Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« The Final Cylon . . . Exposed? | Main | SDG family narrowly avoids Orlando shooting! »

April 13, 2008

Comments

LnxCthlc

Hope this helps a little

http://www.geocities.com/athens/atlantis/4360/index.html

LnxCthlc

Hope this helps a little

http://www.geocities.com/athens/atlantis/4360/index.html

Ben George

If you're going to read Dostoevski, please make sure to read the Pevear & Volokhonsky translations, and not the Garnett translations.

Kevin Jones

Two suggestions that are often overlooked in these lists:

Samuel Johnson's short novella Rasselas.

Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed, a historical novel set in 17th century Italy about love, faith, injustice, redemption, and the plague.

Thomas

Oh! This is the perfect thread to ask a question in that I've had for a while.

There are several books I have wanted to read for a while but just haven't bought yet because I don't know what translation I should read.

The two most notable being DON QUIXOTE and THE BROTHERS KARAMOZOV.

Why your preference on Dostoevsky, Ben?

Matthew

Mortimer Adler was a philosopher and converted to Christianity and more fully Catholicism toward the end of his life. His great love was the "Great Books" and "Great Ideas" of Western history.

For the Encyclopedia Britannica he published a series of greatest writings of the West. You can read about him and his list of great books online. Here is a link to his book "How to Read a Book" which includes the list of great books.

He was an Aristotelian Philosopher who argued for objective Truth, and etc. Very good reading for any Human Being but especially for a Catholic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Read_a_Book

Mat

Just a few suggestions:

In terms of 19th Century literature, George Meredith can't be ignored. Also gloss through everyone's favourite deathbed Convert, Oscar Wilde.

A particular favourite of mine is Russian/American author Vladimir Nabokov.

John Milton is a must read, as is Dante. One of the most brilliant authors in history is Marcel Proust, someone who takes a while and some concetration to read, but is worth the effort. Kafka lesser known works, such as the Castle and the Trial, are all must reads.

A particular book I recommend is one called "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

You know, I could probably go on all day. Reading all the classics that you missed out on in College even if you majored in English would take a lifetime.

Sifu Jones

My suggestion: contact Christendom and Thomas Aquinas colleges, and ask for the required reading lists for all their English courses (TAC, as far as I know, only has one major anyhow in Liberal Arts).

mary margaret

Hard to think of Russian authors as particularly "western", but there are many treasures in Russian lit. Mat, I haven't ever seen anyone else recommending Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in my opinion, the greatest living author (he is still alive, isn't he?). I believe the title is actually "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". Also strongly recommended by me, anyway, is "The Cancer Ward" and "August 1914". I really like Russian authors, particularly Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

All of Jane Austen's works. I think she might possibly be the greatest English novelist of all time. American authors who might truly be called classics is a little harder. I would recommend Pearl Buck "The Good Earth" (among many others) and Willa Cather "My Antonia".

Yeah, I could pretty much go on forever. Obviously, no reading of Western classic literature is complete without Shakespeare.

mary margaret

Hard to think of Russian authors as particularly "western", but there are many treasures in Russian lit. Mat, I haven't ever seen anyone else recommending Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in my opinion, the greatest living author (he is still alive, isn't he?). I believe the title is actually "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". Also strongly recommended by me, anyway, is "The Cancer Ward" and "August 1914". I really like Russian authors, particularly Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

All of Jane Austen's works. I think she might possibly be the greatest English novelist of all time. American authors who might truly be called classics is a little harder. I would recommend Pearl Buck "The Good Earth" (among many others) and Willa Cather "My Antonia".

Yeah, I could pretty much go on forever. Obviously, no reading of Western classic literature is complete without Shakespeare.

DOMINIC

Greetings from South Asia, India.

I am a Catholic Christian of Portuguese Descebt who has been promoting "The Divine Mercy Devotion" for many years with my family.

I am currently looking for E.W.T.N.'s Homily for "Divine Mercy Sunday" which was available till recently on their Podcast site for 3/30/2008

Could u help me please by uploading it or directing me to any place where i can download it ??

Belated Easter to you

Miller

Here is a personal list of favorites. Not in any particular order.

Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck)
Notes from Underground (Dos)
White Noise (DeLillo)
Love in the Time of Cholera (G.G.Marquez)
Wiseblood (Flannery O'Connor)
On the Road (Kerouac)
Brave New World (Huxley)
Invisible Man (Ellison)
U.S.A (Dos Passos)
The Sun Also Rises - Hemingway
Death Comes to the Archbishop - Willa Cather
The Power & The Glory - Graham Greene

Jeannine

I just can't resist this one!
Yes, start with Dante's Divine Comedy. Read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; there are online editions with interlinear modern English translations. Of course Shakespeare, and don't forget his sonnets. Some 17th century poets not to be missed: John Donne and George Herbert. Milton's Paradise Lost is heretical but great poetry. Samuel Johnson said that nobody ever wished it longer, and he's right, but it is gorgeous and never fails to pull me in. In the 18th century, Gulliver's Travels (Swift), Tom Jones (Fielding), Pamela (Richardson), Rasselas (Johnson)--and in fact anything at all by Samuel Johnson is worth reading. The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell is also great--the table talk of the great man. In American literature of the same era, Common Sense and The Crisis by Thomas Paine and the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin are basic to the American experience.
In the 19th century, any of Jane Austen's novels are great. Charles Dickens' Great Expectations is the best written of Dickens' novels, I think, but David Copperfield is wonderful and, of course, A Christmas Carol. Vanity Fair by Thackeray, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Middlemarch by George Eliot are not to be missed--nor is the poetry of Tennyson and of Gerard Manley Hopkins--very different from each other! In American literature of this period, Hawthorne is essential--personally I think the short stories are his greatest achievement. Read the poetry of Longfellow--unjustly scorned in literature courses--and of Emily Dickinson. (Robert Frost is a very great poet as well.) In Russia, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is wonderful.
I guess I should stop here, but I keep on thinking of authors to mention: Chesterton! Wilde (try the short stories as well as the plays)! Twain (everyone reads Huckleberry Finn, but Pudd'nhead Wilson is also marvelous)! T. S. Eliot!
One of the great things about literature is that it doesn't matter so much where you start--one work leads to another, and pretty soon the whole garden is yours!

Maureen

I'm currently "reading" The City of God by St. Augustine. Librivox is wonderful for audiobooks like this. In fact, I have a lot more tolerance for philosophy in general if somebody reads it to me. :)

Matheus F. Ticiani

Hey DOMINIC

The link to listen to the homily for March 30, 2008 is here, and the link to download it is here.

Mike Melendez

Tim, Your new quest made me think of a family joke. My wife, who studied biology as an undergraduate took all the literature courses she could fit in. She did so simply because she loves to read, particularly books with great descriptions of the world around us. The joke? She took literature to keep her GPA up. For her, they were gut classes. In reality, her biology grades were as good as her literature grades.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Tim,

How much time are you willing to put into this? Do you want to be systematic or read more for edification (these are not exclusive goals)?

If you wnat to be systematic, then start with Greek and Roman literature to get a good idea of the development of classical tragedy and comedy. Here is one such site (not the best, probably). Here is another. Here is pobably the best site for english language versions.

Then, move to the Medieval period, then Renaissance, etc.

Do you want a systematic list?

Here is a list of "Great Books", on-line. Nice selection.

The Chicken


Barbara

While it's been (muffle, muffle) years ago, here are some of the selections that I remember:

The Brothers Karamazov
Madame Bovary
Shakespeare

(And some that I also had to read in High School):
Homer's Illiad & the Oddysey
Dante's Divine Comedy
Goethe's Faust
(More) Shakespeare
Beowulf (in the original "olde Englishe")
Man of La Mancha
Paradise Lost

Bill Q

I've set a similar goal for myself last year. I haven't put as much time into it as would have been ideal, but in the last year or so I've read "The Sound and the Fury"; "Moby Dick"; "Brideshead Revisited"; "A Handful of Dust"; "Silas Marner"; "Daisy Miller"; Belloc's "The Path to Rome"; "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and a few books about reading poetry. Currently I'm reading "Gulliver's Travels," which I find brilliant at times and rather tedious at others. The only one of the above books that really wasn't worth it was "Moby Dick," in my opinion. It does have some fascinating bits, but I didn't feel the payoff was worth the time investment.

Tim J.

Wow, some great suggestions, so far. Thanks, all.

Chicken -

I will certainly be reading for the sake of edification, but I think I need some kind of systematic approach to follow. If I try to wing it I'm almost certain to fizzle, but if I have some kind of blueprint, some goals to shoot for, it might help me to keep on track. As you indicated, it might also give me a greater understanding and appreciation of the books I read if I take them in a certain order, or group them in certain ways.

