The Core Book List
Classic books, in close conversation.

These are the exciting things we read in Core: foundational texts which contain seminal ideas in the arts and sciences, and which have been long regarded as touchstones. Click the link to the right of each book to see the exact edition will be reading in the course. Current students, take note: this list is updated for the start of each semester, so that you will know in advance what books will be required for your Core courses.

Copies of Core texts can be obtained from the Core office, whether for the entire semester (in the form of books donated by alumni to Core Book Bank) or for a set period of time (as books signed-out from the Core library).


Course Semester Title, with Author(s) and Translators purchase
CC101 F20 Gilgamesh, trans. Mitchell B&N
CC101 F20 The Odyssey by Homer, trans. Fitzgerald B&N
CC101 F20 Odysseus at Troy, trans. Esposito B&N
CC101 F20 The Republic by Plato, trans. Reeve B&N
CC101 F20 The Five Books of Moses, trans. Alter B&N
CC102 S20 Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, trans. Addiss and Lombardo B&N
CC102 S20 The Conference of the Birds by Attar, trans. Davis B&N
CC102 S20 The Gospel of Matthew from the New Testament (RSV) B&N
CC102 S20 The Gospel of John from the New Testament (RSV) B&N
CC102 S20 The Analects by Confucius, trans. Burton Watson B&N
CC102 S20 Inferno by Dante, trans. Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S20 Purgatorio by Dante, trans. Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S20 Paradiso by Dante, trans. Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S20 The Aeneid by Virgil, trans. Fitzgerald B&N
CC102 S20 selections from the works of Hrosvitha packet
CC102 S20 Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, trans. Ostwald B&N
CC111 F20 Custom online textbook (on course webpage) n/a
CC112 S20 A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke B&N
CC112 S20 selected Visions and letters by Hildegard of Bingen packet
CC112 S20 The Freedom of a Christian by Martin Luther B&N
CC112 S20 Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud B&N
CC112 S20 In Defense of the Indians by Bartolomé de las Casas, trans. Poole B&N
CC112 S20 Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Emile Durkheim B&N
CC112 S20 Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande by E. E. Evans-Pritchard B&N
CC201 F20 The Prince by Machiavelli, trans. Wootton B&N
CC201 F20 The Canzoniere by Petrarch, trans. Musa B&N
CC201 F20 The Sonnets by William Shakespeare B&N
CC201 F20 Hamlet by William Shakespeare B&N
CC201 F20 Discourse on Method and Meditations by René Descartes, trans. Lafleur B&N
CC201 F20 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, trans. Rutherford B&N
CC201 F20 Paradise Lost by John Milton B&N
CC201 F20 The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne, trans. Screech B&N
CC202 S20 Candide by Voltaire, trans. Wootton B&N
CC202 S20 Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, trans. Scholar B&N
CC202 S20 Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, trans. Kauffmann B&N
CC202 S20 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen B&N
CC202 S20 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman B&N
CC202 S20 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant, trans. Grego & Timmermann B&N
CC202 S20 English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology edited by Applebaum B&N
CC202 S20 On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche, trans. Diethe B&N
CC202 S20 The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois B&N
CC202 S20 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, trans. Nelson, Pevear & Volokhonsky B&N
CC202 S20 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf B&N
CC221 F20 The Marx and Engels Reader, edited by Tucker B&N
CC221 F20 The Division of Labor in Society by Émile Durkheim B&N
CC221 F20 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber B&N
CC221 F20 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes B&N
CC221 F20 Basic Political Writings by Jean-Jacques Rousseau B&N
CC221 F20 Second Treatise of Government by John Locke B&N
CC212 S19 Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway B&N
CC220 S19 Writer/Designer (2nd edition), by Ball, Sheppard and Arola B&N
    • Click here to see a list of “Core-like” books and works studied in other “great books” courses around the country, as well as suggestions for future Core books submitted by our students and friends.
    • See also the “Bookshelf” page at the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas at the University of Texas, for a compilation of similar reading recommendations.
    • Do you have a suggestion for new books to be added to the Core syllabus? The faculty would love to hear from you! Click here to submit your input.

    “I’ve never known any trouble that an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.”
    ~Montesquieu, Pensées Diverses