JOHN RUSKIN
KANIGEL'S VINTAGE READING 
FROM 
PLATO TO BRADBURY

CHARLES DICKENS

Robert Kanigel's Vintage Reading: From Plato to Bradbury, A Personal Tour of Some of the World's Best Books (1998), is a product of book review columns that he wrote for the Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times. In discussing the titles selected, Kanigel writes as follows: "The brutal truth, dear reader, is that I chose these books for my benefit, not yours -- because I wanted to learn something; or venture to an old time, or new place; or because circumstances awakened me to the merits of some long-dead author; or in a few cases because a book just happenedto cross my desk or catch my eye. Typically, my choices reglected the whim of the moment, so they include vintage books that might not make every top ten list of immortal classics, but to which I nonetheless turned for literary, emotional, or intellectual sustenance at the time." For each title Kanigel included 2-3 pages of comments. In the listing below we show the titles in Kanigel's own categories.

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            ON EVERYONE'S LIST OF LITERARY CLASSICS

                    Thomas Wolfe                              Look Homeward, Angel. 1929
                    Henry James                                 The Portrait of a Lady. 1881
                    William Faulkner                          As I Lay Dying. 1930
                    Emily Bronte                                Wuthering Heights. 1847
                    Rudyard Kipling                           Kim. 1901
                    Lewis Carroll                               Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 1865
                    Lawrence Durrell                          Justine. 1957
                    Charles Dickens                           Oliver Twist. 1838
                    Jane Austen                                  Pride and Prejudice. 1813
                    E. M. Forster                               A Passage to India. 1924
                    Willa Cather                                 My Antonia. 1918
                    Gustave Flaubert                          Madame Bovary. 1857
 

           ON MANY A LIST FOR BURNING

                    Dorothy Parker                             Stories. 1942
                    Niccolo Machiavelli                      The Prince. 1537
                    Ambrose Bierce                           The Devil's Dictionary. 1906
                    Adolf Hitler                                  Mein Kampf. 1925
                    Emile Zola                                    Nana. 1880
                    John Reed                                     Ten days That Shook the World. 1919
                    Richard Wright                             Native Son. 1940
 

            BOOKS THAT SHAPED THE WESTERN WORLD

                    Michel de Montaigne                    Essays. 1580
                    Plato                                             The Dialogues. 4th century B.C.
                    Adam Smith                                  An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The
                                                                              Wealth of Nations. 1776
                    Thomas Malthus                           An Essay on the Principle of Population. 1798
                    Edward Gibbon                            The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
                                                                              1776-1788
                    Charles Darwin                            The Origin of Species by Means of Natural
                                                                               Selection. Or The Preservation of Favored
                                                                               Races in the Struggle for Life. 1859
                    Herodotus                                     The Histories. 5th century B.C.
                    Alexander Hamilton, James            The Federalist Papers. 1787
                        Madison, John Jay
                    Tacitus                                          The Annals of Imperial Rome. 100 A.D.
                    Thucydides                                    The Peloponnesian War. c. 40 B.C.
                    Alexis de Tocqueville                     Democracy in America. 1835
 

            MAKING HARD WORK EASY: THE GREAT POPULARIZERS

                    Frederick Lewis Allen                   Only Yesterday; An Informal History of the
                                                                               1920's. 1931
                    Paul de Kruif                                 Microbe Hunters. 1926
                    Marcus Tullius Cicero                    Selected Works. 60-44 B.C.
                    Margaret Mead                             Coming of Age in Samoa; A Psychological
                                                                               Study of Primitive Youth for Western
                                                                               Civilization. 1928
                    Henry Beston                                 The Outermost House. 1928
                    Francis F. Beirne                            The Amiable Baltimoreans. 1951
                    Aaron Copland                              What to Listen for in Music. 1939
                    C. W. Ceram                                 Gods, Graves, and Scholars. 1951
                    Hans Selye                                     The Stress of Life. 1956
                    Edith Hamilton                                The Greek Way in Western Civilization. 1930
 

            NOT ROBINSON CRUSOE, NOT BRAVE WORLD: LESSER KNOWN CLASSICS

                    Daniel Defoe                                 A Journal of the Plague Year. 1722
                    Aldous Huxley                              The Doors of Perception. 1954
                    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe        Elective Affinities. 1809
                    George Orwell                              Homage to Catalonia. 1938
                    Sigmund Freud                              Civilization and Its Discontents. 1930
                    Sinclair Lewis                               Arrowsmith. 1925
                    Mark Twain                                   Roughing It. 1873
 

            LIGHTER FARE: GOOD READS, BEST SELLERS

                    Arthur Conan Doyle                      A Study in Scarlet. 1887
                    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow       The Song of Hiawatha. 1855
                    Abraham Cahan                             The Rise of David Levinsky. 1917
                    Joseph Hergesheimer                     Java Head. 1918
                    R. Austin Freeman                         Mr. Pottermack's Oversight. 1930
                    John Hersey                                   A Bell for Adano. 1944
                    Ray Bradbury                                The Martian Chronicles. 1950
                    Laura Z. Hobson                            Gentleman's Agreement. 1947
 

            "I KNOW WHAT I LIKE" - ON AESTHETICS AND STYLE

                    Vitruvius                                       The Ten Books of Architecture. c. 25 B.C.
                    Giorgio Vasari                              The Lives of the Most Eminent Italian
                                                                               Architects, Painters, and Sculptors. 1550,
                                                                               revised and enlarged in 1568
                    John Ruskin                                   The Seven Lamps of Architecture. 1849
                    Kenneth Clark                                The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form. 1956
                    William Strunk, E. B. White          The Elements of Style. 1959
 

            EIGHT ONE-OF-A-KINDS

                    Virginia Woolf                               A Room of One's Own. 1929
                    H. L. Mencken                                The American Language: An Enquiry into the
                                                                                Development of English in the United States.
                                                                                1919-1948
                    Antoine de Saint Exupery               The Little Prince. 1943
                    Henry Adams                                 The Education of Henry Adams. 1918
                    Edwin A. Abbott                            Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.
                                                                                1884
                    Zora Neale Hurston                        Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937
                    G. H. Hardy                                    A Mathematician's Apology. 1940
                    Isadora Duncan                               My Life. 1927
                    Thomas S. Kuhn                              The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 1962
 

            THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT : HOLY AND HUMAN

                                                                           Gilgamesh. 3rd millenium B.C.
                    Sainte Augustine                              Confessions. 398 A.D.
                    Gustave Meyrink                             The Golem. 1915
                    W. Somerset Maugham                   The Razor's Edge. 1944
                    Thomas Merton                               The Seven Storey Mountain. 1948
                    Death Be Not Proud                        John Gunther. 1949
                    Old Testament                                 Ecclesiastes.
                    James Hilton                                    Lost Horizon. 1933
                                                                           Bhagavad Gita (Song of God). 500-200 B.C.
                    Elie Wiesel                                       Night. 1958
                    William James                                  The Varieties of Religious Experience. 1902
 
 

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