The Franklin Library’s Great Books

The Franklin Library’s Great Books of the Western World (GBWW) is identical (or very close) to the Encyclopedia Britannica’s 1952 version of the GBWW. However, it appears the Franklin Library edition has reorganized some of the works, often breaking volumes originally containing multiple works into separate volumes. The Franklin Library’s 96 full leather volumes are the most luxurious but correspondingly expensive set among those listed on ThinkingWest. Because full sets are for sale for several thousands of dollars on eBay and other book-selling sites, the Franklin Library set is geared for serious collectors. Nonetheless, casual bibliophiles may occasionally find affordable copies in used book stores.

Also, many of these works come in other formats from the same Franklin Library. For example, in the full leather edition, Plutarch’s works are divided amongst four volumes, while in a non-leather edition on my personal shelf, it is contained in a single volume. It is not yet clear the relationship of my personal Franklin library book to the Franklin Library GBWW set. Below are several images of a hardcover Plutarch’s Lives from the set, exhibiting gold foiled front/back covers and spine with raised bands on the spine. Prior to the text, full page black and white artwork is displayed, and chapter beginnings are often accompanied by colored chapter headings and artwork. Font size is typical, with approximately 4.5 lines in the diameter of a U.S. penny.

Below is an alphabetical list (by author) of the volumes published in the Franklin Library Great Books of the Western World set.

  1. Aeschylus – Complete Plays
  2. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay – The Federalist
  3. Aristophanes – Plays Volume 1
  4. Aristophanes – Plays Volume 2
  5. Aristotle – Volume 1
  6. Aristotle – Volume 2
  7. Aristotle – Volume 3
  8. Aristotle – Volume 4
  9. Bacon, Sir Francis  – Selected Writings
  10. Boswell, James – The Life of Samuel Johnson, Volume 1
  11. Boswell, James – The Life of Samuel Johnson, Volume 2
  12. Boswell, James – The Life of Samuel Johnson, Volume 3
  13. Cervantes – Don Quixote de la Mancha, Volume 1
  14. Cervantes – Don Quixote de la Mancha, Volume 2
  15. Chaucer, Geoffrey  – The Canterbury Tales, Volume 1
  16. Chaucer, Geoffrey  – The Canterbury Tales Volume 2
  17. Chaucer, Geoffrey  – Troilus and Cressida
  18. Dante – The Divine Comedy
  19. Darwin, Charles – The Descent of Man
  20. Darwin, Charles – The Origin of Species
  21. Descartes and Spinoza
  22.  Dostoevsky, Fyodor – The Brothers Karamazov
  23. Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius and Nicomachus
  24. Euripides – Plays Volume 1
  25. Euripides – Plays Volume 2
  26. Fielding, Henry  – Tom Jones Volume 1
  27. Fielding, Henry  – Tom Jones Volume 2
  28. Freud, Sigmund  – The Major Works Volume 1
  29. Freud, Sigmund  – The Major Works Volume 2
  30. Freud, Sigmund  – The Major Works Volume 3
  31. Gibbon, Edward  – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 1
  32. Gibbon, Edward  – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 2
  33. Gibbon, Edward  – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 3
  34.  Gibbon, Edward  – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 4
  35.  Gibbon, Edward  – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 5
  36. Gibbon, Edward  – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 6
  37. Gilbert, Galileo and Harvey
  38. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von  – Faust
  39. Herodotus – The History of Herodotus
  40. Hippocrates and Galen
  41. Homer – The Iliad
  42. Homer – The Odyssey
  43. James, William  – The Principles of Psychology
  44. Kant and Hegel
  45. Lavoisier, Fourier and Faraday
  46. Locke, Berkeley and Hume
  47. Lucretius, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius
  48. Machiavelli and Hobbes – Political Writings
  49. Marx and Engels – Capital and The Manifesto of the Communist Party
  50. Melville, Herman  – Moby-Dick Volume 1
  51. Melville, Herman  – Moby-Dick Volume 2
  52. Mill, John Stuart  – Political Writings
  53. Milton, John  – Poetry and Prose
  54. Montaigne – Essays Volume 1
  55. Montaigne – Essays Volume 2
  56. Montaigne – Essays Volume 3
  57. Montesquieu, Charles de  – The Spirit of Laws
  58. Newton and Huygens
  59. Pascal – Provincial Letters, Pensees and Scientific Treatises
  60. Plato – The Works of Plato Volume 1
  61. Plato – The Works of Plato Volume 2
  62. Plato – The Works of Plato Volume 3
  63. Plotinus – The Enneads
  64. Plutarch – The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans Volume 1
  65. Plutarch – The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans Volume 2
  66. Plutarch – The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans Volume 3
  67. Plutarch – The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans Volume 4
  68. Ptolemy, Copernicus and Kepler
  69. Rabelais, Francois – Gargantua and Pantagruel Volume 1
  70. Rabelais, Francois – Gargantua and Pantagruel Volume 2
  71. Rousseau, Jean Jacques  – Selected Writings
  72. Saint Augustine – The City of God and On Christian Doctrine
  73. Saint Augustine – The Confessions of Saint Augustine
  74. Saint Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica Volume 1
  75. Saint Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica Volume 2
  76. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 1
  77. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 2
  78. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 3
  79. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 4
  80. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 5
  81. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 6
  82. Shakespeare, William  – Volume 7
  83. Smith, Adam  – The Wealth of Nations
  84. Sophocles – Plays
  85. Sterne, Laurence  – Tristram Shandy
  86. Swift, Jonathan  – Gulliver’s Travels
  87. Syntopicon – The Great Ideas (Guide to The Great Books) Volume 1
  88. Syntopicon – The Great Ideas (Guide to The Great Books) Volume 2
  89. Syntopicon – The Great Ideas (Guide to The Great Books) Volume 3
  90. Tacitus – The Annals and The Histories
  91. Thucydides – The History of the Peloponnesian War
  92. Tolstoy, Leo  – War and Peace Volume 1
  93. Tolstoy, Leo  – War and Peace Volume 2
  94. Tolstoy, Leo  – War and Peace Volume 3
  95. Virgil – The Aeneid
  96. Virgil – The Eclogues and The Georgics

For more on the Franklin Library sets (there are more than the GBWW), visit the Easton/Franklin site here.

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