Lori's Book Nook

Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf

Posted on: October 14, 2006

From Wikipedia:

The Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, was a fifty one volume anthology of works selected by Charles W. Eliot. It was originally published in 1909. Dr. Eliot, then President of Harvard University, had stated in speeches that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending fifteen minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf.

Today, my local library was having another ‘Dirty Book Sale’, and on a table was a box of 17 Harvard Classics for $20. How could I resist? Even my husband was positive about it — for the Darwin. And the Cervantes. All of Dante (will I ever read it?). Plato, Homer…

17 of 51…a full third of the titles.

Do I have  20 inches to spare on a shelf?


6 Responses to "Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf"

I have a complete set if you’re interested.

But have you read it??

I just spent a bit in my hot tub, reading the First Canto of Inferno, aloud to myself. Was sort of fun.

Gosh, no. Not on purpose anyway. It came with the antique bookcase.

Thanks for making me laugh!

Why would you want to get rid of them? I’m sure they look wonderful on that bookcase…

I have a complete set in good condition. Will sell for a good price.

Thanks Jerauld…but I’m not really in the market. If I find any in my (2ndhand bookstore) travels, I might pick them up.

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