Though I won't feel bound to stick exclusively to any particular program, I will undoubtedly benefit from some guidance. I hope to blog a bit on some of the books I read.

Tom P

I'd recommend anything by Dumas - "The Count of Monte Cristo" is my favorite but it's all good.

Anything by Mark Twain.

Victor Hugo - Les Miserables


Dickens - Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist.

I needn't mention J.R.R. Tolkien - need I?

Bill Q

BTW, Joseph Pearce's Book "Literary Giants, Literary Catholics" is also worth reading for some insight on a variety of great Catholic and para-Catholic writers. I believe I bought my copy through the Catholic Answers bookstore.

Thomas

Thinking about my favorite authors they all seem to be British:

J. R. R. Tolkien
Evelyn Waugh
Ian Fleming
G. K. Chesterton
C. S. Lewis

And to get specific (and a little less obvious) I'd strongly recommend two of Chesterton's poems:

THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE and LEPANTO.

One long, one short, both indispensable.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Tim J.,

My last comment did not get posted. I was posting links to some good sites containing the classics on-line and I got spam-trapped. I hope I haven't violated any of Da Rulz. It was not my intention.

As I mentioned in my last, trapped post (for review by blog owner to make sure that it is not spam), what about science fiction, mystery, and other genre works? By now, aren't they entitled to the label of classics, in some cases, as well? Poe, for instance wrote "a few" horror stories, and that dude, Conan Doyle, wrote some "detective" stories. Oh, and I remember some stories about a priest who liked to solve mysteries.

Actually, if you want a good place to start, I have a reference book that has detailed plot summaries for 1000 classics. This is a good place to find what really appeals to you. Sitting through a thousand page book that you can't stand, just because someone said it was a classic, is a little like having a tooth pulled just because you heard from a friend that he found it a necessary experience.

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

Dear Tim J.,

My last comment did not get posted. I was posting links to some good sites containing the classics on-line and I got spam-trapped. I hope I haven't violated any of Da Rulz. It was not my intention.

As I mentioned in my last, trapped post (for review by blog owner to make sure that it is not spam), what about science fiction, mystery, and other genre works? By now, aren't they entitled to the label of classics, in some cases, as well? Poe, for instance wrote "a few" horror stories, and that dude, Conan Doyle, wrote some "detective" stories. Oh, and I remember some stories about a priest who liked to solve mysteries.

Actually, if you want a good place to start, I have a reference book that has detailed plot summaries for 1000 classics. This is a good place to find what really appeals to you. Sitting through a thousand page book that you can't stand, just because someone said it was a classic, is a little like having a tooth pulled just because you heard from a friend that he found it a necessary experience.

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

Sorry for the double post. I feel like a priest under the direction of St. Phillip Neri, who was particularly pleased with a homily he had preached. He asked what St. Phillip thought and he required that the priest give the same homily the following week. The following week, the priest asked what he should do now, and St. Phillip told him to give the same homily the following week, and the following. A useful way to get rid of self-satisfaction.

The Chicken

Dale

As Father Corapi likes to say "I have no stock, but put a lot of stock in this book." Of course he was talking about the Catechism. I would say the same about "Invitation to the Classics." It is a great look at Western Classics from a Christian perspective. It is nice to have a guide through the classics. It also suggests particular translations. I found that even on a book I have read several times, "The Trial" by Franz Kafka, that I was blown away by the points I had missed that were pointed out in this "guide" to the classics. And if you don't make it through all the classics, at least you have some idea of the points, plots and topics. Invitation to the Classics, A guide to books you've alwasy wanted to read. ISBN 0801011566. http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0801011566/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Skgyor

Probably read the first two but perhaps not the latter.

Issac Asimov
Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle (non-mystery)
Orson Wells
Jules Verne

Mary

My own recommendation, for system, in the English language, is to start with the most recent works and work your way back. That way you pick up the vocubulary on the way.

I not only didn't need the footnotes on Shakespeare, I actually managed to read Mallory while looking up only one word! (In modern *spelling* to be sure.)

Mary

If you're interested in classics of fantasy I can obliged there.

Ryan

Someone mentioned above this resource. Here is Thomas Aquinas College's four year curriculum.

http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/curriculum/index.htm

Also, here is a list called the Lifetime Reading Plan from Catholic Information Center bookstore. Good selections all.

http://www.trinstore.com/ecom_2/browseresults.cfm?catid=171&catlabel=Lifetime%20Reading%20Plan&requesttype=catbrowse

Smitty

I like the list of English authors the best. However, it is late and I am rather tired; my first thought was "western" classics and I wanted to see if anyone mentioned The Virginian. First of the Western genre, and a very good story.

