Reading the Great Books: A 1.5-Year Update

Having just reached the 18-month mark in our Great Books Project, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few figures about what we’ve read to this point.

Remember, our goal has been to read the Gateway to the Great Books (10 volumes) and Great Books of the Western World (60 volumes). Volume 1 of GGB and Volumes 1-2 of GBWW consist primarily of index material and topical essays; we read the 100-page introductory essay in Volume 1 of GGB the first week of 2011. That leaves us with 67 volumes of great works to devour.

Of those 67 volumes, we have had read from 34: all nine GGB volumes and 25 of the GBWW volumes. We have read four volumes in their entirety: GGB Vol. 10 (Philosophical Essays); and GBWW Vol. 3 (Homer), Vol. 5 (Herodotus/Thucydides), and Vol. 48 (Melville/Twain). As we continue the program, of course, the number of volumes we complete will increase each year as we polish off volumes of collected works we began in previous years. I anticipate completing one or both of the GGB science/math volumes in 2012, for example.

Through June 30, 2012, we read 2,536 pages classified as Imaginative Literature. This total included three epic poems, four complete novels, two novel excerpts, three novellas, nineteen short stories, and fourteen critical essays.

We also read 1,987 pages from the Man and Society category. This total included three complete histories, excerpts from four other histories, two treatises (and excerpts from two others), two memoir excerpts, eight constitutional documents, six letters, ten speeches and lectures, and 116 essays.

Next are the 1,694 pages of science and mathematics. This total included seven complete treatises (with another underway), one autobiography, two biography excerpts, one complete work of popular science, excerpts from fifteen others, twelve essays and lectures, and the Hippocratic Oath.

Last but certainly not least, we have read 2,208 pages of Philosophy and Theology. This total included twelve complete treatises, excerpts from three others, a spiritual autobiography, eleven short works (such as Platonic dialogues), three letters, three lectures, and about twenty essays of varying lengths.

All in all, we have read 8,425 pages from the 34 volumes. It adds up after a while! On we go.

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About Dr. J

I am an Associate Professor and head of the Department of Humanities at Faulkner University. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy.
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One Response to Reading the Great Books: A 1.5-Year Update

  1. Stan Szczesny says:

    Awesome job!

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