Penguin Great Ideas

This page is to collect together links from my latest (September 2020) Penguin reading project – as I approach the Penguin Great Ideas books with trepidation, as there are 120 of them…

I am taking a laid-back approach to reading them, and when I do cover another title, I’ll link to the post here! Watch this space for my progress! 😀

Here is a masterlist of all the titles – I’m lucky enough to have the complete first series as a set, but have only intermittent examples from the others. I have marked the books I need in italics and will update as and when I acquire copies…

Series 1:

01. On the Shortness of Life Seneca – review here
02. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
03. Confessions – Augustine
04. The Inner Life – Thomas Ă  Kempis
05. The Prince – Niccolò Machiavelli
06. On Friendship – Michel de Montaigne
07. A Tale of a Tub – Jonathan Swift
08. The Social Contract – Jean Jacques Rousseau
09. The Christians and the Fall of Rome – Edward Gibbon
10. Common Sense – Thomas Paine
11. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – Mary Wollstonecraft
12. On the Pleasure of Hating – William Hazlitt
13. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
14. On the Suffering of the World – Arthur Schopenhauer
15. On Art and Life – John Ruskin
16. On Natural Selection – Charles Darwin
17. Why I Am So Wise – Friedrich Nietzsche
18. A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
19. Civilization and Its Discontents – Sigmund Freud
20. Why I Write – George Orwell

Series 2:

21. The First Ten Books – Confucius
22. The Art of War – Sun Tzu
23. The Symposium – Plato
24. Sensation and Sex – Lucretius
25. An Attack on the Enemy of Freedom  -Cicero
26. The Revelation of St John the Divine and The Book of Job
27. Travels in the Land of Kublai Khan – Marco Polo
28. The City of Ladies – Christine de Pizan
29. How to Achieve True Greatness – Baldesar Castiglione
30. Of Empire – Francis Bacon
31. Of Man – Thomas Hobbes
32. Urne Burial – Sir Thomas Browne
33. Miracles and Idolatry – Voltaire
34. On Suicide – David Hume
35. On the Nature of War – Carl von Clausewitz
36. Fear and Trembling – Søren Kierkegaard
37. Where I Lived, and What I Lived For – Henry David Thoreau
38. Conspicuous Consumption – Thorstein Veblen
39. The Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus
40. Eichmann and the Holocaust – Hannah Arendt

Series 3:

41. In Consolation to his Wife – Plutarch
42. Some Anatomies of Melancholy – Robert Burton
43. Human Happiness – Blaise Pascal
44. The Invisible Hand – Adam Smith
45. The Evils of Revolution – Edmund Burke
46. Nature – Ralph Waldo Emerson
47. The Sickness Unto Death – Søren Kierkegaard
48. The Lamp of Memory – John Ruskin
49. Man Alone with Himself – Friedrich Nietzsche
50. A Confession – Leo Tolstoy
51. Useful Work versus Useless Toil – William Morris
52. The Significance of the Frontier in American History – Frederick Jackson Turner
53. Days of Reading – Marcel Proust
54. An Appeal to the Toiling, Oppressed and Exhausted Peoples of Europe – Leon Trotsky
55. The Future of an Illusion – Sigmund Freud
56. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – Walter Benjamin
57. Books v. Cigarettes – George Orwell
58. The Fastidious Assassins – Albert Camus
59. Concerning Violence – Frantz Fanon
60. The Spectacle of the Scaffold – Michel Foucault

Series 4:

61. Tao Te Ching – Lao-Tzu
62. Writings from the Zen Masters – Various
63. Utopia – Thomas More
64. On Solitude – Michel de Montaigne
65. On Power – William Shakespeare
66. Of the Abuse of Words – John Locke
67. Consolation in the Face of Death – Samuel Johnson
68. An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment? – Immanuel Kant
69. The Executioner – Joseph de Maistre
70. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater – Thomas de Quincey
71. The Horrors and Absurdities of Religion – Arthur Schopenhauer
72. The Gettysburg Address – Abraham Lincoln
73. Revolution and War – Karl Marx
74. The Grand Inquisitor – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
75. On A Certain Blindness in Human Beings – William James
76. An Apology for Idlers – Robert Louis Stevenson
77. Of the Dawn of Freedom – W. E. B. Du Bois
78. Thoughts of Peace in an Air Raid – Virginia Woolf
79. Decline of the English Murder – George Orwell
80. Why Look at Animals? – John Berger

Series 5:

81. The Tao of Nature – Chuang Tzu
82. Of Human Freedom – Epictetus
83. On Conspiracies – Niccolò Machiavelli
84. Meditations – RenĂŠ Descartes
85. Dialogue Between Fashion and Death – Giacomo Leopardi
86. On Liberty – John Stuart Mill
87. Hosts of Living Forms – Charles Darwin
88. Night Walks – Charles Dickens
89. Some Extraordinary Popular Delusions – Charles Mackay
90. The State as a Work of Art – Jacob Burckhardt
91. Silly Novels by Lady Novelists – George Eliot
92. The Painter of Modern Life – Charles Baudelaire
93. The ‘Wolfman’ – Sigmund Freud
94. The Jewish State – Theodor Herzl
95. Nationalism – Rabindranath Tagore
96. Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
97. We Will All Go Down Fighting to the End – Winston Churchill
98. The Perpetual Race of Achilles and the Tortoise – Jorge Luis Borges
99. Some Thoughts on the Common Toad – George Orwell
100. An Image of Africa – Chinua Achebe

Series 6: (this set is forthcoming and numbering is still to be announced…)

How To Be a Stoic – Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus
The Decay of Lying – Oscar Wilde
Bushido: The Soul of Japan – Inazo Nitobe
Being Happy – Epicurus
God is Dead – Friedrich Nietzsche
Suffragette Manifestos – Various
Anarchist Communism – Peter Kropotkin
Ain’t I A Woman? – Sojourner Truth
Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books – Georges Perec
Why Vegan? – Peter Singer
Steps Towards a Small Theory of the Visible – John Berger
When I Dare to Be Powerful – Audre Lorde
The Narrative of Trajan’s Column – Italo Calvino
Three Japanese Buddhist Monks
The Power of Words – Simone Weil
The Freedom to Be Free – Hannah Arendt
One Swallow Does Not Make a Summer – Aristotle
What Is Existentialism? – Simone de Beauvoir
Reflections on the Guillotine – Albert Camus
A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart – Martin Luther King Jr.

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