The Western Canon Reading List

An abbreviated list of the greatest literary works in world history, one whose reading I plan to complete at some point in the distant future. (More on the list here.)

Foundational Work (Theocratic Age)

  • Homer
    • The Iliad
    • The Odyssey
  • Virgil, The Aeneid (in the translation by Robert Fitzgerald)
  • The Bible

Late Medieval and Renaissance (Aristocratic Age)

  • Dante Alighieri, Comedia/The Divine Comedy
  • Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
  • Shakespeare
    • Love’s Labour’s Lost
    • Hamlet [Posts on Hamlet]
    • Othello
    • King Lear
    • Macbeth
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
  • Molière, The Misanthrope
  • John Milton, Paradise Lost
  • James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

19th Century+

  • William Wordsworth
    • “The Ruined Cottage”
    • “Tintern Abbey”
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • Walt Whitman
    • Leaves of Grass
    • “Song of Myself”
  • Emily Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • Charles Dickens, Bleak House
  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt
  • Leo Tolstoy, Hadji Murad
  • Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time (a.k.a. Remembrance of Things Past)
  • James Joyce, Ulysses
  • Virginia Woolf
    • Orlando
    • A Room of One’s Own
  • Franz Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks
  • Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths
  • Pablo Neruda, Canto General
  • Samuel Beckett
    • Endgame
    • Murphy
    • Waiting for Godot