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Department of the Classics


Then it is, that the Harvard Classics find their place. They meet every need, they entertain when no other book can, they exhilarate and they satisfy. They bring to you the rare pleasure of commingling with great minds, they feed your mind with stimulating thoughts, they turn your mind into fresh channels. For the Harvard Classics touch every facet of human interest. Here beckoning to you are romance, adventure, drama and mystery. Read to your heart’s content in these full blooded books—full of thrill, stimulus and delight.

You can turn to the Arabian Nights , to the explorations of Drake and Raleigh , to the adventures of Ulysses , to the homely philosophy of Franklin , to Froissart’s entrancing Chronicles , to the breathless poems of Browning , to the writings of the prophets of the mystic east, to the glorious moving prose of Burke and Macaulay , and so on through the great classics of the ages.

We want to urge you to keep at all times several volumes of the Harvard Classics easily at hand on your desk or table to read and to browse through. Don’t put your set away in a distant bookcase where you must go to get them. These are friendly books to have near you, they are the best of companions at all times. To be able to reach for your favorite volume and take a few moments out of a busy day, in which you are transported to other worlds and other times is a privilege that cannot be held lightly. The Harvard Classics will repay you manyfold in dividends of delight and satisfaction for the hours you have spent in the company of the immortal writers.

DR. CHARLES W. ELIOT for forty years President of Harvard University, acclaimed without question America’s greatest scholar and educator, was eminently fitted to select out of the world’s literature, a well-rounded library of liberal education—depicting the progress of man observing, recording, inventing, and imagining from the earliest historical times to the present day.

Never before had a task of this magnitude been undertaken by an educator of the standing of Dr. Eliot . Never before had a question of such unusual public importance received the time and attention that has been applied to the selection of the contents of the Harvard Classics .

“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. “P. F. Collier & Son Company proposed that I undertake to make a selection of fifty volumes, which would approximately fill a five-foot shelf, and be well adapted to accomplish the educational object I had in mind.

Then it is, that the Harvard Classics find their place. They meet every need, they entertain when no other book can, they exhilarate and they satisfy. They bring to you the rare pleasure of commingling with great minds, they feed your mind with stimulating thoughts, they turn your mind into fresh channels. For the Harvard Classics touch every facet of human interest. Here beckoning to you are romance, adventure, drama and mystery. Read to your heart’s content in these full blooded books—full of thrill, stimulus and delight.

You can turn to the Arabian Nights , to the explorations of Drake and Raleigh , to the adventures of Ulysses , to the homely philosophy of Franklin , to Froissart’s entrancing Chronicles , to the breathless poems of Browning , to the writings of the prophets of the mystic east, to the glorious moving prose of Burke and Macaulay , and so on through the great classics of the ages.

We want to urge you to keep at all times several volumes of the Harvard Classics easily at hand on your desk or table to read and to browse through. Don’t put your set away in a distant bookcase where you must go to get them. These are friendly books to have near you, they are the best of companions at all times. To be able to reach for your favorite volume and take a few moments out of a busy day, in which you are transported to other worlds and other times is a privilege that cannot be held lightly. The Harvard Classics will repay you manyfold in dividends of delight and satisfaction for the hours you have spent in the company of the immortal writers.

DR. CHARLES W. ELIOT for forty years President of Harvard University, acclaimed without question America’s greatest scholar and educator, was eminently fitted to select out of the world’s literature, a well-rounded library of liberal education—depicting the progress of man observing, recording, inventing, and imagining from the earliest historical times to the present day.

Never before had a task of this magnitude been undertaken by an educator of the standing of Dr. Eliot . Never before had a question of such unusual public importance received the time and attention that has been applied to the selection of the contents of the Harvard Classics .

“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. “P. F. Collier & Son Company proposed that I undertake to make a selection of fifty volumes, which would approximately fill a five-foot shelf, and be well adapted to accomplish the educational object I had in mind.

For more than a century the Department of the Classics at Harvard University has been at the forefront of research on the language, literature, history, archaeology, and other dimensions of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

In the past, design has most often occurred fairly far downstream in the development process and has focused on making new products aesthetically attractive or enhancing brand perception through smart, evocative advertising. Today, as innovation’s terrain expands to encompass human-centered processes and services as well as products, companies are asking designers to create ideas rather than to simply dress them up.

