Classics: Ad Infinitum?

I made my respectable 75 count classics reading list yesterday which covered multiple time periods and contained major authors.

After considering the lists of others participating in the project and reviewing literary lists of all stripes, I find my list woefully incomplete.

For example, here are some very obvious missing works:

  • Beowulf*
  • Bram Stoker:  Dracula
  • Dante:  The Divine Comedy*
  • Edmond Spenser:  The Faerie Queene
  • Geoffrey Chaucer:  The Canterbury Tales*
  • H.G. Wells:  The Time Machine
  • Henry Fielding:  Tom Jones
  • James Fenimore Cooper:  The Last of the Mohicans
  • Jules Verne:  Around the World in 80 Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Mary Shelley:  Frankenstein, The Last Man
  • Miguel de Cervantes:  Don Quixote
  • Vladimir Nabokov:  Lolita
  • William Makepeace Thackeray:  Vanity Fair

What about books that are a bit more reclusive?

  • Christopher Marlowe:  Dr. Faustus, Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Edward II*
  • E.M. Forster:  A Passage to India, Room with a View
  • Laurence Sterne:  Tristam Shandy
  • Oliver Goldsmith:  The Vicar of Wakefield
  • Sophocles:  Oedipus Rex, Antigone
  • Thomas More:  Utopia
  • Wilkie Collins:  The Woman in White, The Moonstone

What about those that are completely obscure?

  • Ann Radcliffe:  The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Romance of the Forest
  • Benjamin Constant:  Adolphe
  • Christine de Pizan:  The Book of the City of Ladies
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth:  Historia Regum Britanniae
  • George du Maurier:  Trilby
  • Giovanni Boccaccio:  The Decameron
  • Maria Edgeworth:  Castle Rackrent, Belinda
  • Pierre Abélard:  The Story of my Misfortunes, Letters of Abélard and Héloïse
  • Sebastian Brant:  The Ship of Fools
  • The Nibelungenlied*
  • William Langland:  Piers Plowman

What of these 43 books and the countless others I will find?  I decided to file them under Optional Classics for my GoodReads shelf.  If I do that, I don’t screw up my original list.  Also, it gives me that “just in case” option when I absolutely detest a book on my original list.

And then do I need to start categorizing them by century or by country?  Do I categorize them by novel or play?  Do I even need to categorize them at all?

Reminder to self:  Just read.

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2 thoughts on “Classics: Ad Infinitum?

  1. uskl914

    Following your blog and see that you have compiled a wonderful list of classics. You are one of the few bloggers who have included many works from French literature ( my favorites) and one book that throughly surprised me, Dracula by Bram Stoker!

    1. My mother was a French and German teacher and a prodigious reader. I owe many of my preferences to her suggestions over the years.

      As for Dracula, I’ve had the silly book on my shelf for eons without reading it. It is about time! 🙂

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