The Complete Harvard Classics 2022 Edition - ALL 71 Volumes

The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction
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( newly updated TOC )

The Harvard Universal Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909.

Eliot had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf. (Originally he had said a three-foot shelf.) The publisher P. F. Collier and Son saw an opportunity and challenged Eliot to make good on this statement by selecting an appropriate collection of works, and the Harvard Classics was the result.

Eliot worked for one year with William A. Neilson, a professor of English; Eliot determined the works to be included and Neilson selected the specific editions and wrote introductory notes. Each volume had 400–450 pages, and the included texts are «so far as possible, entire works or complete segments of the world's written legacies.» The collection was widely advertised by Collier and Son, in Collier's and elsewhere, with great success.

Eight years later Eliot added a further 20 volumes as a sub-collection titled 'The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction', offering some of the greatest novels and short stories of world literature. The exhaustive anthology of the 'The Harvard Classics' comprises every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject up to the twentieth century.

The Harvard Classics:

. 1: Franklin, Woolman & Penn

2: Plato, Epictetus & Marcus Aurelius

3: Bacon, Milton, Browne

4: John Milton

5: R. W. Emerson

6: Robert Burns

7: St Augustine & Thomas á Kempis

8: Nine Greek Dramas

9: Cicero and Pliny

10: The Wealth of Nations

11: The Origin of Species

12: Plutarchs

13: Æneid

14: Don Quixote

15: Bunyan & Walton

16: 1001 Nights

17: Folklore & Fable

18: Modern English Drama

19: Goethe & Marlowe

20: The Divine Comedy

21: I Promessi Sposi

22: The Odyssey

23: Two Years Before the Mast

24: Edmund Burke

25: J. S. Mill & T. Carlyle

26: Continental Drama

27 & 28: English & American Essays

29: The Voyage of the Beagle

30: Scientific Papers

31: The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini

32: Literary and Philosophical Essays

33: Voyages & Travels

34: French & English Philosophers

35: Chronicle and Romance

36: Machiavelli, Roper, More, Luther

37: Locke, Berkeley, Hume

38: Harvey, Jenner, Lister, Pasteur

39: Prologues

40–42: English Poetry

43: American Historical Documents

44 & 45: Sacred Writings

46 & 47: Elizabethan Drama

48: Blaise Pascal

49: Saga

50: Reader's Guide

51: Lectures

The Shelf of Fiction:

1 & 2: The History of Tom Jones

3: A Sentimental Journey & Pride and Prejudice

4: Guy Mannering

5 & 6: Vanity Fair

7 & 8: David Copperfield

9: The Mill on the Floss

10: Irving, Poe, Harte, Twain, Hale

11: The Portrait of a Lady

12: Notre Dame de Paris

13: Balzac, Sand, de Musset, Daudet, de Maupassant

14 & 15: Goethe, Keller, Storm, Fontane

16–19: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev

20: Valera, Bjørnson, Kielland

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