Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 132: Really Old Classics

Yesterday's blog talked about the three book challenges to which I've committed myself, one of which is the Really Old Classics Challenge (pre-1600 A.D.). Here are thirteen "really old" classics taken from the suggested reading list that I have either read previously and might be interested in reading again (in bold), or am interested in reading for the challenge.

* Gilgamesh
* Homer: The Iliad, The Odyssey
* Aeschylus: Oresteia, Seven Against Thebes, Prometheus Bound
* Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; Electra
(I have read these four in both French and English, and two different versions of Antigone--the original and a "contemporary" version by Jean Anouilh. Also read "The Flies," a modernization of "Electra" by Sartre.)
* Euripides: Orestes
* Plato: Dialogues
* Aristotle: Poetics, Ethics
* Aesop: Fables
* Dante: The Divine Comedy
* Leonardo da Vinci: Notebooks
* Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte D’Arthur
* Sir Thomas More: Utopia
* Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene


* Michel de Montaigne: Essays
* Confucius: The Analects

What about you? Are there any "really old" classics you liked and would recommend?


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You can find more Thursday Thirteen participants HERE.


marcia@joyismygoal said...


Adelle Laudan said...

I could never read any of I can barely say the titles. Impressive. Happy T13!

Tracie said...

I have only read a couple of those....but one day I would like to read more of them. I always enjoyed Aesop:Fables!

So many books, so little time!

Happy TT!

Heather said...

Marcia - LOL, thanks!

Adelle - Aw, you could do it, LOL! I must confess, the only reason I've read some of those I have (esp in both French and Eng) is owed to being a double Eng/French major. But I did actually like the ones I read.

Tracie - Aesop's Fables are always good! Come to think of it, I've read French renditions of some of those, too. :-\

Ella Drake said...

I've read a few of those, but I had trouble reading Aristotle. Somehow that makes me feel lacking.

Journeywoman said...

I've only read Homer.

Heather said...

Ella - Aw, you're not lacking. I don't think I've read anything by Aristotle, but I'm sure he's not for everyone!

Journeywoman - Cool! Now i know where my cheering section will be. ;)

Alice Audrey said...

I actually like the original Beowulf. Ok, so I mean a translation of the original. It's awfully low-brow, but what can I say? I liked the Iliad and the Odyssey too, and they've got some crude moments.

Heather said...

Alice - Ick! Sorry, Beowulf is the absolute last selection I would read. Me and him, we've been on the outs since high school. (Grumbles about stupid judges: tell me my poem isn't a poem because it doesn't rhyme, then give high marks to Beowulf...Yes, I'm still holding a grudge.)

Americanising Desi said...

wow classics i must say :)

Human-ness still a mystery

Shelley Munro said...

Good for you. I have to admit that my brain hurts at the thought of reading these.

Ms Menozzi said...

The Divine Comedy is currently on my bookshelf, waiting for me to pick it up.

With this challenge going on, perhaps now is the time? Would it count if I fudge a little and listen to Roberto Benigni reading it, though?

Very interesting reading, good luck with meeting the challenge!

Happy TT!

jillconyers said...

Haven't read many from your list and the ones I have read were required reading in HS or college. Guess I'm not one for the classics.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some of that is pretty heavy reading. You have the only one I would really suggest, Dante's Divine Comedy. But make sure you get a good translation. I've read some of Aristotle, but you really have to be in the right frame of mine. I keep meaning to pick up Aesop's Fables, but never remember. Great list. Happy T13!

chubskulit said...

I admire people like you who have the passion to read books, I used to do it when I was single but now that I have two little ones, I only read children's books lol..

Stephanie Adkins said...

I'm very impressed because I don't think I could read any of those. LOL Well, maybe Homer. Happy Thursday! Have fun reading!

Brenda ND said...

Hmm. If I had to pick one of these I'd go with The Faerie Queen, based on title alone or maybe Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks--those sound intriguing. Then again I think Gilgamesh is one of the oldest hero quests. I like hero quests. Hmm. All books are good. Happy Reading.

Inez Kelley said...

I love Gilgemesh! Antigone and Electra and Aesop's fables too.

Jennifer Leeland said...

