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The Harvard Universal Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909.[1]

The Harvard Classics
Harvard Classics.jpg
The first 10 volumes of The Harvard Classics
EditorCharles W. Eliot
Original titleDr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf
PublisherP. F. Collier and Son
Publication date
1909

Eliot had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf. (Originally he had said a three-foot shelf.) The publisher P. F. Collier and Son saw an opportunity and challenged Eliot to make good on this statement by selecting an appropriate collection of works, and the Harvard Classics was the result.[2]

Eliot worked for one year with William A. Neilson, a professor of English; Eliot determined the works to be included and Neilson selected the specific editions and wrote introductory notes.[1] Each volume had 400–450 pages, and the included texts are "so far as possible, entire works or complete segments of the world's written legacies."[3] The collection was widely advertised by Collier and Son, in Collier's and elsewhere, with great success.

Contents

Vol. 1-10Edit

Volumes 1-10

Vol. 1: FRANKLIN, WOOLMAN, PENNEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 1". Internet Archive. Retrieved 11 April 2019.

Vol. 2. PLATO, EPICTETUS, MARCUS AURELIUSEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 2". Internet Archive. Retrieved 11 April 2019.

Vol. 3. BACON, MILTON'S PROSE, THOS. BROWNEEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 3". Internet Archive. 19 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 4. COMPLETE POEMS IN ENGLISH, MILTONEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 4". Internet Archive. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 5. ESSAYS AND ENGLISH TRAITS, EMERSONEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 5". Internet Archive. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 6. POEMS AND SONGS, BURNSEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 6". Internet Archive. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 7. CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE, IMITATION OF CHRISTEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 7". Internet Archive. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 8. NINE GREEK DRAMASEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 8". Internet Archive. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 9. LETTERS AND TREATISES OF CICERO AND PLINYEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 9". Internet Archive. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 10. WEALTH OF NATIONS, ADAM SMITHEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 10". Internet Archive. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 11-20Edit

Volumes 11-20

Vol. 11. ORIGIN OF SPECIES, DARWINEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 11". Internet Archive. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 12. PLUTARCH'S LIVESEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 12". Internet Archive. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 13. AENEID, VIRGILEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 13". Internet Archive. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 14. DON QUIXOTE, PART 1, CERVANTESEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 14". Internet Archive. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 15. PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, DONNE & HERBERT, BUNYAN, WALTONEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 15". Internet Archive. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 16. THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTSEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 16". Internet Archive. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 17. FOLKLORE AND FABLE, AESOP, GRIMM, ANDERSENEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 17". Internet Archive. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 18. MODERN ENGLISH DRAMAEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 18". Internet Archive. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 19. FAUST, EGMONT, ETC. DOCTOR FAUSTUS, GOETHE, MARLOWEEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 19". Internet Archive. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 20. THE DIVINE COMEDY, DANTEEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 20". Internet Archive. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 21-30Edit

Volumes 21-30

Vol. 21. I PROMESSI SPOSI, MANZONIEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 21". Internet Archive. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2019.

Vol. 22. THE ODYSSEY, HOMEREdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 22". Internet Archive. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2019.

Vol. 23. TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST, DANAEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 23". Internet Archive. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 24. ON THE SUBLIME, FRENCH REVOLUTION, ETC., BURKEEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 24". Internet Archive. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 25. AUTOBIOGRAPHY, ETC., ESSAYS AND ADDRESSES, J.S. MILL, T. CARLYLEEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 25". Internet Archive. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 26. CONTINENTAL DRAMAEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 26". Internet Archive. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 27. ENGLISH ESSAYS: SIDNEY TO MACAULAYEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 27". Internet Archive. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 28. ESSAYS: ENGLISH AND AMERICANEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 28". Internet Archive. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 29. VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE, DARWINEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 29". Internet Archive. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 30. FARADAY, HELMHOLTZ, KELVIN, NEWCOMB, ETCEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 30". Internet Archive. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

Vol. 31-39Edit

Volumes 31-39

Vol. 31. AUTOBIOGRAPHY, BENVENUTO CELLINIEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 31". Internet Archive. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 32. LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYSEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 32". Internet Archive. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 33. VOYAGES AND TRAVELSEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 33". Internet Archive. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2019.

Vol. 34. FRENCH AND ENGLISH PHILOSOPHERS, DESCARTES, VOLTAIRE, ROUSSEAU, HOBBESEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 34". Internet Archive. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 35. CHRONICLE AND ROMANCE, FROISSART, MALORY, HOLINSHEADEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 35". Internet Archive. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 25 August 2019.

