The Western Canon, by Harold Bloom

A. The Theocratic Age

“Since the literary canon is at issue here, I include only those religious, philosophical, historical, and scientific writings that are themselves of great aesthetic interest. I would think that, of all the books that are in this first list, once the reader is conversant with the Bible, Homer, Plato, the Athenian dramatists, and Virgil, the crucial work is the Koran . . .

“I have included some Sanskrit works, scriptures and fundamental literary texts, because of their influence on the Western canon. The immense wealth of ancient Chinese literature is mostly a sphere apart from Western literary tradition and is rarely conveyed adequately in the translations available to us.” (p. 531)

The Ancient Near East

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Egyptian Book of the Dead
Holy Bible (King James Version)
The Apocrypha
Sayings of the Fathers (Pirke Aboth)

Ancient India (Sanskrit)

Mahabharata
Bhagavad-Gita
Ramayana

The Ancient Greeks

Homer (ca.800BC)
Iliad; Odyssey.
Hesiod (ca.700BC)
Works and Days; Theogony.
Archilochos
Sappho (ca.600BC)
Alkman
Pindar.
Odes.
Aeschylus (525 BC - 456 BC)
Oresteia; Seven Against Thebes; Prometheus Bound; Persians; Suppliant Women.
Sophocles (c. 496-c. 405 BC)
Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; Electra; Ajax; Women of Trachis; Philoctetes.
Euripides (480 or 484-406 BC)
Cyclops; Heracles; Alcestis; Hecuba; Bacchae; Orestes; Andromache; Medea; Ion; Hippolytus; Helen; Iphigenia at Aulis.
Aristophanes (ca. 446 BC - 385 BC)
The Birds; The Clouds; The Frogs; Lysistrata; The Knights; The Wasps; The Assemblywomen.
Herodotus, 485–420BCE
The Histories.
Thucydides, ca.460 BCE
The Peloponnesian Wars.
The Pre-Socratics (Heraclitus, Empedocles)
Plato, c.427-c.347 BCE
Dialogues.
Aristotle, 384–322 BCE
Poetics; Ethics.

Hellenistic Greeks

Menander, ca. 342–291 BC
The Girl from Samos.
Longinus.
On the Sublime.
Callimachus.
Hymns and Epigrams.
Theocritus.
Idylls.
Plutarch, 46–120
Lives; Moralia.
Aesop (620 - 560 BC)
Fables.
Lucian.
Satires.

The Romans

Plautus.
Pseudolus; The Braggart Soldier; The Rope; Amphitryon.
Terence, 195/185–159 BC
The Girl from Andros; The Eunuch; The Mother-in-Law.
Lucretius, 98?–55 BCE
The Way Things Are.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106–43 BCE
On the Gods.
Horace, 65-8 BCE
Odes; Epistles; Satires.
Persius.
Satires.
Catullus (c.84 B.C. - c.54 B.C.)
Attis and Other Poems.
Virgil (70-19 BC)
Aeneid; Eclogues; Georgics.
Lucan.
Pharsalia.
Ovid (43 BC - 17 AD)
Metamorphoses; The Art of Love; Heroides.
Juvenal.
Satires.
Martial.
Epigrams.
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca.4 BCE–65 CE
Tragedies, particularly Medea and Hercules Furens.
Petronius, c.27-66
Satyricon.
Apuleius, c. 123/125-c. 180
The Golden Ass.

The Middle Ages: Latin, Arabic, and the Vernacular Before Dante

Augustine of Hippo, 354–430
City of God; Confessions.
The Koran (Al-Qur'an)
The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night
The Poetic Edda
Snorri Sturluson.
The Prose Edda.
The Nibelungen Lied
Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1170–1220
Parzival.
Chrétien de Troyes, 12th cent
Yvain: The Knight of the Lion.
Beowulf (ca.800)
The Poem of the Cid
Christine de Pisan
The Book of the City of Ladies.
Pedro, Diego de San.
Prison of Love.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/literature/bloom/A.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:31