Great Books by Anthony O'Hear

A short list of essential works of the Western Canon, as selected scholar Anthony O'Hear.

  1. The Iliad by Homer

    Image of The Iliad

    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set in the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of Ilium by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and e...


  2. The Odyssey by Homer

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    The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work traditionally ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the m...


  3. Oresteia by Aeschylus

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    The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play t...


  4. Antigone by Sophocles

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    Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written before or in 442 BC. Chronologically, it is the third of the three Theban plays but was written first.[1] The play expands on the Theban legend that preda...


  5. The Bacchae by Euripides

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    Electra or Elektra (Ancient Greek: Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes (409 BC) and the Oedipus at Colo...


  6. Apology by Plato

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    The Apology is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city belie...


  7. Phaedo by Plato

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    Plato's Phaedo (/ˈfiːdoʊ/; Greek: Φαίδων, Phaidōn, Greek pronunciation: [pʰaídɔːn]), also known to ancient readers as Plato's On The Soul, is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along ...

    - Google

  8. Crito by Plato

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    Crito (/ˈkraɪtoʊ/ KRY-toh or /ˈkriːtoʊ/ KREE-toh; Ancient Greek: Κρίτων [krítɔːn]) is a dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It is a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend...

    - Google

  9. Euthyphro by Plato

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    Euthyphro (/ˈjuːθɪfroʊ/; Ancient Greek: Εὐθύφρων, Euthuphrōn) is one of Plato's early dialogues, dated to after 399 BC. Taking place during the weeks leading up to Socrates' trial, the dialogue fea...

    - Google

  10. The Aeneid by Virgil

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    The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil in the late 1st century BC (29–19 BC) that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the...


  11. Metamorphoses by Ovid

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    The Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid is a narrative poem in fifteen books that describes the creation and history of the world. Completed in 8 AD, it has remained one of the most popular works ...


  12. Confessions by Augustine

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    Confessions is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published ...


  13. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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    With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature. Translated here into modern English, these tales of a mo...


  14. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

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    Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the ...


  15. Henry V by William Shakespeare

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    The authoritative edition of Henry V from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, is now available as an eBook. Features inc...

    - Google

  16. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Pri...


  17. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

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    Alonso Quixano, a retired country gentleman in his fifties, lives in an unnamed section of La Mancha with his niece and a housekeeper. He has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes th...


  18. The Tempest by William Shakespeare

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    The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, estimated to have been written in 1610–11, (although some researchers have argued for an earlier dating). The play's protagonist is the banished sorcer...


  19. Paradise Lost by John Milton

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    Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books. A second edition followed in 1674, redivided into twelve...


  20. Pensées by Blaise Pascal


  21. Phèdre by Jean Racine

    Image of Phèdre

    Phèdre (originally Phèdre et Hippolyte) is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677.


  22. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play, although more appropriately it should be defined a tragicomedy, despite the very title of the work. It was published in two parts: Faust. Der Tr...