a well-educated mind

In 2006 I accepted a teaching job with a small Classical Christian Education school. I had no idea what classical education was so it was time for me to get researching. I read Dorothy Sayers (you know the lady who translated  Dante’s Divine Comedy)The Lost Tools of Learning and fell in love with classical education and Dorothy Sayers. (If you haven’t read any of her nonfiction, now is the time!  Start with Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine) I also read The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. Another great lady. Her history curriculum is also fantastic. I only taught for two years before we moved on to graduate school in DC. About two years ago I came across The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. My husband went to a Classical Christian high school and loved every minute of being there. I went to a public high school. I too loved my school, but the history and literacy program was not as comprehensive as Patrick’s. I wanted to read all he had read and I wanted to know all that he knew about history. So, I thought this book would be my perfect way of learning.
Here is an excerpt from Amazon about the book:
In The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer provides a welcome and encouraging antidote to the distractions of our age, electronic and otherwise. In her previous book, The Well-Trained Mind, the author provided a road map of classical education for parents wishing to home-school their children, and that book is now the premier resource for home-schoolers. In this new book, Bauer takes the same elements and techniques and adapts them to the use of adult readers who want both enjoyment and self-improvement from the time they spend reading.
The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of five literary genres—fiction, autobiography, history, drama, and poetry—accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter—ranging from Cervantes to A. S. Byatt, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich—preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.The Well-Educated Mind reassures those readers who worry that they read too slowly or with below-average comprehension. If you can understand a daily newspaper, there’s no reason you can’t read and enjoy Shakespeare’s Sonnets or Jane Eyre. But no one should attempt to read the “Great Books” without a guide and a plan. Susan Wise Bauer will show you how to allocate time to your reading on a regular basis; how to master a difficult argument; how to make personal and literary judgments about what you read; how to appreciate the resonant links among texts within a genre—what does Anna Karenina owe to Madame Bovary?—and also between genres. Followed carefully, the advice in The Well-Educated Mind will restore and expand the pleasure of the written word.
So the idea is that you would read through these books in chronological order so that you get a good sense of the history of the world through your readings. I love this idea.  I  start right away but have been  stuck in the fiction section… I really need to read some of the others. There are one or two that I’ve read while in school, so those are also out of order, but that’s ok with me.
Through this page I will type out a few notes on the books I read.
Here is her list of books. I’ve underlined the ones I’ve already read:
  1. Don Quixote – Miguel De Cervantes
  2. The Pilgrim’s Progress -John Bunyan
  3. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  4. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  5. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (I chose to read A Tale of Two Cities instead, I thought it would be more interesting.)
  6. Les Miserables (This one is not on the list but I really wanted to read it and this is where it would fit)
  7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  8. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  9. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  10. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
  11. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  12. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  13. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy  (I read this out of order because the movie was coming out…)
  14. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  15. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
  16. Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  17. The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
  18. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  19. The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  20. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (I read this in high school)
  21. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Wolfe
  22. The Trial – Franz Kafka
  23. Native Son – Richard Wright
  24. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  25. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
  26. Seize the Day – Saul Bellow
  27. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  28. If on a winter’s night a traveler – Italo Calvino
  29. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  30. White Noise – Don DeLillo
  31. Possession – A.S. Byatt
  1. Augustine – The Confessions
  2. Margery Kempe – The Book of Margery Kempe
  3. Michele De Montaigne – Essays
  4. Teresa Of Avila – The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
  5. Rene Descartes – Meditations
  6. John Bunyan – Grace Abounding in the Chief of Sinners
