Augustine, Plato, Homer, Dostoyevsky—for a limited time, you can get the 71-volume Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection for 43% off!
The elements of an education
Around 100 years ago, Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard, made a bold two-part claim:
- That one could obtain all the elements of an education in the humanities by reading a collection of books that would fit on a five-foot shelf;
- That one could do it with a mere 15 minutes of reading a day.
Intrigued, the publisher P.F. Collier and Son challenged him to prove it, and Dr. Eliot started compiling the West’s most important works. The resulting library is the renowned Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection.
Eliot knew his stuff: his five-foot shelf is packed with fascinating, influential titles. Here are just a few:
- Homer’s Odyssey
- Plato’s Apology, Phaedo, and Crito
- Milton’s Paradise Lost
- Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
- Shakespeare’s Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest
- Dante’s Divine Comedy
And here’s the full list. Poetry, prose, philosophy, drama, economics, historically important works in science and medicine—there’s no way you could read these books, even for just 15 minutes a day, and not learn.
A snapshot of the culture
Agree or disagree with their arguments, these books have been active agents in shaping the West’s worldview—we’re talking about Adam Smith and Charles Darwin and Augustine. That makes them a singularly useful resource for anyone interested in understanding our times (1 Chron. 12:32). The collection’s works of Greek philosophy help you understand the intellectual climate leading up to early Christianity. Its works of modern philosophy help you get to know some of the best-known arguments both for and against God. Its many, many intersections with theology help you separate the sophistical and the orthodox. While the collection overall isn’t Christian, it’s a great resource for cultural study.
A superb value (and a limited-time sale)
A traditional education in the humanities costs a lot—just ask any Harvard student! Right now, though, the Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection is selling for just $142.95: that’s less than one semester’s textbook budget. (Of course, tuition also pays for things like professors and classrooms; Eliot certainly understood the difference.)
If you’re an ambitious learner, the Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection is a terrific way to take charge of your ongoing education.