Great (free) Books of the Western World

Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volumes. The series is now in its second edition and contains 60 volumes.

Homer, ca.800 BC

Aeschylus (525 BC — 456 BC)

Sophocles (c. 496-c. 405 BC)

Euripides (480 or 484–406 BC)

Aristophanes (ca. 446 BC — 385 Bc)

Herodotus, 485–420 BC

Thucydides, ca.460 BC

Plato, c.427–c.347 BC

Aristotle, 384–322 BC

Hippocrates, 460–377 BC

Galen, 131–201

Euclid ca.300 BC

Archimedes, c. 287–212 BC

All works listed between On the Sphere and Cylinder and the Book of Lemmas may be found in The Works of Archimedes.

  • On the Sphere and Cylinder
  • Measurement of a Circle
  • On Conoids and Spheroids
  • On Spirals
  • On the Equilibrium of Planes
  • The Sand-Reckoner
  • The Quadrature of the Parabola
  • On Floating Bodies
  • Book of Lemmas
  • The Method Treating of Mechanical Problems

Apollonius of Perga, 262 BC–ca. 190 BC

Nicomachus of Gerasa

Lucretius, 98?–55 BC

Epictetus, ca. 55–135

Marcus Aurelius, 121–180

Virgil, 70–19 BCE

Plutarch, 46–120

Cornelius Tacitus, ca.56–ca.120 AD


Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473–1543

Johannes Kepler, 1571–1630

  • Epitome of Copernican Astronomy (Books IV — V)
  • The Harmonies of the World (Book V)

Plotinus, 205–270

Augustine of Hippo, 354–430

Thomas Aquinas, 1224–1274

Dante, 1265–1321

Geoffrey Chaucer, ca.1343–1400

Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469–1527

Thomas Hobbes, 1588–1679

François Rabelais, 1494?–1553?

Michel de Montaigne, 1533–1592

William Shakespeare, 1564–1616

William Gilbert, 1540–1603

  • On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies

Galileo Galilei, 1564–1642

William Harvey, 1578–1657

Miguel de Cervantes, 1547–1616

Francis Bacon, 1561–1626

René Descartes, 1596–1650

Benedict de Spinoza, 1632–1677

John Milton, 1608–1674

Blaise Pascal, 1623–1662

Isaac Newton, 1642–1727

Christiaan Huygens, 1629–1693

John Locke, 1632–1704

George Berkeley, 1685–1753

David Hume, 1711–1776

Jonathan Swift, 1667–1745

Laurence Sterne, 1713–1768

Henry Fielding, 1707–1754

Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu

Jean–Jacques Rousseau, 1712–1778

Adam Smith, 1723–1790

Edward Gibbon, 1737–1794

Immanuel Kant, 1724–1804

American State Papers

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

John Stuart Mill, 1806–1873

James Boswell, 1740–1795

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, 1743–1794

Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier

Michael Faraday

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1770–1831

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749–1832

Herman Melville, 1819–1891

Charles Darwin, 1809–1882

Karl Marx, 1818–1883

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Leo Tolstoy, 1828–1910

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1821–1881

William James, 1842–1910

Sigmund Freud (Consider downloading from here)

  • The Origin and Development of Psycho-Analysis
  • Selected Papers on Hysteria
  • The Sexual Enlightenment of Children
  • The Future Prospects of Psycho-Analytic Therapy
  • Observations on “Wild” Psycho-Analysis
  • The Interpretation of Dreams
  • On Narcissism
  • Instincts and Their Vicissitudes
  • Repression
  • The Unconscious
  • A General Introduction to Psycho-Analysis
  • Beyond the Pleasure Principle
  • Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego
  • The Ego and the Id
  • Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety
  • Thoughts for the Times on War and Death
  • Civilization and Its Discontents
  • New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis

Second edition

To the pre-20th century books the second edition added the following:

John Calvin

Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1466–1536

Molière, 1622–1673 (Most plays are available at the Internet Archive)

Jean Racine

  • Bérénice
  • Phèdre

Voltaire, 1694–1778

Denis Diderot

Søren Kierkegaard

Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844–1900

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805–1859

Honore de Balzac, 1799–1850

Jane Austen, 1775–1817

George Eliot, 1819–1880

Charles Dickens, 1812–1870

Mark Twain, 1835–1910

Henrik Ibsen, 1828–1906

The six volumes of 20th century material consisted of the following:

William James, 1842–1910

Henri Bergson

John Dewey

Alfred North Whitehead, 1861–1947

Bertrand Russell

Martin Heidegger

  • What Is Metaphysics?

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Karl Barth

  • The Word of God and the Word of Man

Henri Poincaré

Max Planck

  • Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers

Alfred North Whitehead, 1861–1947

Albert Einstein

Arthur Eddington

  • The Expanding Universe

Niels Bohr

G. H. Hardy

  • A Mathematician’s Apology

Werner Heisenberg

  • Physics and Philosophy

Erwin Schrödinger

Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1900–1975

C. H. Waddington, 1905–1975

  • The Nature of Life

Thorstein Veblen, 1857–1929

R. H. Tawney, 1880–1962

John Maynard Keynes, 1883–1946

Sir James George Frazer, 1854–1941

Max Weber

Johan Huizinga

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Henry James, 1843–1916

George Bernard Shaw, 1856–1950

  • Saint Joan

Joseph Conrad, 1857–1924

Anton Chekhov, 1860–1904

Luigi Pirandello, 1867–1936

Marcel Proust, 1871–1922

Willa Cather, 1873–1947

Thomas Mann, 1875–1955

James Joyce, 1882–1941

Virginia Woolf, 1882–1941

  • To the Lighthouse

Franz Kafka, 1883–1924

D. H. Lawrence, 1885–1930

  • The Prussian Officer

T. S. Eliot

Eugene O’Neill, 1888–1953

  • Mourning Becomes Electra

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896–1940

  • The Great Gatsby

William Faulkner, 1897–1962

Bertolt Brecht, 1898–1956

  • Mother Courage and Her Children

Ernest Hemingway, 1899–1961

George Orwell, 1903–1950

  • Animal Farm

Samuel Beckett, 1906–1989

  • Waiting for Godot

Categories: Literature & Fiction

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