Vol. 36. MACHIAVELLI, MORE, LUTHEREdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 36". Internet Archive. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 37. LOCKE, BERKELEY, HUMEEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 37". Internet Archive. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 38. HARVEY, JENNER, LISTER, PASTEUREdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 38". Internet Archive. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 39. PREFACES AND PROLOGUES TO FAMOUS BOOKSEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 39". Internet Archive. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

  • "Title, Prologue and Epilogues to the Recuyell of the Histories of Troy", by William Caxton
  • "Epilogue to Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers", by William Caxton
  • "Prologue to Golden Legend", by William Caxton
  • "Prologue to Caton", by William Caxton
  • "Epilogue to Aesop", by William Caxton
  • "Proem to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales", by William Caxton
  • "Prologue to Malory's King Arthur"
  • "Prologue to Virgil's Eneydos", by William Caxton
  • "Dedication of the Institutes of the Christian Religion" by John Calvin
  • "Dedication of the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies" by Nicolaus Copernicus
  • "Preface to the History of the Reformation in Scotland", by John Knox
  • "Prefatory Letter to Sir Walter Raleigh on The Faerie Queene", by Edmund Spenser
  • "Preface to the History of the World" by Sir Walter Raleigh
  • "Prooemium, Epistle Dedicatory, Preface, and Plan of the Instauratio Magna, etc.", by Francis Bacon
  • "Preface to the Novum Organum", by Francis Bacon
  • "Preface to the First Folio Edition of Shakespeare's Plays" by Heminge and Condell
  • "Preface to the Philosophiae Naturalis Pricipia Mathematica", by Sir Isaac Newton
  • "Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern", by John Dryden
  • "Preface to Joseph Andrews", by Henry Fielding
  • "Preface to the English Dictionary", by Samuel Johnson
  • "Preface to Shakespeare", by Samuel Johnson
  • "Introduction to the Propylaen", by J.W. von Goethe
  • "Prefaces to Various Volumes of Poems", by William Wordsworth
  • "Appendix to Lyrical Ballads", by William Wordsworth
  • "Essay Supplementary to Preface", by William Wordsworth
  • "Preface to Cromwell", by Victor Hugo
  • "Preface to Leaves of Grass", by Walt Whitman
  • "Introduction to the History of English Literature", by H.A. Taine

Vol. 40Edit

Volume 40

Vol. 40. ENGLISH POETRY 1: CHAUCER TO GRAYEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 40". Internet Archive. 11 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 41Edit

Volume 41

Vol. 41. ENGLISH POETRY 2: COLLINS TO FITZGERALDEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 41". Internet Archive. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 42Edit

Volume 42

Vol. 42. ENGLISH POETRY 3: TENNYSON TO WHITMANEdit

"The Harvard classics Volume 42". Internet Archive. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2019.

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    • The Lady of Shalott
    • Sweet and Low
    • Tears, Idle Tears
    • Blow, Bugle Blow
    • Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead
    • Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal
    • O Swallow, Swallow
    • Break, Break, Break
    • In the Valley of Cauteretz
    • Vivien's Song
    • Enid's Song
    • Ulysses
    • Locksley Hall
    • Morte D'Arthur
    • The Lotus-Eaters
    • You Ask Me, Why
    • Love Thou Thy Land
    • Sir Galahad
    • The Higher Pantheism
    • Flower in the Crannied Wall
    • Wages
    • The Charge of the Light Brigade
    • The Revenge
    • Rizpah
    • To Virgil
    • Maud
    • Crossing the Bar
  • Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton
  • William Makepeace Thackray
  • J. Wilson
  • Robert Browning
  • Emily Bronte
  • Robert Stephen Hawker
  • Coventry Patmore
  • William (Johnson) Cory
  • Sydney Dobell
  • William Allingham
  • George Mac Donald
  • Edward, Earl of Lytton
  • Arthur Hugh Clough
  • Matthew Arnold
  • George Meredith
  • Alexander Smith
  • Charles Dickens
  • Thomas Edward Brown
  • James Thomson (B.V.)
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  • Christina Georgina Rossetti
  • William Morris
  • John Boyle O'Reilly
  • Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy
  • Robert Williams Buchanan
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • William Ernest Henly
  • Robert Luis Stevenson
  • William Cullen Bryant
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • John Greenleaf Wittier
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • James Russell Lowell
  • Sidney Lanier
  • Bret Harte
  • Walt Whitman

