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The Harvard 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. The most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time comprises both the 50-volume “5-foot shelf of books” and the the 20-volume Shelf of Fiction. Together they cover every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject through the twentieth century.n 1910, Dr. Charles W. Eliot, then President of Harvard University, put together an extraordinary library of “all the books needed for a real education.” 

1   Benjamin FranklinJohn WoolmanWilliam Penn 
2   PlatoEpictecusMarcus Aurelius 
3   Bacon, Milton’s Prose, Thomas Browne 
4   Milton’s Complete Poems in English 
5   Emerson. Essays and English Traits 
6   Burns. Poems and Songs 
7   Saint Augustine, The Confessions. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ 
8   Nine Greek Dramas 
9   Letters and Treatises of Cicero and Pliny 
10 Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations 
11 Darwin. The Origin of Species 
12 Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans 
13 Virgil’s Aeneid 
14 Cervantes. Don Quixote, Part I 
15 Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Walton, Lives of Donne and Herbert. 
16 The Thousand and One Nights 
17 Folk-Lore and Fable: Aesop, Grimm, Anderson 
18 Modern English Drama: Dryden, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Shelley, Browning, Byron 
19 Goethe: Faust, Egmont, etc. Marlowe: Doctor Faustus 
20 Dante. The Divine Comedy 
21 Manzoni. I Promessi Sposi 
22 Homer. The Odyssey 
23 Dana. Two Years Before the Mast 
24 Burke. On the Sublime; Reflections on the Revolution in France, etc. 
25 J. S. Mill and Thomas Carlyle 
26 Continental Drama 
27 English Essays, Sidney to Macaulay 
28 English and American Essays 
29 Darwin. Voyage of the Beagle 
30 Faraday, Helmholtz, Kelvin, Newcomb, etc. (Scientific Papers) 
31 Cellini. Autobiography 
32 Montaigne, Sainte-Beuve, Renan, etc. 
33 Voyages and Travels 
34 Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes 
35 Froissart, Malory, Holinshed 
36 Machiavelli, More, Luther 
37 Locke, Berkeley, Hume 
38 Harvey, Jenner, Lister, Pasteur 
39 Famous Prefaces 
40 English Poetry, 1 
41 English Poetry, 2 
42 English Poetry, 3 
43 American Historical Documents 
44 Sacred Writings, 1 
45 Sacred Writings, 2 
46 Elizabethan Drama, 1 
47 Elizabethan Drama, 2 
48 Pascal. Thoughts and Minor Works 
49 Epic and Saga 
50 Introduction, Reader’s Guide and Indexes 
51 Lectures on The Harvard Classics