The Harvard Classics were selected and edited by Charles W. Eliot, Harvard's president from 1869 to 1909. The books were designed to fit on a five-foot shelf. The 50 volumes comprise these writers and titles:
1. Benjamin Franklin, John Woolman, William Penn
2. Plato, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius
3. Francis Bacon, John Milton's prose, Thomas Browne
4. Milton's poems
5. 'Essays' and 'English Traits,' by Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. Poems and songs by Robert Burns
7. The 'Confessions' of St. Augustine; Thomas Kempis's 'The Imitation of Christ'
8. Nine Greek dramas
9. Letters and treatises of Cicero and Pliny
10. 'The Wealth of Nations,' by Adam Smith
11. 'The Origin of Species,' by Charles Darwin
12. Plutarch's 'Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans'
13. Virgil's 'Aeneid'
14. 'Don Quixote, Part I,' by Cervantes
15. 'Pilgrim's Progress,' by John Bunyan; 'The Lives of John Donne and George Herbert,' by Izaak Walton
16. 'The Thousand and One Nights'
17. Folklore and fables by Aesop, Grimm, and Andersen
18. 'Modern' English drama, including Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Oliver Goldsmith
19. Goethe: 'Faust, Part 1' 'Egmont,' etc.; 'Dr. Faustus,' by Christopher Marlowe
20. 'The Divine Comedy,' by Dante Alighieri
21. 'I Promessi Sposi,' by Alessandro Manzoni
22. 'The Odyssey,' by Homer
23. 'Two Years Before the Mast,' by Richard Henry Dana
24. 'The Sublime and the Beautiful,' 'Reflections on the French Revolution,' etc., by Edmund Burke
25. J.S. Mill and Thomas Carlyle
26. Continental drama: Molire, Caldern, etc.
27. English essays: Sir Philip Sidney to Thomas Babbington Macaulay
28. Essays, English and American
29. 'The Voyage of the Beagle,' by Darwin
30. Scientific papers: Michael Faraday, Hermann von Helmholtz, Lord Kelvin, Simon Newcomb, etc.
31. Cellini's autobiography
32. Literary and philosophical essays: Montaigne, Charles Augustin Saint-Beuve, Ernest Renan, etc.
33. Voyages and travels
34. Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes
35. Chronicle and romance: Jean Froissart, Sir Thomas Malory, Raphael Holinshed
36. Machiavelli, Sir Thomas More, Martin Luther
37. John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume
38. William Harvey, Edward Jenner, Joseph Lister, Pasteur
39. Famous prefaces
40-42. English poetry I, II, III
43. US historical documents
44-45. Sacred writings I, II
46-47. Elizabethan drama I, II
48. 'Thoughts, Letters, and Minor Works,' by Pascal
49. Epic and saga: 'Beowulf,' 'The Song of Roland,' etc.
50. Editor's introduction, reader's guide, indexes
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