Thomas Edison created the electric lightbulb and then wrapped an entire industry around it. The lightbulb is most often thought of as his signature invention, but Edison understood that the bulb was little more than a parlor trick without a system of electric power generation and transmission to make it truly useful. So he created that, too.

Thus Edison’s genius lay in his ability to conceive of a fully developed marketplace, not simply a discrete device. He was able to envision how people would want to use what he made, and he engineered toward that insight. He wasn’t always prescient (he originally believed the phonograph would be used mainly as a business machine for recording and replaying dictation), but he invariably gave great consideration to users’ needs and preferences.

Edison’s approach was an early example of what is now called “design thinking”—a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos. By this I mean that innovation is powered by a thorough understanding, through direct observation, of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported.

Design thinking is a lineal descendant of that tradition. Put simply, it is a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Like Edison’s painstaking innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration.

I believe that design thinking has much to offer a business world in which most management ideas and best practices are freely available to be copied and exploited. Leaders now look to innovation as a principal source of differentiation and competitive advantage; they would do well to incorporate design thinking into all phases of the process.

Then it is, that the Harvard Classics find their place. They meet every need, they entertain when no other book can, they exhilarate and they satisfy. They bring to you the rare pleasure of commingling with great minds, they feed your mind with stimulating thoughts, they turn your mind into fresh channels. For the Harvard Classics touch every facet of human interest. Here beckoning to you are romance, adventure, drama and mystery. Read to your heart’s content in these full blooded books—full of thrill, stimulus and delight.

You can turn to the Arabian Nights , to the explorations of Drake and Raleigh , to the adventures of Ulysses , to the homely philosophy of Franklin , to Froissart’s entrancing Chronicles , to the breathless poems of Browning , to the writings of the prophets of the mystic east, to the glorious moving prose of Burke and Macaulay , and so on through the great classics of the ages.

We want to urge you to keep at all times several volumes of the Harvard Classics easily at hand on your desk or table to read and to browse through. Don’t put your set away in a distant bookcase where you must go to get them. These are friendly books to have near you, they are the best of companions at all times. To be able to reach for your favorite volume and take a few moments out of a busy day, in which you are transported to other worlds and other times is a privilege that cannot be held lightly. The Harvard Classics will repay you manyfold in dividends of delight and satisfaction for the hours you have spent in the company of the immortal writers.

DR. CHARLES W. ELIOT for forty years President of Harvard University, acclaimed without question America’s greatest scholar and educator, was eminently fitted to select out of the world’s literature, a well-rounded library of liberal education—depicting the progress of man observing, recording, inventing, and imagining from the earliest historical times to the present day.

Never before had a task of this magnitude been undertaken by an educator of the standing of Dr. Eliot . Never before had a question of such unusual public importance received the time and attention that has been applied to the selection of the contents of the Harvard Classics .

“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. “P. F. Collier & Son Company proposed that I undertake to make a selection of fifty volumes, which would approximately fill a five-foot shelf, and be well adapted to accomplish the educational object I had in mind.

For more than a century the Department of the Classics at Harvard University has been at the forefront of research on the language, literature, history, archaeology, and other dimensions of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Then it is, that the Harvard Classics find their place. They meet every need, they entertain when no other book can, they exhilarate and they satisfy. They bring to you the rare pleasure of commingling with great minds, they feed your mind with stimulating thoughts, they turn your mind into fresh channels. For the Harvard Classics touch every facet of human interest. Here beckoning to you are romance, adventure, drama and mystery. Read to your heart’s content in these full blooded books—full of thrill, stimulus and delight.

You can turn to the Arabian Nights , to the explorations of Drake and Raleigh , to the adventures of Ulysses , to the homely philosophy of Franklin , to Froissart’s entrancing Chronicles , to the breathless poems of Browning , to the writings of the prophets of the mystic east, to the glorious moving prose of Burke and Macaulay , and so on through the great classics of the ages.

