The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Jefferson Book Club

The Jefferson Book Club, open to all interested University of Texas undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty, is a forum for informal discussions of the great books. Copies of the readings for each meeting will be made available about a week beforehand.

For more information, to offer additional suggestions, or to join the book club, please contact book club president Maggie Burnham or faculty advisor Erik Dempsey. New members are welcome to join at any time.

Spring 2016 Events

Thursday, January 21: Movie Night: The Seventh Seal (in Batts 5.108)
Wednesday, January 27: Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
Wednesday, February 10: Great Poets of the Dang Dynasty: Du Fu, Li Bai, and more
Wednesday, February 24: Leo Strauss, "German Nihilism"
Wednesday, March 9: Allan Bloom, Closing of the American Mind
Tuesday, March 29: Gottfried Leibniz, "On the Radical Origination of Things"
Wednesday, April 13: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Discourse on the Virtue Most Necessary for a Hero"
Wednesday, April 27: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (on contemplation)

All meetings will be held in Waggener 403b, unless otherwise indicated.

To Download Reading, click on the highlighted title above. Reading will download automatically.

For further details on these events, please see

Past Events

1001 Nights, (Selections)
Al-Ghazali, The Incoherence of the Philosophers (excerpts)
Aristotle on Friendship
Aristotle, Physics
The Arthashastra: Law, Governance, and Society in Ancient India
Augustine, City of God (excerpt)
Jane Austen, Persuasion
Jane Austin, Sense and Sensibility
Francis Bacon, Great Instauration
Essays of Francis Bacon
Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron (excerpt)
Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy (excerpt)
Albert Camus, "The Retreat of Helen"
Cervantes, Don Quixote
Essays of Winston Churchill
Living Ethically, selections from Confucius
Dante, Purgatorio (excerpt)
Dostoyevski, The Brothers Karamazov (The Grand Inquisitor and other selections)
Essays and Letters of Albert Einstein
Euclid, Elements (Selections)
Franklin's Autobiography, parts 1 and 2
Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Heraclitus, Fragments
Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy
Thomas Jefferson (Selections)
The Sermon on the Mount
Kafka, Before the Law
Søren Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death (excerpt)
Thomas Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Abraham Lincoln (Selections)
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses (excerpt)
Herman Melville, "The Lightning-Rod Man"
Milton, Paradise Lost (excerpts)
Essays, Michel de Montaigne
Living Wisely, selections from Montaigne
What is happiness? (Selections from the Stoics and Montaigne)
Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy
Nietzsche, Problems of Socrates
Plato, Phaedo (excerpt)
Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past (selections)
Ayn Rand, Anthem
Rousseau, Letter to D'Alembert
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "The Levite of Ephraim"
Rousseau's Preface to Narcisse
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries
Midsummer Night's Dream, American Shakespeare Center performance followed by discussion
Shakespeare, Coriolanus
Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Shakespeare, Tempest (following Actors from the London Stage performances)
Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments, selections
Alexander Solzhenitsyn The Gulag Archipelago (excerpts)
Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart
Steinbeck, East of Eden (excerpt)
Leo Strauss, What is Liberal Education
Jonathan Swift, "Battle of the Books"
Ibn Tufayl, Hayy Ibn Yacqzan
Mark Twain, "The Diaries of Adam and Eve"
Voltaire, Candide
Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron
David Foster Wallace, Everything and More
Xenophon, Apology
Movie Night: All the King's Men
Movie Night: Blade Runner
Movie Night: Casablanca
Movie Night, Chariots of Fire
Movie Night: Crimes and Misdemeanors
Movie Night: Bernardo Bertolucci's Il Conformista
Movie Night: Metropolitan
Movie Night: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Movie Night: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Movie Night: Pleasantville
Movie Night: Spartacus
Movie Night: The Counterfeit Traitor
Movie Night: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Movie Night: The Seventh Seal
Movie Night: Tristan and Isolde