Harvard Classics: Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf (Volume 1–5)

Franklin’s Advice for the New Year

This segment is prepared with the purpose to give you an overview of the Harvard Classics. The Harvard Classics comprise the most interesting minds of all ages and every land. The goal is to provide you with literature that can stimulate your mind and give new viewpoints upon our problems, and upon ourselves.

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. Harvard Classics covers almost every major literary figure, philosopher, religion, folklore and historical subject.
Eliot had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf.
“My aim was not to select the best fifty, or best hundred, books in the world, but to give, in twenty-three thousand pages or thereabouts, a picture of the progress of the human race within historical times, so far as that progress can be depicted in books.”- Dr. Eliot

If you are a curious mind and reader, you will surely enjoy the Harvard Classics. In the following, you will find a quick overview of volumes 1 to 5 (+links). Feel free to share your ideas and thoughts in the comment section bellow. Enjoy!

Volume 1 to 5

Vol. 1: FRANKLIN, WOOLMAN, PENN
-His Autobiography, by Benjamin Franklin
-The Journal of John Woolman, by John Woolman (1774 and subsequent editions)
-Fruits of Solitude, by William Penn

Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform with out fail what you resolve” -From Franklin’s Autobiography

Vol. 2. PLATO, EPICTETUS, MARCUS AURELIUS
-The Apology, Phaedo, and Crito, by Plato
-The Golden Sayings, by Epictetus
-The Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Vol. 3. BACON, MILTON’S PROSE, THOS. BROWNE
-Essays, Civil and Moral, and New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon
-Areopagitica and Tractate of Education, by John Milton
-Religio Medici, by Sir Thomas Browne

Vol. 4. COMPLETE POEMS IN ENGLISH, MILTON
-Complete poems written in English, by John Milton

Vol. 5. ESSAYS AND ENGLISH TRAITS, EMERSON
-Essays and English Traits, by Ralph Waldo Emerson