Vol. 43-49Edit

Volumes 43-49

Vol. 43. AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTSEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 43". Internet Archive. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 44. SACRED WRITINGS: VOLUME IEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 44". Internet Archive. 14 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Confucian

Hebrew

Christian, (Part I)

Vol. 45. SACRED WRITINGS: VOLUME IIEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 45". Internet Archive. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Christian, (Part II)

Buddhist

Hindu

Mohammedan

Vol. 46. ELIZABETHAN DRAMA 1Edit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 46". Internet Archive. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 47. ELIZABETHAN DRAMA 2Edit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 47". Internet Archive. 14 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 48. THOUGHTS AND MINOR WORKS, PASCALEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 48". Internet Archive. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 49. EPIC AND SAGAEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 49". Internet Archive. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

Vol. 50Edit

Volume 50

Vol. 50. INTRODUCTION, READER'S GUIDE, INDEXESEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 50". Internet Archive. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

  • The Editor's Introduction to the Harvard Classics
  • Reader's Guide to the Harvard Classics
    • Class I
      • The History of Civilization
        • Race and Language
        • Ancient Egypt
        • The East in Patriarchal Time
        • Ancient Greece: Legendary
        • Ancient Greece: Historic
        • Ancient Rome: Republican
        • Ancient Rome: Imperial
        • Germanic Peoples in Primitive Times
        • Ireland in Primitive Times
        • The Early Christian Church
        • The Mohammedan East
        • The Middle Ages
        • The Renaissance
        • Modern Europe
        • America
      • Religion and Philosophy
        • Hebrew
        • Greek
        • Roman
        • Chinese
        • Hindu
        • Christian: Primitive and Medieval
        • Mohammedan
        • Christian: Modern
        • Modern Philosophers
      • Education
        • Montaigne...Huxley
      • Science
        • Hippocrates...Geikie
      • Politics
        • Plutarch...American Historical Documents
      • Voyages and Travels
        • Herodotus...Emerson
      • Criticism of Literature and the Fine Arts
        • Caxton...Stevenson
    • Class II
      • Drama
        • Greek
        • English
        • Spanish
        • French
        • German
      • Biography and Letters
        • Plutarch...Stevenson
      • Essays
        • Montaigne...Stevenson
      • Narrative Poetry and Prose Fiction
        • Homer...Lanier
  • An Index of the First Lines of Poems, Songs and Choruses, Hymns and Psalms
  • General Index
  • Chronological Index

Vol. 50: Charles Eliot's Selections from the Five-Foot Shelf of Books: For Boys and Girls from Twelve to Eighteen Years of AgeEdit

Volume Author Title Title Title Title Title
XVII Æsop Fables
XVII Grimm Tales
XVII Andersen Tales
XXII Homer The Odyssey
XIII Virgil The Æneid
XVI The Arabian Knights
XLIX The Song of Roland
XL Robin Hood
XL Traditional Ballads Selections at pleasure
XXXV Malory, Sir Thomas The Holy Grail
XXXIII Voyages and Travels
I Benjamin Franklin Autobiography
XV John Bunyan The Pilgrim's Progress
XLVI Shakespeare Macbeth The Tempest
XLVII Thomas Dekker The Shoemaker's Holiday
XII Plutarch Lives
XXXV Froissart
XXXVIII Ambroise Paré Journeys
XXI Manzoni The Betrothed
XXIII R. H. Dana Two Years Before the Mast
XXIX Darwin The Voyage of the Beagle
XXVII Joseph Addison The Vision of Mirza
XVIII Goldsmith She Stoops to Conquer
XLI Goldsmith The Deserted Village
XXVI Schiller William Tell
XIX Goethe Hermann and Dorothea
XL Michael Drayton Agincourt To the Virginian Voyage
XLI Cowper John Gilpin
XLI Wordsworth Michael
XLI Sir Walter Scott Poems
XLI Macaulay
XLI COLERIDGE
XLI JAMES HOGG
XLI THOMAS CAMPBELL
XLI LORD BYRON The Prisoner of Chillon The Destruction of Sennacherib The Isles of Greece
XLI THOMAS MOORE Poems
XLI LEIGH HUNT Abou Ben Adhem
XLI KEATS The Eve of St. Agnes
XLII TENNYSON Morte d' Arthur Sir Galahad The Charge of the Light Brigade The Revenge
XXVIII RUSKIN Sesame and Lilies
XLII THACKERAY The End of the Play
XLII ROBERT BROWNING How They Brought the Good News
XLII SYDNEY DOBELL The Ballad of Keith of Ravelston
XLII DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI The King's Tragedy
XLII WILLIAM E. HENLEY England, My England
XLII BRYANT Robert of Lincoln To a Waterfowl
XLII HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW Poems
XLII JOHN G. WHITTIER Randolph of Roanoke Barclay of Ury The Barefoot Boy The Pipes at Lucknow Barbara Frietchie
XLII OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES The Chambered Nautilus Old Ironsides
XLII SIDNEY LANIER The Revenge of Hamish
XLIII FRANK A. HASKELL The Battle of Gettysburg
XLIII ABRAHAM LINCOLN Speech at Gettysburg
XLIV SELECTIONS From Sacred Writings
XLV SELECTIONS Some representation of each of the six religions

