reflexes
- Thorstein Veblen – The Theory of the Leisure Class; The Higher Learning in America; The Place of Science in Modern Civilization; Vested Interests and the State of Industrial Arts; Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise in Recent Times
- Franz Boas – The Mind of Primitive Man; Anthropology and Modern Life
- Leon Trotsky – The History of the Russian Revolution
In 1954 Mortimer Adler hosted a live weekly television series in San Francisco, comprising 52 half-hour programs, entitled The Great Ideas. These programs were produced by the Institute for Philosophical Research and were carried as a public service by the American Broadcasting Company, presented by National Educational Television (NET), the precursor to what is now PBS. Adler bequeathed these films to the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas, where they are available for purchase.
In 1993 and 1994, The Learning Channel created a series of one-hour programs discussing many of the Great Books of history and their impact on the world. It was narrated by Donald Sutherland and Morgan Freeman, among others.
- Association for Core Texts and Courses
- Banned books
- Education reform#Reforms of classical education
- Educational perennialism
- Liberal arts
- List of books considered the worst
- Western canon
- "The Reading List | Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University".
- Teeter, Robert. "Bloom. Western Canon".
- Adler, Mortimer J. "Selecting Works for the 1990 Edition of the Great Books of the Western World". Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Adler, "Second Look", p. 142
- "Thomas Jefferson's Reading Lists". John-uebersax.com. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr (An honest heart, a knowing head; Paris, 19 August 1785). In: Merril D. Peterson (ed.), Thomas Jefferson Works, 1984. (pp. 814–818)
- Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr (The homage to Reason; Paris, 10 August 1787). In: Merril D. Peterson (ed.), Thomas Jefferson Works, 1984. (pp. 900–906).
- "radicalacademy.com". radicalacademy.com. Archived from the original on 7 September 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Hook, Sidney (1946). "A Critical Appraisal of the St. John's College Curriculum". Education for Modern Man. New York, NY: The Dial Press.
Reprinted with some minor changes from The New Leader, May 26 and June 4, 1944
- "An Oasis of Order: The Core Curriculum at Columbia College:Faculty Profiles:John Erskine". Columbia College. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "The Beginnings of the Great Books Movement at Columbia". Columbia Magazine. Winter 2001. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "St. John's College | Academic Program | The Reading List". Stjohnscollege.edu. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "The Integral Program".
- https://www.luc.edu/honors/coursesandcurriculum/coursedescriptions/. Missing or empty
- "Dharma Realm Buddhist University Accepting Applications for Undergraduate Program". Dharma Realm Buddhist University. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- Casement, William. "College Great Books Programs". The Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC). Archived from the original on 16 November 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "American Public University System Online Master's Degree in Humanities". apus.apu.edu. 27 January 2019.
- "Azusa Pacific University Honors College". apu.edu. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
- "Baylor University || Great Texts". Baylor.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Omnia Extended Core". bcsmn.edu. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
- "About « Torrey Honors Institute « Biola University". Biola.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Perspectives and PULSE programs".
- "Core Curriculum - Boston University". www.bu.edu.
- "index". Ecu.edu. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "The Honors Program « Franciscan University". Franciscan.edu. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- http://www.georgefox.edu/honors-program/index.html. Missing or empty
- "Gutenberg College Great Books". Gutenberg.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Curriculum - Harrison Middleton University". Hmu.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Honors College". Hbu.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- The Newman Guide, "Northeast Catholic College" Archived 6 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 5 November 2015
- "Mercer Great Books". Departments.mercer.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Literary Studies Requirements". middlebury.edu. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- "Honors Program | Palm Beach Atlantic University". Pba.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Great Books" (PDF). Seaver.pepperdine.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Integrated Studies in the Great Books Major Description". anselm.edu. Archived from the original on 24 August 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- "St. John's College". Stjohnscollege.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "The Integral Program". St. Mary's College. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
-  Archived 28 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "Templeton Honors College and Eastern University". Eastern University. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "The Great Books | Thomas Aquinas College". Thomasaquinas.edu. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "The Thomas More College Curriculum". Thomasmorecollege.edu. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "The College Core Curriculum". University of Chicago. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
- "Association for Core Texts and Courses & The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute » College Great Books Programs". Coretexts.org. Archived from the original on 16 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "About Us - U-M LSA Department of Classical Studies". lsa.umich.edu.
- "Great Works Academic Certificate". www.unlv.edu.
- "Program of Liberal Studies". University of Notre Dame. 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "St. Ignatius Institute – University of San Francisco (USF)". Usfca.edu. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas". Utexas.edu. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Kugelman Honors Program Study of Great Books" (PDF). uwf.edu. 26 February 2016. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Departments » Great Books Curriculm". Wilbur Wright College.
- "Academics » The Great Books". Wyoming Catholic College. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "The Great Books in the Bachelor of Humanities Program". .carleton.ca. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Welcome - Liberal Arts College - Concordia University - Montreal, Quebec, Canada". Liberalartscollege.concordia.ca. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Overview - Liberal Studies - Vancouver Island University". socialsciences.viu.ca.
- "Great Books". St Thomas University. 2014. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "Foundation Year Programme | University of King's College". Ukings.ca. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Arts One Program". ubc.ca. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "Global Great Books Certificate". georgebrown.ca. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- "UCP - Instituto de Estudos Políticos". Iep.lisboa.ucp.pt. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- "Universidade da Beira Interior". UBI.pt. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- "Foundation Courses". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "Courses Offered". Ateneo de Manila University. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "A Great Books College". Shalem College. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- John Searle, "The Storm Over the University," The New York Review of Books, December 6, 1990
- Sabrina Walters (1 July 2001). "Great Books won Adler fame, scorn". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 4 November 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2007.
- Peter Temes (3 July 2001). "Death of a Great Reader and Philosopher". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 4 November 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2007.
- Great Books – The Foundation of a Liberal Education, New York – Simon & Schuster, 1954.
- How to Read a Book, 1940, p. 375
- "Mortimer Adler Videos on The Great Ideas". www.thegreatideas.org.
- Nelson, Adam R. (2001). Education and Democracy: The Meaning of Alexander Meiklejohn, 1872–1964. Univ of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-17140-7.
- O'Hear, Anthony. The Great Books: A Journey through 2,500 Years of the West's Classic Literature. Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 2 edition, 2009. ISBN 978-1-933859-78-1
- Aquinas , Thomas. “Why the Great Books?” Thomas Aquinas College, 24 April 2019, thomasaquinas.edu/about/why-great-books.