The Susan Wise Bauer Classics List

The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer guides readers through their first steps in a self-motivated classical education by reading through famous works in four genres: novels, autobiographies, histories, and drama. Her book contains a great list for those interested in expanding their education by reading books that have greatly impacted western civilization. Though far from comprehensive, Bauer’s list provides a diverse list of worthy works; she recommends reading chronologically within each genre to understand the historical development of the genre as a whole.

Novels

  • Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
  • Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  • Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  • The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
  • The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
  • Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
  • Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  • The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  • The Trial, Franz Kafka
  • Native Son, Richard Wright
  • The Stranger, Albert Camus
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
  • Seize the Day, Saul Bellow
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • If on a winter’s night a traveler, Italo Calvino
  • Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
  • White Noise, Don Delillo
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt

Autobiographies

  • The Confessions, St. Augustine of Hippo
  • The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe
  • Essays, Michel de Montaigne
  • The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself, Teresa of Avila
  • Meditations, Rene Descartes
  • Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, John Bunyan
  • The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration, Mary Rowlandson
  • Confessions, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin
  • Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written By Herself, Harriet Jacobs
  • Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass
  • Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington
  • Ecce Homo, Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
  • An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Mohandas Gandhi
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein
  • The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton
  • Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, C.S. Lewis
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcom X
  • Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton
  • The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
  • Born Again, Charles W. Colson
  • Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, Richard Rodriguez
  • The Road from Coorain, Jill Ker Conway
  • All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs, Elie Wiesel

Histories

  • The Histories, Herodotus
  • The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
  • The Republic, Plato
  • Lives, Plutarch
  • The City of God, St. Augustine of Hippo
  • The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede
  • The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Utopia, Sir Thomas More
  • The True End of Civil Government, John Locke
  • The History of England, Volume V, David Hume
  • The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Common Sense, Thomas Paine
  • The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
  • The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  • The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Jacob Burckhardt
  • The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B Du Bois
  • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber
  • Queen Victoria, Lytton Strachey
  • The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell
  • The New England Mind, Perry Miller
  • The Great Crash, John Kenneth Galbraith
  • The Longest Day, Cornelius Ryan
  • The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
  • Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made, Eugene D. Genovese
  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman
  • All the President’s Men, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James M. McPherson
  • A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Marta Ballard, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
  • The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama

Drama

  • Agamemnon, Aeschylus
  • Oedipus the King, Sophocles
  • Medea, Euripides
  • The Birds, Aristophanes
  • Poetics, Aristotle
  • Everyman
  • Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe
  • Richard III, William Shakespeare
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
  • Hamlet, William Shakespeare
  • Tartuffe, Moliere
  • The Way of the World, William Congreve
  • She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith
  • The School for Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  • A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen
  • The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
  • The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov
  • Saint Joan, George Bernard Shaw
  • Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Eliot
  • Our Town, Thornton Wilder
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill
  • No Exit, Jean Paul Sartre
  • A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
  • Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
  • Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett
  • A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard
  • Equus, Peter Shaffer

Poetry

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer
  • Greek Lyricists
  • Odes, Horace
  • Beowulf
  • Inferno, Dante Alighieri
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Sonnets, William Shakespeare
  • John Donne
  • Psalms, King James Bible
  • Paradise Lost, John Milton
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Blake
  • The Poetry of
    • William Wordsworth
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    • John Keats
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    • Walt Whitman
    • Emily Dickinson
    • Christina Rossetti
    • Gerard Manley Hopkins
    • William Butler Yeats
    • Paul Laurence Dunbar
    • Robert Frost
    • Carl Sandburg
    • William Carlos Williams
    • Ezra Pound
    • T.S. Eliot
    • Langston Hughes
    • W.H. Auden
    • Philip Larkin
    • Allen Ginsberg
    • Sylvia Plath
    • Mark Strand
    • Adrienne Rich
    • Seamus Heaney
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