Tim J

Truly an embarrassment of riches. Thank you, all.

It will take some time to sort through it all, but some *very* encouraging suggestions.

Sleeping Beastly

I'd have to plug War and Peace, the Rosemary Edwards translation.

Also, if Russian books can count as Western classics, then I suppose the Polish national trilogy can count as well. Try Kuniczak's translation of With Fire and Sword, The Deluge, and Fire in the Steppe by Henryk Sienkiewicz. These books (read semi-covertly by Polish factory workers) were a big part of the cultural glue in the Solidarity movement of the 70s and 80s, and (in Kuniczak's translation) they're thoroughly enjoyable to read.

Finally, one way of structuring your reading (without planning it out too much ahead of time) would be to work backwards. Most authors reference or allude to other works somewhere in their writings. Martin Luther King can point you to Gandhi, who can then point you to Tolstoy, etc.

Michael Sullivan

These are the very best of the best. If you want the essence of Western Literature, read these:

Homer
Vergil
Ovid
Dante
Chaucer
Shakespeare
Spenser
Milton

There are a thousand great books, but these are the true indispensables. If you don't know these you don't know literature.

John Lombardi

Tim,

Ryan's suggestion, posted above, recommending the Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan is a superb one.

Two books, both histories, that are not on the list, however, are both worth reading.

First, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture, a work by the brilliant English historian, Christopher Dawson ( died in 1970), was republished in 1991 by IMAGE Books. This is a scholarly book, but is very readable, and provides an excellent introduction to Medieval History for the non-specialist. It is valuable in exploding the historical fiction concerning the Middle Ages which is so widely circulated in the popular press.
Second, James Hitchcock, a prominent Catholic thinker and a professor at St. Louis University, published a book in the late 1970s called What Is Secular Humanism? This was originally published by Servant Books, but I believe that Roman Catholic Books has reprinted it. This is a history of modern thought, and you could read it in a few evenings. Very worthwhile.

You can try AllCatholicBooks.com to try to obtain these.

Best wishes,
John (Baltimore)

MelanieB

there are links to several great lists at the bottom of this entry at The Grail Code blog.

Mark

Here's a top 10 list, by Author/Corpus. I'm a particular fan of ancient Greek/Latin stuff, so weigh my recommendations accordingly:

Homer: Iliad & Odyssey. Unaffected, unflowery, and direct, but nevertheless stunningly beautiful, descriptions of ancient humanity - which, as it turns out, is no different from modern humanity.

Sophocles/Aeschylus/Euripides: A perusal of tragedies, which are fairly short but pack a wallop. I especially recommend Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus Coloneus, Antigone, Philoctetes, Ajax; Agamemnon, Choephori, Eudmenides, Prometheus Bound, Seven Against Thebes; Hippolytus, Medea, Bacchae. If you have to pick only a few, I would especially recommend Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone (Sophocles); Agamemnon, Choephori, and Eumenides (Aeschylus); and Baccahe (Euripides).

Vergil: Aeneid. A more elegant, "civilized" treatment of the Homeric story and style. More affected and "artistic", but stunning in its own way.

Dante: Divine Comedy. Probably the most well-thought-out work of literature ever written. No Catholic wouldn't enjoy reading this.

Montaigne: Essays. Delightful, eloquent, and endlessly interesting musings on all things under the sun, from old age to cannibals. An extraordinarily fertile and receptive mind, and a brilliant writer.

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales. A series of stories are told by medieval English Catholics while on a pilgrimage. The whole book is a marvelous display of a wide range of personalities and many different types of stories, ranging from Arthurian chivalry to farce.

Milton: Paradise Lost. Colossal poetic re-telling of the story of Satan's rebellion and man's fall, and the hope of redemption. Beautiful poetry.

Shakespeare: Plays. You really can't go wrong here - Tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear), Histories (Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Julius Caesar), and Comedies (As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Midsummer Night's Dream).

Cervantes: Don Quixote. It's long, and somewhat puzzling, but it's an equally good as a fun read and as fodder for serious thought. Very entertaining.

George Eliot: Middlemarch. This is an underrated book which is not read nearly as often as it should be. Eliot is a fantastic stylist, and her characters are great and vividly portrayed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31