The Core Reading 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. Further information about the timing of readings in the current semester can be found at the current courses webpage, or at the specific course webpages listed.

Course Semester Title, with Author(s) and Translators edition info
CC101 F14 Gilgamesh, tr. by Ferry B&N
CC101 F14 The Odyssey by Homer, tr. by Fitzgerald B&N
CC101 F14 Ajax by Sophocles, tr. by Esposito (in Odysseus at Troy) B&N
CC101 F14 Hecuba by Euripides, tr. by Mitchell-Boyask (in Odysseus at Troy) B&N
CC101 F14 The Republic by Plato, tr. by Reeve B&N
CC101 F14 The Five Books of Moses, tr. by Alter B&N
CC102 S15 Daodejing by Laozi, tr. by Michael (to be distributed) n/a
CC102 S15 The Gospel of Matthew from the New Testament (RSV) B&N
CC102 S15 The Gospel of John from the New Testament (RSV) B&N
CC102 S15 The Analects by Confucius, tr. by Burton Watson B&N
CC102 S15 Inferno by Dante, tr. by Mandelbaum B&N
CC101 S15 Purgatorio by Dante, tr. by Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S15 Paradiso by Dante, tr. by Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S15 The Aeneid by Virgil, tr. by Fitzgerald B&N
CC102 S15 Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, tr. by Ostwald B&N
CC102 S15 The Conference of the Birds by Attar, tr. by Davis B&N
CC105 F14 From Nothing to Everything by Alan Marscher n/a
CC201 F14 The Prince by Machiavelli, tr. by Wootton B&N
CC201 F14 The Canzoniere by Petrarch, tr. by Musa B&N
CC201 F14 King Lear by William Shakespeare B&N
CC201 F14 Discourse on Method by René Descartes, tr. by Lafleur B&N
CC201 F14 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, tr. by Rutherford B&N
CC201 F14 Paradise Lost by John Milton B&N
CC201 F14 The Essays: A Selection by Michel de Montaigne, tr. by Screech B&N
CC201 F14 The Sonnets of William Shakespeare B&N
CC202 S15 The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, tr. by Cohen B&N
CC202 S15 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen B&N
CC202 S15 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman B&N
CC202 S15 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant, tr. by Gregor & Timmermann B&N
CC202 S15 Lyric Poems by John Keats B&N
CC202 S15 Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau B&N
CC202 S15 Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake B&N
CC202 S15 Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson B&N
CC202 S15 On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche, tr. Diethe B&N
CC202 S15 The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois B&N
CC202 S15 Plays of Anton Chekhov, tr. Carson B&N
CC202 S15 Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot B&N
CC203 F14 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes B&N
CC203 F14 Basic Political Writings by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, tr. by Cress B&N
CC203 F14 Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, tr. by Grant B&N
CC203 F14 Second Treatise of Government by John Locke B&N
CC203 F14 The Old Regime and the French Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville, tr. by Gilbert B&N
CC203 F14 Classes by Karl Marx, tr. by Tucker (in The Marx-Engels Reader) B&N
CC203 F14 The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, tr. by Tucker B&N
CC203 F14 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber, tr. by Kalberg B&N
CC203 F14 On Suicide by Emile Durkheim, tr. by Robin Buss B&N
CC203 F14 History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, tr. by Warner B&N
CC203 F14 The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldûn, tr. by Rosenthal B&N
CC203 F14 Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronisław Malinowski B&N
CC204 S15 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes B&N
CC204 S15 In Defense of the Indians by Bartolome De Las Casas B&N
CC204 S15 Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Emile Durkheim
CC204 S15 Public Religions in the Modern World by José Casanova B&N
CC204 S15 When God Talks Back by Tanya Luhrmann 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