Twentieth Century Psychology: Recent Developments in Psychology

By Philip Lawrence Harriman | Go to book overview

THE 100 GREATEST BOOKS SELECTED BY 100 QUALIFIED PERSONS

DANIEL STARCH

Daniel Starch and Staff, New York City

The purpose of this inquiry was to determine what, in the judgment of competent persons, are the greatest books of all time. Numerous lists of "great" books, or "best" books, or books "everybody should read" have been prepared ever since there have been books. The Bible, itself, is not a single book but a collection of the most important religious books or scriptures selected by consensus of judgments of early church authorities from among works that had been written during a thousand years prior to about 100 A.D. Most lists have been prepared by individuals either alone or with the assistance of a few others for special purposes or from specific points of view--such as books we like, or books an educated person should read, or leading books published since a certain date, and the like.

Perhaps the two most important lists of great books assembled in recent times were the one compiled by the English naturalist and statesman, Sir John Lubbock, and the other begun by John Erskine, author and professor at Columbia University.

Sir John Lubbock published, in the Pall Mall Gazette on January 11, 1886, what he considered to be the 100 best books-- books that were "necessary for a liberal education" or "most conducive to a healthy mind." He "excluded (1) works by living authors, (2) science, and (3) history, with a very few exceptions," which he mentioned rather in their literary aspects. The list was published also in the Contemporary Review. Various

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