We want to urge you to keep at all times several volumes of the Harvard Classics easily at hand on your desk or table to read and to browse through. Don’t put your set away in a distant bookcase where you must go to get them. These are friendly books to have near you, they are the best of companions at all times. To be able to reach for your favorite volume and take a few moments out of a busy day, in which you are transported to other worlds and other times is a privilege that cannot be held lightly. The Harvard Classics will repay you manyfold in dividends of delight and satisfaction for the hours you have spent in the company of the immortal writers.

DR. CHARLES W. ELIOT for forty years President of Harvard University, acclaimed without question America’s greatest scholar and educator, was eminently fitted to select out of the world’s literature, a well-rounded library of liberal education—depicting the progress of man observing, recording, inventing, and imagining from the earliest historical times to the present day.

Never before had a task of this magnitude been undertaken by an educator of the standing of Dr. Eliot . Never before had a question of such unusual public importance received the time and attention that has been applied to the selection of the contents of the Harvard Classics .

“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. “P. F. Collier & Son Company proposed that I undertake to make a selection of fifty volumes, which would approximately fill a five-foot shelf, and be well adapted to accomplish the educational object I had in mind.

For more than a century the Department of the Classics at Harvard University has been at the forefront of research on the language, literature, history, archaeology, and other dimensions of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

In the past, design has most often occurred fairly far downstream in the development process and has focused on making new products aesthetically attractive or enhancing brand perception through smart, evocative advertising. Today, as innovation’s terrain expands to encompass human-centered processes and services as well as products, companies are asking designers to create ideas rather than to simply dress them up.

Thomas Edison created the electric lightbulb and then wrapped an entire industry around it. The lightbulb is most often thought of as his signature invention, but Edison understood that the bulb was little more than a parlor trick without a system of electric power generation and transmission to make it truly useful. So he created that, too.

Thus Edison’s genius lay in his ability to conceive of a fully developed marketplace, not simply a discrete device. He was able to envision how people would want to use what he made, and he engineered toward that insight. He wasn’t always prescient (he originally believed the phonograph would be used mainly as a business machine for recording and replaying dictation), but he invariably gave great consideration to users’ needs and preferences.

Edison’s approach was an early example of what is now called “design thinking”—a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos. By this I mean that innovation is powered by a thorough understanding, through direct observation, of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported.

Design thinking is a lineal descendant of that tradition. Put simply, it is a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Like Edison’s painstaking innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration.

I believe that design thinking has much to offer a business world in which most management ideas and best practices are freely available to be copied and exploited. Leaders now look to innovation as a principal source of differentiation and competitive advantage; they would do well to incorporate design thinking into all phases of the process.

Explore our series of free or low-cost courses below. In addition, you can also browse  Harvard University's Digital Learning Portal , which features online learning content from across the University, both free and fee-based options.

Video accessibility.  If you are unable to easily access any of the videos below, you may submit a request for accommodation , and we will work with you on your request. 

In these free videotaped lectures, Professor Gross presents an array of algebraic concepts. To explore the lectures, visit the Abstract Algebra Open Learning Course page

A long-time offering at Harvard College and Harvard Extension School, Gregory Nagy's popular exploration of the hero motif in classic literature is offered as a course for credit at Harvard Extension School, as a course on edX, and as a series of free video lectures. See The Hero in Ancient Greek Civilization Open Learning Course

Discover how the United States developed its own national literature with Elisa New, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University. The course features conversations with public figures like writer Michael Pollan, economist Larry Summers, and Vice President Al Gore.

Explore how digital technologies inform issues of public policy, regulation, and law in this series of course lecture videos featuring Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard. See Bits: The Computer Science of Digital Information Open Learning Course

If you are sure that none of the above applies to you, and wish us to investigate the problem, we need to know your IP address. Go to this site , don't sign up, just copy the IP address (it looks like: 12.34.56.78 but your numbers will be different) and mail it to us . If that page also shows a proxy address, we need that one too.