  7. Mary Rowlandson – The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration
  8. Jean Jacques Rousseau – Confessions
  9. Benjamin Franklin – The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  10. Henry David Thoreau – Walden
  11. Harriet Jacobs – Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
  12. Frederick Douglass – Life and Times of Frederick Douglas
  13. Booker T. Washington – Up from Slavery
  14. Friedrich Nietzsche – Ecce Homo
  15. Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf
  16. Mohandas Gandhi – An Autobiography: The Story of my Experiments with Truth
  17. Gertrude Stein – Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
  18. Thomas Merton  – Seven Storey Mountain
  19. C.S. Lewis – Surprised by Joy: the Shape of my Early Life
  20.  Malcolm X – The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  21. May Sarton – Journal of a Solitude
  22. Aleskandr Solzhenitsyn – The Gulag Archipelago
  23. Charles W. Colson – Born Again
  24. Richard Rodriquez – Hunger of Memory: Education of Richard Rodriquez
  25. Jill Ker Conway – The Road from Coorain
  26. Elie Wiesel – All Rivers Run to the Sea
  1. Herodotus – The Histories
  2. Thucydides – The Peloponnesian War
  3. Plato – The Republic
  4. Plutarch – Lives
  5. Augustine – The City of God
  6. Bede – The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  7. Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince
  8. Sir Thomas More – Utopia
  9. John Locke – The True End of Civil Government
  10. David Hume – The History of England, Volume V
  11. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – The Social Contract
  12. Thomas Paine – Common Sense
  13. Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  14. Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  15. Alexis De Tocqueville – Democracy in America
  16. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – Communist Manifesto
  17. Jacob Burckhardt – Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
  18. W.E.B. Du Bois – The Souls of Black Folk
  19. Max Weber – The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism
  20. Lytton Strachey – Queen Victoria
  21. George Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier
  22. Perry Miller – The New England Mind
  23. John Kenneth Galbraith – The Great Crash
  24. Cornelius Ryan – The Longest Day
  25. Betty Friedan – The Feminine Mystique
  26. Eugene D. Genovese – Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
  27. Barbara Tuchman – A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
  28. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein – All the President’s Men
  29. James McPherson – Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
  30. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich – A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard
  31. Francis Fukuyama – End of History and the last Man
  1. Aeschylus – Agamemnon
  2. Sophocles – Oedipus the King
  3. Euripides – Medea
  4. Aristophanes – The Birds
  5. Aristotle – Poetics
  6. Everyman (14th Century)
  7. Christopher Marlowe – Doctor Faustus
  8. William Shakespeare – Richard III
  9. William Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  10. William Shakespeare – Hamlet
  11. Moliere – Tartuffe
  12. William Congreve – The Way of the World
  13. Oliver Goldsmith – She Stoops to Conquer
  14. Richard Brinsley Sheridan – The School for Scandal
  15. Henrik Ibsen – A Doll’s House
  16. Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Ernest
  17. Anton Chekhov – The Cherry Orchard
  18. George Bernard Shaw – Saint Joan
  19. T.S. Eliot – Murder in the Cathedral
  20. Thornton Wilder – Our Town
  21. Eugene O’Neill – Long Day’s Journey into Night
  22. Jean Paul Sartre – No Exit
  23. Tennessee Williams – A Streetcar Named Desire
  24. Arthur Miller – Death of a Salesman
  25. Samuel Beckett – Waiting for Godot
  26. Robert Bolt – A Man for All Seasons
  27. Tom Stoppard – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
  28. Peter Shaffer – Equus
  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh
  2. Homer – The Iliad and the Odyssey
  3. Greek Lyricists
  4. Horace – The Odes
  5. Beowolf
  6. Dante Alighieri – Inferno
  7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  8. Geoffrey Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales
  9. William Shakespeare – Sonnets
  10. John Donne
  11. King James Bible – Psalms
  12. John Milton – Paradise Lost
  13. William Blake – Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  14. Williams Wordsworth
  15. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  16. John Keats
  17.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  18. Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  19. Walt Whitman
  20. Emily Dickinson
  21. Christina Rossetti
  22. Gerald Manley Hopkins
  23. William Butler Yeats
  24. Paul Laurence Dunbar
  25. Robert Frost
  26. Carl Sandburg
  27. William Carlos Williams
  28. Ezra Pounds
  29. T.S. Eliot
  30. Langston Hughes
  31. W.H. Auden

4 responses to “a well-educated mind

  1. Hi, my name is Nicole and I am a student doing a research project on Peace Corps and Diplomacy. I would really appreciate if you could answer some questions as your life as part of being in a family with a foreign service officer. If you decide to respond please email me at ncprojects@yahoo.com
    Nicole Cuadra

  2. Hi! Would you be interested in corresponding about the books on A Well-Educated Mind? I just finished Don Quixote. Regards

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