Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Personal Library

I recently went through the exercise (and I think you should too) of looking through my family's library and deciding which things I thought I would want to take with me, should I ever leave the library behind. I selected based on my opinion of them, whether I thought I would need my own personal copy (not just a library copy) and the likelihood of them being in another library (I didn't take Frankenstein for example). A book could either fit category 2 or categories 3+1 to be selected. Some Chesterton works only fit #1.

And then, when I was done, I arranged them. Not historically, and not alphabetically, but in quite another fashion. I arranged them in order from most Literary to Most Theoretical, which sort of corresponds to Most Dionisyian to Most Apollonian. Now that you know what Dionisian and Apollonian mean, (if you read the last post) you might want to see my list and my ordering. Please comment on my arrangement. Books that are both very Apollonian and very Dionisyan are generally placed close to the middle.

List of books from Most Literary to Most Theoretical

Category 1: Poetry

The Yale Complete works of Shakespeare
The Odes of Horace

Category 2: Prose

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, with notes by Joseph Pearce
Nancy Drew: the Thirteenth Pearl
The Hardy Boys: While the Clock Ticked

Intermediate Category 1: Historical Fiction

Come Rack! Come Rope! By Robert Hugh Benson (a story about Catholics in Elizabethian times)
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Spanish Lover by Spearman (the story of Don Juan of Austria)

Intermediate category 2: Literary Criticism

A Student’s guide to Classics
The Politically Incorrect guide to English and American Literature by Elizabeth Cantor
Shadowplay by Claire Asquith (Sort of like the Da Vinci Code for Shakespeare, except that it’s
both scholarly and rabidly pro-Catholic.)

Intermediate category 3: The Silmarillion

Category 3: History, Theology, and practical matters

St. Francis of Assisi by GK. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton on War and Peace (Nespaper articles written around WWI)
33 Questions about American History you’re not supposed to Ask by Thomas Woods
The Bible
The Everlasting man by GK Chesterton (The theoretical midpoint of the collection)
The American Boy’s handy book
The Student’s guide to the Core Curriculum by Mark Henrie
The Student’s guide to Liberal Learning by Father James V. Schall
The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft
Saint Thomas Aquinas by GK Chesterton
The Story of Thought by Brian Magee (history of philosophy)
The Catechism (book on Catholic doctrine)

Category 4: Art Theory

The Elements of Music by Ralph Turek
The Art of Counterpoint

Intermediate category 4: Aesthetics

Placing Aesthetics by Robert H Wood
Art And Scholasticism by Jaques Maritain

Category 5: Philosophy

Philosophy 101 by Peter Kreeft
Socrates meets Marx by Peter Kreeft
Socrates meets Descartes by Peter Kreeft
The Hellenistic Philosophers (selections from Stoics, Epicureans, etc)
Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature (Selections from Summa, commentaries, etc)
Five Texts on the Mideval Problem of Universals (If you don’t understand the title, don’t read the book.)

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