Vol. 51Edit

Volume 51

Vol. 51. LECTURESEdit

"The Harvard Classics Volume 51". Internet Archive. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2018.

The last volume contains sixty lectures introducing and summarizing the covered fields:[69]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of FictionEdit

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction was selected by Charles W. Eliot, LLD (1834-1926), with notes and introductions by William Allan Neilson. It also features an index to Criticisms and Interpretations.

 
Charles William Eliot, compiler and editor of The Harvard Classics anthology.

Enduring successEdit

As Adam Kirsch, writing for Harvard magazine in 2001, notes, "It is surprisingly easy, even today, to find a complete set of the Harvard Classics in good condition. At least one is usually for sale on eBay, the Internet auction site, for $300 or so, a bargain at $6 a book. The supply, from attics or private libraries around the country, seems endless — a tribute to the success of the publisher, P.F. Collier, who sold some 350,000 sets within 20 years of the series' initial publication".[1]

The Five-Foot Shelf, with its introductions, notes, guides to reading, and exhaustive indexes, may claim to constitute a reading course unparalleled in comprehensiveness and authority.

— Notes on the Lectures by William Allan Neilson

The main function of the collection should be to develop and foster in many thousands of people a taste for serious reading of the highest quality, outside of The Harvard Classics as well as within them.

— Charles W. Eliot, LLD[70]

Similar compendiaEdit

  • The concept of education through systematic reading of seminal works themselves (rather than textbooks) was carried on by John Erskine at Columbia University, and in the 1930s Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins at the University of Chicago carried this idea further with the concepts of education through study of the "great books" and "great ideas" of Western civilization. This led to the publication in 1952 of Great Books of the Western World, which is still in print and actively marketed. In 1937, under Stringfellow Barr, St. John's College introduced a curriculum based on the direct study of "great books". These sets are popular today with those interested in homeschooling.
  • Gateway to the Great Books[71] was designed as an introduction to the Great Books of the Western World, published by the same organization and editors in 1952.
  • Palgrave's The Golden Treasury[71] is a popular anthology of English poetry, originally selected for publication by Francis Turner Palgrave in 1861.
  • The Oxford Book of English Verse[71] is an anthology of English poetry that had a very substantial influence on popular taste and perception of poetry for at least a generation.
  • The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience.
  • The Book of Life[72] offers a contemporary self-education in transcribing pragmatic lessons from some of the greatest philosophical and literary minds, stretching as far back as Ancient Greece.
  • The Sacred Books of the East is a monumental 50-volume set of English translations of Asian religious writings published by the Oxford University Press between 1879 and 1910. It incorporates the essential sacred texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Islam.
  • The Delphian Society created the 10 Volume Delphian Course of Reading--with the Harvard Classics editor Dr. Eliot in mind--for young and developing minds.[73]
  • The Thinker's Library is a selection of essays, literature, and extracts from greater works by various classical and contemporary humanists and rationalists, continuing in the tradition of the Renaissance that were published between 1929 and 1951 for the Rationalist Press Association by Watts & Co., London, a company founded by Charles Albert Watts.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Smith, Roy L. (2 October 1948). "The Book That Has Proved Itself: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON OF THE WEEK". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Dr. Eliot's Five-Foot Shelf of Books: Toward a Centennial of The Harvard Classics". Find Articles. LookSmart. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  4. ^ Franklin, Benjamin. "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
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  15. ^ Tractate on Education From the Edition of 1673. P.F. COLLIER & SON COMPANY. 2001 [1909]. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
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  36. ^ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. "Don Quixote". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
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  62. ^ The Acts of the Apostles. P.F. COLLIER & SON COMPANY. 2001 [1909]. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  63. ^ The First and Second Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians. P.F. COLLIER & SON COMPANY. 2001 [1909]. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit