My Personal Canon

Cartography by Suandini Banerjee

My Personal Canon of Great Books:

There have been lots of fascinating lists of personal canons of great books among lit bloggers and I’ve succumbed to peer pressure and made my own list. As I was thinking about my list I realized that the ancient authors are embarrassingly predictable. So I’ve broken my canon into two parts, ancient and everything else.

Ancient Authors:

Homer, Iliad

Presocratic Philosophers, The Main Fragments in Ancient Greek

Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Euripides, Trojan Women, Medea

Sopocles, Oedipus, Antigone

Plato, Symposium

Aristotle, Poetics

Catullus, Carmina

Vergil, Aeneid

Seneca, everything he wrote, especially The Trojan Women

Cicero, De Senectute, Pro Caelio

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Heroides, Amores

Propertius, Elegies (Many read Catullus and Ovid and unfortunately bypass Propertius. But his poems are just as good and important.)

Lucan, The Civil War (A very underappreciated epic from the Latin Silver Age)

Everything Else:

Tolstoy, War and Peace

James M. Redfield, Nature and Culture in the Iliad

Pascal Quignard, The Roving Shadows and The Sexual Night

Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus and Coming

John Wiliams, Augustus and Stoner (Stoner is his more popular novel, but Augustus is brilliant!)

Anne Carson, Nay Rather, The Bakkhai

Christopher Logue, War Music

Antal Szerb, Journey by Moonlight

Christa Wolf, Medea

Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin

R.D. Blackmore, Lorna Doone

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

George Eliot, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda

Sandford Friedman, Conversations with Beethoven

Derek Walcott, Omeros

Georgi Gospodinov, The Physics of Sorrow

Sergei Lebedev, Oblivion and The Year of the Comet

Stuart Shotwell, Edmund Persuader, Tomazina’s Folly

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Jane Austen, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice

Teffi, Tolstoy, Rasputin, Others and Me

Kleist, Penthesilea

Of course all of this is subject to change according to the year, my mood, the weather, etc.

28 responses to “My Personal Canon

  1. You’re a fan of Shotwell! Very pleased to meet you, indeed!


  2. I’ve recently just got into Jane Austen, and I am loving her work! You seem to be quite the expert on classics, I might ask you for some recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad to hear that! My favorite Austen books are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. But you really can’t go wrong with any of her books! Feel free to stop by any time and ask me for more recommendations!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds great, I’ll put them on my TBR! I will definitely be back to ask for some. I also was wondering if you would like to be a guest post on my blog by filling out the questions to the Classics Book Tag? If you would, that would be great. My blog is recently made, and is growing steadily. Thank you again, and if you would not like to do this, there’s no problem at all!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sure, I would love to do a guest post and fill out the questions. Just give me the details on what I need to do. Thanks so much for asking me! I was so nervous when I started my blog. But the community of book bloggers is so nice and supportive!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Of course! I knew when I saw your blog there was a very home like vibe, and your content is really wonderful! I agree, I still am a little nervous, but I’m trying to reach out to people. If you ever need me for a Guest Post or anything of that sort just let me know! I’ll send you the link to your once I’ve posted it


  4. Here are the questions, thank you again!

    1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

    2. How you first got involved in with blogging?

    3. What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

    4. Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?

    5. How would (someone) describe your blogging style?

    6. What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?

    7 .Are you a full time blogger? How did you get into blogging and why?

    8. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?

    9. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.

    10. What’s your strategy with your blog in general?

    11. Do you think Page rank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?

    12. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

    13. What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?

    14. A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

    15. Do you think Page rank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?

    16. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

    17 What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

    18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?

    19. What’s your take on sponsored reviews?

    20. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

    21. If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?


  5. So many on this list that I love too — Mrs. Gaskell (I think my favourite is Cranford), Precious Bane (and Gone To Earth), Augustus, etc. And I wonder who your favourite Gk and Roman authors might be?


    • I think it’s much harder to make a list of my favorite Greek and Roman works-there are just so many. The Aeneid and the Iliad, of course. Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Amores, Seneca’s tragedies, the poems of Catullus. That’s a start anyway!


  6. Glad I’m not the only one who enjoys the poetry of Derek Walcott! Great list and a great blog. Keep up the good work!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so inspiring. I want to spend this winter immersed in these worlds.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. …the weather… 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. g h

    Wondering if you can give me contact info for people that do appraisals of rare books I would like to get for my books, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I came across your wonderful blog as I was looking for information about Sappho’s 16, brought to my attention while reading Suzanne Buffam’s Past Imperfect (the poem “Anaktoria”). Thanks, very enlightening! I like your site. Meggie, the bookbinder’s daughter in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series, would like it too, I’m sure! (Sorry, can’t find italics for book titles here.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Melissa
    First, I think it’s so cool that you are a book binder’s daughter, and I am an ardent fan of the classics too. While I haven’t read some of the hard-core novels you mention, I have enjoyed many famous characters and have never forgotten how they influenced my life. I’ve read Jane’s Pride and Prejudice at least 25 times and love Persuasion just as much. I regret that her library is rather small.
    I also appreciate that you support the small press.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Valeri Stanoevich

    Now those who is looking for deep literature are on the verge of extinction. My favorite poet is the killed by society 200 years ago Karoline von Günderrode and her verse: “That’s why I live — to see my dreams.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mark Brooker

    James Redfield was a professor of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. stanoevichv

    The mythological images that are the most profound for me are Medea and Meleager because they lead the mind to other worlds.

    Liked by 1 person

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