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 purchase
CC101 F17 Gilgamesh, trans. Ferry B&N
CC101 F17 The Odyssey by Homer, trans. Fitzgerald B&N
CC101 F17 Ajax by Sophocles, trans. Esposito (in Odysseus at Troy) B&N
CC101 F17 Hecuba by Euripides, trans. Mitchell-Boyask (in Odysseus at Troy) B&N
CC101 F17 The Republic by Plato, trans. Reeve B&N
CC101 F17 The Five Books of Moses, trans. Alter B&N
CC102 S18 Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, trans. Addiss and Lombardo B&N
CC102 S18 The Gospel of Matthew from the New Testament (RSV) B&N
CC102 S18 The Gospel of John from the New Testament (RSV) B&N
CC102 S18 The Analects by Confucius, trans. Burton Watson B&N
CC102 S18 Inferno by Dante, trans. Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S18 Purgatorio by Dante, trans. Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S18 Paradiso by Dante, trans. Mandelbaum B&N
CC102 S18 The Aeneid by Virgil, trans. Fitzgerald B&N
CC102 S18 Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, trans. Ostwald B&N
CC102 S18 The Bhagavad-Gita, trans. Stoler-Miller B&N
CC111 F17 Custom textbook, supervised by Prof. Robin Stevens (on the course webpage) n/a
CC112 S18  A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke B&N
CC112 S18  Politics by Aristotle, trans. Lord B&N
CC112 S18  The Freedom of a Christian by Martin Luther B&N
CC112 S18 The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James B&N
CC112 S18 In Defense of the Indians by Bartolomé de las Casas, trans. Poole B&N
CC112 S18 Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Emile Durkheim B&N
CC112 S18 Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande by E. E. Evans-Pritchard B&N
CC201 F17 The Prince by Machiavelli, tr. by Wootton B&N
CC201 F17 The Canzoniere by Petrarch, tr. by Musa B&N
CC201 F17 Hamlet by William Shakespeare B&N
CC201 F17 Discourse on Method by René Descartes, tr. by Lafleur B&N
CC201 F17 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, tr. by Rutherford B&N
CC201 F17 Paradise Lost by John Milton B&N
CC201 F17 The Essays: A Selection by Michel de Montaigne, tr. by Screech B&N
CC201 F17 The Sonnets of William Shakespeare B&N
CC202 S18 Candide by Voltaire, trans. Wootton B&N
CC202 S18 Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, trans. Scholar B&N
CC202 S18 Faust: Part One by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, trans. Kirby B&N
CC202 S18 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen B&N
CC202 S18 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman B&N
CC202 S18 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant, trans. Grego & Timmermann B&N
CC202 S18 English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology edited by Applebaum B&N
CC202 S18 On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche, trans. Diethe B&N
CC202 S18 The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois B&N
CC202 S18 The Essential Plays by Anton Chekhov, trans. Heim B&N
CC202 S18 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf B&N
CC211 F17 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes B&N
CC211 F17 Basic Political Writings by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, trans. Cress B&N
CC211 F17 Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, trans. Grant B&N
CC211 F17 Second Treatise of Government by John Locke B&N
CC211 F17 The Old Regime & the French Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville, trans. Gilbert B&N
CC211 F17 Classes by Karl Marx, tr. by Tucker (in The Marx-Engels Reader) B&N
CC211 F17 The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, trans. Tucker B&N
CC211 F17 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber, trans. Kalberg B&N
CC211 F17 On Suicide by Emile Durkheim, trans. Robin Buss B&N
CC211 F17 History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, trans. Warner B&N
CC211 F17 The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldûn, trans. by Rosenthal B&N
CC211 F17 Argonauts of the Western Pacific by Bronisław Malinowski B&N
CC212 S18 Uncertainty B&N
CC212 S18 Merchants of Doubt 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