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

Other Texts

Though central to our mission, the four categories are only a part of what the Jefferson Center offers. The requirements also include electives, which students can use to study core texts that don’t fit into the rubrics given above. Below is a sampling of important texts which have been taught in other CTI classes, or which have become popular favorites among students to study independently.

Montaigne, Essays, especially “To the Reader;” I.19 (“That our happiness must not be judged until after our death”), I.28 (“On friendship”), I.31 (“Of cannibals”), II.11 (“Of cruelty”), II.12 (“Apology for Raymond Sebond”), II.19 (“Of freedom of conscience”), II.29 (“Of virtue”), III.2 (“Of repentance”), III.13 (“Of experience”)

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Franz Kafka, The Trial

The Arabian Nights

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy

Shakespeare, HamletKing LearHenry VMacBethA Midsummer Night’s DreamCoriolanus

The Arden Shakespeare is an excellent collection of all of Shakespeare’s plays. The Arden edition of individual plays have much more extensive notes and are worth purchasing in their own right.

Cervantes, Don Quixote

Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Winston Churchill, Marlborough: His Life and Times

Euclid, Elements

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

John Milton, Paradise Lost