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The Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World's Best Authors and Their Works

The Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World's Best Authors and Their Works

by Charles Van Doren

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"Charles Van Doren has laid a feast before all of us that is irresistible." -Mortimer J. Adler

This engaging love letter to reading follows the great authors and classics that transformed the world: from Aristotle and Herodotus in ancient Greece to Salinger and Heinlein in 20th century America. Like a professor whose enthusiasm enwraps his students, Van Doren explains what's wonderful in the books you've missed and awakens your desire to reopen the books you already know.

Divided chronologically by the periods in which these classics were written, each book is put in its historical context and brought to life by Van Doren's brilliant analysis. The Joy of Reading delves into a wide range of genres-fiction, poetry, drama, children's books, philosophy, history and science. This is the one book that brings together everything you need to know about the classics you missed and ignites your passion to read and reread the greatest books the world has ever known.

This book is the fruit of a lifelong love affair. Reading, I believe, is my favorite thing to do; books and I have been inseparable almost as long as I can remember ... To this day, I become distressed if I am anywhere without a book, a magazine, a newspaper, any scrap of paper to read .... I like the smell of books, certainly the feel of them. Life without books would be, for me, a vacant horror."
-Charles Van Doren

"Nothing recommends the joy of reading better than the communication of it by a person who has spent a lifetime enriched by the delights of reading. Charles Van Doren is that kind of reader. He has laid a feast before us that is irresistible."
-Mortimer J. Adler, author of How to Read a Book

"Mr. Van Doren is that rarity, a truly well read man who reads not for professional purposes but for pleasure. His book spurs us on to explore more deeply and joyfully the infinitely varied terrain of good books."
-Clifton Fadiman, author of The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402234378
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 612,516
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Van Doren is the coauthor of the classic How to Read a Book with philosopher Mortimer J. Adler; the author of A History of Knowledge (which sold 30,000 copies in hardcover and 150,000 in paperback); and the author or editor of The Idea of Progress, Great Treasury of Western Thought, The Annals of America, Second Chance: An American Story, as well as several novels for young people and Webster's American biographies. He is an adjunct professor of the University of Connecticut, Torrington Campus. His father was Mark Van Doren, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and professor at Columbia.

Table of Contents

Chapter One. The Golden Age
Homer -
Hesiod -
Aeschylus -
Sophocles -
Euripides -
Aristophanes -
Aesop -
Herodotus -
Thucydides -

Chapter Two. After the Fall -
Hippocrates -
Plato -
Aristotle -
Euclid -
Archimedes -

Chapter three. The Silver Age of Tyranny -
Lucretius -
Virgil -
Ovid -
Tacitus -
Plutarch -
Epictetus -
Marcus Aurelius-

Chapter four. The Middle Age -
Ptolemy -
Boethius -
Augustine -
Anonymous (The Song of Roland) -
Anonymous (The Tumbler of Our Lady) -
Joseph Bédier -
Thomas Aquinas -
Dante Alighieri-
Geoffrey Chaucer -

Chapter five. The Renaissance, Part One -
François Rabelais -
Niccolò Machiavelli
Nicolaus Copernicus -
William Gilbert -
Johannes Kepler -
Galileo Galilei-
Francis Bacon -
Michel de Montaigne -
William Shakespeare -
Miguel de Cervantes -

Chapter six. The Renaissance, Part Two -
René Descartes -
Jean de La Fontaine -
Molière -
Blaise Pascal -
John Donne -
George Herbert -
Robert Herrick -
Thomas Hobbes -
John Milton -
Andrew Marvell -
Benedict de Spinoza -

Chapter seven. The Age of Reason -
Isaac Newton -
Isaac Newton and Christiaan Huygens -
John Dryden -
Alexander Pope -
Daniel Defoe -
William Congreve -
Voltaire -

Chapter eight . . . and Revolution -
John Locke -
John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume -
Jean-Jacques Rousseau -
Henry Fielding -
James Boswell -
Robert Burns -
William Blake -
William Wordsworth -
Samuel Taylor Coleridge -
Thomas Jefferson -
Abraham Lincoln -

Chapter nine. Romantic Spirits -
Goethe -
Lord Byron -
Percy Bysshe Shelley -
John Keats -
Jane Austen -
Honoré de Balzac -
Stendhal -
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay -
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel -

Chapter ten. Critics and Seers -
Claude Bernard -
Charles Darwin -
John Stuart Mill -
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels -
Charles Baudelaire -
Charles Dickens -
George Eliot -
Walt Whitman -
Emily Dickinson -
Matthew Arnold -
Mark Twain -
Henry Adams -

Chapter eleven. Some Victorians and Others -
Nathaniel Hawthorne -
Herman Melville -
Ivan Turgenev -
Fyodor Dostoevsky -
Leo Tolstoy -
Robert Browning
Lewis Carroll -
Thomas Hardy -
William James -
Henry James -
Arthur Conan Doyle -
Rudyard Kipling -

Chapter twelve. Turn of the Century -
Sigmund Freud -
C.P. Cavafy -
Alfred North Whitehead -
William Butler Yeats -
J.M. Synge -
Beatrix Potter -
Robert Frost -
Wallace Stevens -
Thomas Mann -
Edith Wharton -
Willa Cather -
Étienne Gilson -
James Joyce -
Henrik Ibsen -
Bernard Shaw -

Chapter thirteen. Entre Deux Guerres
Eugen Herrigel -
Isak Dinesen -
Virginia Woolf -
Franz Kafka -
Austin Tappan Wright -
Ringgold "Ring" Lardner -
Erwin Schrödinger -
William Carlos Williams -
Marianne Moore -
T.S. Eliot -
Ezra Pound -
Eugene O'Neill -
Nancy Mitford -
C.S. Lewis -
J.R.R. Tolkien -
F. Scott Fitzgerald -
Ernest Hemingway -
E.B. White -
James Thurber -
Archibald MacLeish -
Mark Van Doren -
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry -

Chapter fourteen. Hiroshima and After -
John Hersey -
Walter M. Miller, Jr.-
Charles Galton Darwin
Fernand Braudel -
Mortimer J. Adler -
John Steinbeck -
George Orwell -
T.H. White -
Samuel Beckett -
Robert A. Heinlein -
W.H. Auden -
Margaret Wise Brown -
Elizabeth Bishop -
Tennessee Williams -
Richard Wilbur -
Albert Camus -
Arthur Miller -
Arthur C. Clarke -
J.D. Salinger -
Julian Jaynes -
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn -

Chapter fifteen. Only Yesterday -
Fred Bodsworth -
Primo Levi -
Leo Rosten -
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. -
José Saramago -
Joseph Heller -
John Berger -
John le Carré -
Alan Furst -
Czelaw Milosz -
Sébastien Japrisot -
Toni Morrison -
Cormac McCarthy -
Larry McMurtry -
Daniel Quinn -
J.M. Coetzee -
Roberto Calasso -
Mark Helprin -
Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin, and Henning Mankell -
Carl Hiaasen -
Michael Pollan -
Patrick O'Brian
J.K. Rowling -

Ten-Year Reading Plan

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