The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

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The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction complements the Harvard Classics to complete a well rounded education. Here are the books in the collection of 20 Volumes. The collection was first published in 1917 and is thus in the public domain in the USA. An introduction to the collection can be found at:


[edit] Justification

The following quote comes from Volume 1 and was written by Charles Eliot.

"In the original selection of The Harvard Classics, fiction was admitted only to a small extent, and none was admitted that was later than 1835. Indeed, Manzoni’s “I Promessi Sposi,” a historical novel published in 1826, was the only book included that would now be called a novel. “Don Quixote” (Part I) and “Pilgrim’s Progress,” two other pieces of prose fiction which found place in the collection, both belonging to the seventeenth century, have a character quite distinct from that of the nineteenth-century novel, romance, or story. Selected stories from the “Thousand and One Nights” constituted one volume of The Harvard Classics, representing there ancient Oriental fiction made known to Europe two centuries ago, and since engrafted on European literature; but these stories differ widely from the fiction of the nineteenth century in style, matter, and motive. Another kind of fiction, the fable and wonder story, was illustrated in The Harvard Classics by one volume containing fables which pass under the name of Æsop, the tales collected by the brothers Grimm, and the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen; but again this form of fiction is distinct from that which the new set of twenty volumes is in tended to illustrate. Yet, after all, there are five volumes of fiction in The Harvard Classics; and that fact necessarily affected the present choice.

"This collection contains modern novels, romances, and short stories, the oldest of which appeared in 1749, but most belong to the nineteenth century. The twenty volumes represent seven different national literatures, namely: English, American, French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Scandinavian. More than half the set, eleven volumes, is devoted to English and American fiction, French having two volumes, German two, Russian four, and Spanish and Scandinavian sharing one volume."

While Doctor Charles W. Eliot picked the 20 volumes an associate Doctor William Allan Neilson actually assembled the content, wrote the commentary, and obtained the critical reviews. The Shelf of Fiction volumes were published in 1917.

[edit] Online reading

These are available for reading online at:

They can be download at, however they are not proofed. You can also read these online using the images which don't need to be proofed. This is likely the best way to read them as the pages are reproduced exactly from the printed page.

[edit] The list

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction
Vol Title Author ePub MOBI
1 & 2 The History of Tom Jones Henry Fielding ePub Mobi
3 A Sentimental Journey Laurence Sterne ePub Mobi
3 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen ePub Mobi
4 Guy Mannering Sir Walter Scott ePub Mobi
5 & 6 Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
7 & 8 David Copperfield Charles Dickens
9 The Mill on the Floss George Eliot
10 The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
10 Rappaccini’s Daughter Nathaniel Hawthorne
10 Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving
10 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving
10 Three Short Stories Edgar Allan Poe
10 Three Short Stories Francis Bret Harte
10 Jim Smily and His Jumping Frog Samuel L. Clemens
10 The Man without a Country Edward Everett Hale
11 The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
12 Notre Dame de Paris Victor Marie Hugo
13 Old Goriot Honoré de Balzac
13 The Devil’s Pool George Sand
13 The Story of a White Blackbird Alfred de Musset
13 Five Short Stories Alphonse Daudet
13 Two Short Stories Guy de Maupassant
14 Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship J. W. von Goethe
15 The Sorrows of Werther J. W. von Goethe
15 The Banner of the Upright Seven Gottfried Keller
15 The Rider on the White Horse Theodor Storm
15 Trials and Tribulations Theodor Fontane
16 & 17 Anna Karenin Leo Tolstoy
17 Ivan the Fool Leo Tolstoy
18 Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
19 A House of Gentlefolk Ivan Turgenev
19 Fathers and Children Ivan Turgenev
20 Pepita Jimenez Juan Valera
20 A Happy Boy Björnstjerne Björnson
20 Skipper Worse Alexander L. Kielland

[edit] Harvard Classics

As mentioned above this collection is designed to supplement Harvard Classics by adding additional fiction books for a well rounded education. The original collection did include some fiction books as well. These include:

The Harvard Classics fiction titles
Vol Title Author
3 New Atlantis Francis Bacon
14 Don Quixote (part 1) Miguel de Cervantes
15 The Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan
15 The Lives of Donne and Herbert Isaak Walton
16 Stories from the Thousand and One Nights  
17 Household Tales Grimm Brothers
17 Fables Aesop
17 Tales Hans Christian Anderson
18 Manfred (poetry) Lord Byron
20 The Divine Comedy (poetry) Dante Alighieri
21 I Promessi Sposi Alessandro Manzoni
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