Le Morte D' Arthur is one of my favorite books. I was always fascinated by Arthurian legends and More's was the quintessential authority on them.
Spencer's Faerie Queene is also an old favorite, though it's been years since I read it.
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey were both pretty heavy and I just couldn't keep interested for long. But I've tried to read them both. (I own them and every once and a while, I make another attempt. LOL.)

A. Catherine Noon said...

Awesome! And Montaigne is my favorite of your listed authors. He's great fun, as relevant now as then. I hope you have a fun time!

Heather said...

Desi - "Wow" indeed! :)

Shelley - LOL...I didn't say I was going to read all of them, just that they were titles being considered. ;)

Ms Menozzi - DO IT! Seriously, challenges really help motivate. Thanks for cheering me on!

Jill - Most of those I've read were required reading, but ones I ended up enjoying. Guess I'm weird that way. ;)

Heather said...

Chris - A second vote for The Divine Comedy duly noted. Thanks!

Chubskulut - Nothing wrong with kiddie lit. Have you seen the new book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Children's Book?

Stephanie - LOL, thank you.

Brenda - The Faerie Queen and Notebooks both sound intriguing, though I think both are longer works. Gilgamesh is indeed one of the oldest hero quests, and I did like it when we read it in college Common Course.

Heather said...

Inez - Agreed, those were all good!

Jennifer - Le Morte D' Arthur was one I considered, but in addition to reading a classic or two, I also want to work on wittling down the TBR -- which is why I thought I would try The Odessey. It's been sitting in this pile far too long!

Catherine - I agree, Montaigne is fun. We read a bit of him in French class. Might need to revisit him, thanks!

Paige Tyler said...

That's way too much heavy reading! LOL! Great TT!


My TT is at

Vixen said...

Love it. More for my library list. I am particularly curious about The Fairie Queen.

Marice said...

cool! great list!

u may view mine if u have time

Anonymous said...

I haven't read any classics since high school and honestly I can't remember which I read. I hope you enjoy revisiting the classics!

Heather said...

Vixen - I hope you enjoy The Faerie Queene if you give it a try. Thanks for visiting!

Marice - Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

Sophia - I've been trying to catch up on some of the classics I missed, but have not read any "really old" ones since college, so we'll see how we do. Thanks for visiting!

Amy said...

These are some wonderful classics you've listed. They take some time to read but they are totally worth it.
I might participate in one of these classic challenges. It's been a while since I read several of the works you listed!

Elise Logan said...

I love really old classics. I've read several on your list, and would say that I prefer Republic to Dialogues, but that could just be my political science hat. Also, I loved Homer and Aesop, and adore Beowulf. Sophocles is hit or miss for me.

I haven't seen their list, but two of my really old favorites areSun Tzu's The Art of War, which has so much to say about strategy, and Machiavelli's The Prince.

See political science hat, above.

Anonymous said...

Sophocles in French and English, I am very impressed. I am also re-reading Sopocles for this challenge, but I havn't decided on my other choices. I was looking for things that I have not read before like The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon but my local library does not have it and nor could I find in the local bookshops, I will have to order it I guess. I will probably read The Divine Comedy, I have read parts of it before but not in entirety, so now might be a good time plus my 16 year old wants to read it with me. Good luck with the challenge, it is nice to re-visit some of the old books and hopefully discover some previously un-read oldies.

Heather said...

Hi Amy, thanks for the encouragement. Follow the link in my post for more info on the challenge if interested. Rebecca has put together some great lists of recommendations, etc.

Elise - Both The Art of War and The Prince were on the list of suggestions Rebecca compiled. The former does interest me some as I've seen a lot of authors mention it, but I am not as politically minded as some of us are. And I'm not reading Beowulf no matter who plugs it. *vbg*

Book Pusher - Believe me, reading works in both French and English wasn't for pleasure, and some were read more than once. I encountered Oedipus in no fewer than four classes senior year in HS, then again at least twice the following year in college. I was pretty much an expert on Oedipus, Antigone and the Sartre play Huis Clos (No Exit), lol.

I have not heard of The Pillow Book, but have you tried searching for it online? I have found numerous "really old" classics available for free through online sources.

Alice Audrey said...

Funny, because even though I took a college course which featured it, I never really thought of it as great literature. But then, I'm the same with Shakespeare. I was in grade school the first time I saw one of his comedies performed live, and have always thought he was about that level. Yes, I know he was pure genius, but I still don't consider him a real class act.