Great Classics: Supplementary Resources


I am in the middle of reading Lucretius' On The Nature of Things, and I've been thinking about how to make my first reading the Great Books of the Western World easier. There is so much technology at my employ that I could use to help comprehend and make sense of the text.

Three additional resources come to mind other than the main text:


Many of these texts were meant to be listened to rather than silently read. The point of my first read is not to understand everything about the text but to understand the general flows and ideas of the text. My second read (gosh, that is another 10 year read!), will be much more in depth.

Much of the audio books that I will be listening to will be provided by LibriVox, rented, or bought. This should go without saying, but I will not illegally download audiobooks.

Commentary & Study Guides

The editors of The Great Books of the Western World do not provide any commentary. Rather, they wanted the authors' writings to speak for themselves. I completely agree, but not for the reason that they stated in The Great Conversation. While these Western Classics might be perennial knowledge, excellent and concise study guides is difficult to find and should be bought as a separate text.

The first reading aid that come to mind are the lecture videos or video essays that are provided by Youtube artists. For example, here is a short introduction on the Trial of Socrates by Plato:

Community Discussion

Also, I will try to find people who are also currently reading the Great Books of the Western World. I already see a number of people who are doing so (though they are already far ahead than me):
It would be great to get in touch and have a conversation about... The Great Conversation. HA.


As a result, I've decided to share with you list of resources below that are helping me, and hopefully help you in your journey for a liberal education.

My recommendation is that you download everything and stick it in your phone like I did. Nowadays, storage is cheap. (<50¢ a gb. Crazy!)





I like this audio book. They even provided a text link. I'm not sure if this is the same translation as the one in the Great Books of the Western World, because I do not have my book ready on hand.




Love Bob Neufeld's voice! So Buttery Smooth.



As I discussed before, I do not like the translation (by H. A. J. Munro) from The Great Books of the Western World. After examining different translations available, I decided to buy **SHOCK** a newer non-public domain and paid audiobook. The translation I bought by Rolfe Humphries focuses on artistic poetry and prose though the translation is much less literal and more thought-for-thought. Here is the translation and audiobook that I legally purchased.

If you still want to listen to the clunky translation of the book, well... good luck finding one. I still havent found a good one. Here is an OK audiobook by William Ellery Leonard:



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