Originally published between 1909 and 1917 under the name "Harvard Classics," this stupendous 51-volume set (a collection of the greatest writings from literature, philosophy, history, and mythology) was assembled by American academic Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), Harvard University's longest-serving president. Also known as "Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf," it represented Eliot's belief that a basic liberal education could be gleaned by reading from an anthology of works that could fit on five feet of bookshelf.
Eliot compiled these titles to serve as a "home educator" -- for people who couldn't attend Harvard so they too could get a literary education with some of the best and most well-known classics around the world.
Eliot’s collection was even featured in the memoir: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else, in which author Christopher Beha details how he turned to these great works for comfort and inspiration during a time of personal struggle. Beha’s memoir illustrates what Eliot believed about The Five Foot Shelf: that the great works of literature are still worth consulting, as a source not just of education, but of edification in every sense of the word.
Cosimo offers this series by individual volume at leading online bookstores or as a full set in hardcover or paperback, especially of interest to historians, collectors, who like to expand their personal library, professional librarians, or for parents wanting their high school kids to learn more before going off to college. Actually it is a must for those of you who want to know the fundamentals of literature, philosophy and history without being muddled by a multitude of platitudes in social media, gaming and never-ending TV shows. If you are interested in purchasing the full set, please contact us.
The collection includes titles such as:
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
- The Complete Poems of John Milton
- The Origin of Species
- Don Quixote
- The Odyssey
- Aeneid, and many more
The hardcover retail list price for this series is: $1784.49, but now our price is: $1429.99 (you save $354.5 or a 20 percent discount)