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THE HARVARD CLASSICS – FREE ONLINE
My Harvard Classics is an interactive Harvard Classics Reading Guide on the Web. With a click of the mouse you are taken directly to the exact volume and chapter for each day’s reading. Each volume of The Harvard Classics may be downloaded for free. It is another great example of the use of the “New” Media (Digitization and the Internet) to make Literature accessible to everyone. Here, some of the greatest book are made available free, and which can be downloaded and read at PDFs, without owning an e-reader, or on any e-reder.
As stated on their webpage
“The Harvard Classics are a collection of the most important books, scientific writings, philosophical arguments, poems, fiction, drama, political theory, pivotal speeches and sacred texts from the entire range human of intellectual activity. The Harvard Classics are the works of 302 of the greatest minds whose writings and discoveries are the foundation for all human knowledge today. You will be certain to cover most of the readings you were supposed to read in high school and college but did not get around to. Finally able to check those off your to do list. The Harvard Classics were designed to give all the elements of a general university or liberal education at home in one year with 15 minutes of diligent reading a day using an exclusive reading schedule. The mission of the Harvard Classics is to provide the means of obtaining such knowledge of ancient and modern literature as deemed essential to be a cultivated person.”
“My Harvard Classics, LLC was founded on November 7, 2010. We created My Harvard Classics after discovering that there was no place online dedicated only to the Harvard Classics. We knew that there needed to be a place that made the Harvard Classics the central focus and would really open the full potential of the Harvard Classics in the digital era. As a result My Harvard Classics offers more than any site to give you a convenient, full and exciting experience as you journey through the powerful collection. My Harvard Classics allows you with the click of a mouse to transport oneself into the age of Pericles or the Gardens of the Medici at Florence. The collection is the modern version of Aladdin’s lamp and makes one a master of treasures more rare and lustrous than those which adorned the palaces of Persia.”
“The Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909.
‘”Before the reading plan represented by The Harvard Classics had taken definite form, I had more than once stated in public that in my opinion a five-foot, at first a three-foot, shelf, would hold books enough to afford a good substitute for a liberal education to anyone who would read them with devotion, even if he could spare but fifteen minutes a day for reading.'” Dr. Charles W. Eliot
MISSION – THE BOOK IN THE NEW MEDIA
“Our mission is to bring the Harvard Classics into the 21st century and straight to your fingertips with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. We believe the Harvard Classics offers tremendous educational power and will help improve humanity as we embark on an ever increasingly technological journey toward the future. We now more than ever before need to be well rounded humans, rooted in knowledge of the primary source material for all current intellectual advancements in every subject. The primary source is where the first thought and foundational principles of all disciplines we know today began. They began as the writings of geniuses in a vast array of skills and studies that now constitute the foundation of all intellectual activity today. The Harvard Classics is the collection of the most important primary source material. We seek to increase and enhance your link to that source.”
FREE OR BUY
According to our friends at Open Culture,
“You can still buy an old set off of eBay for $399. But, just as easily, you can head to the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg, which have centralized links to every text included in The Harvard Classics (Wealth of Nations,Origin of Species, Plutarch’s Lives, the list goes on below). Please note that the previous two links won’t give you access to the actual annotatedHarvard Classics texts edited by Eliot himself. But if you want just that,you can always click here and get digital scans of the true Harvard Classics.”