Then it is, that the Harvard Classics find their place. They meet every need, they entertain when no other book can, they exhilarate and they satisfy. They bring to you the rare pleasure of commingling with great minds, they feed your mind with stimulating thoughts, they turn your mind into fresh channels. For the Harvard Classics touch every facet of human interest. Here beckoning to you are romance, adventure, drama and mystery. Read to your heart’s content in these full blooded books—full of thrill, stimulus and delight.

You can turn to the Arabian Nights , to the explorations of Drake and Raleigh , to the adventures of Ulysses , to the homely philosophy of Franklin , to Froissart’s entrancing Chronicles , to the breathless poems of Browning , to the writings of the prophets of the mystic east, to the glorious moving prose of Burke and Macaulay , and so on through the great classics of the ages.

We want to urge you to keep at all times several volumes of the Harvard Classics easily at hand on your desk or table to read and to browse through. Don’t put your set away in a distant bookcase where you must go to get them. These are friendly books to have near you, they are the best of companions at all times. To be able to reach for your favorite volume and take a few moments out of a busy day, in which you are transported to other worlds and other times is a privilege that cannot be held lightly. The Harvard Classics will repay you manyfold in dividends of delight and satisfaction for the hours you have spent in the company of the immortal writers.

DR. CHARLES W. ELIOT for forty years President of Harvard University, acclaimed without question America’s greatest scholar and educator, was eminently fitted to select out of the world’s literature, a well-rounded library of liberal education—depicting the progress of man observing, recording, inventing, and imagining from the earliest historical times to the present day.

Never before had a task of this magnitude been undertaken by an educator of the standing of Dr. Eliot . Never before had a question of such unusual public importance received the time and attention that has been applied to the selection of the contents of the Harvard Classics .

“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. “P. F. Collier & Son Company proposed that I undertake to make a selection of fifty volumes, which would approximately fill a five-foot shelf, and be well adapted to accomplish the educational object I had in mind.

For more than a century the Department of the Classics at Harvard University has been at the forefront of research on the language, literature, history, archaeology, and other dimensions of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

In the past, design has most often occurred fairly far downstream in the development process and has focused on making new products aesthetically attractive or enhancing brand perception through smart, evocative advertising. Today, as innovation’s terrain expands to encompass human-centered processes and services as well as products, companies are asking designers to create ideas rather than to simply dress them up.

Thomas Edison created the electric lightbulb and then wrapped an entire industry around it. The lightbulb is most often thought of as his signature invention, but Edison understood that the bulb was little more than a parlor trick without a system of electric power generation and transmission to make it truly useful. So he created that, too.

Thus Edison’s genius lay in his ability to conceive of a fully developed marketplace, not simply a discrete device. He was able to envision how people would want to use what he made, and he engineered toward that insight. He wasn’t always prescient (he originally believed the phonograph would be used mainly as a business machine for recording and replaying dictation), but he invariably gave great consideration to users’ needs and preferences.

Edison’s approach was an early example of what is now called “design thinking”—a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos. By this I mean that innovation is powered by a thorough understanding, through direct observation, of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported.

Design thinking is a lineal descendant of that tradition. Put simply, it is a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Like Edison’s painstaking innovation process, it often entails a great deal of perspiration.

I believe that design thinking has much to offer a business world in which most management ideas and best practices are freely available to be copied and exploited. Leaders now look to innovation as a principal source of differentiation and competitive advantage; they would do well to incorporate design thinking into all phases of the process.

Explore our series of free or low-cost courses below. In addition, you can also browse  Harvard University's Digital Learning Portal , which features online learning content from across the University, both free and fee-based options.

Video accessibility.  If you are unable to easily access any of the videos below, you may submit a request for accommodation , and we will work with you on your request. 

In these free videotaped lectures, Professor Gross presents an array of algebraic concepts. To explore the lectures, visit the Abstract Algebra Open Learning Course page

A long-time offering at Harvard College and Harvard Extension School, Gregory Nagy's popular exploration of the hero motif in classic literature is offered as a course for credit at Harvard Extension School, as a course on edX, and as a series of free video lectures. See The Hero in Ancient Greek Civilization Open Learning Course

Discover how the United States developed its own national literature with Elisa New, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University. The course features conversations with public figures like writer Michael Pollan, economist Larry Summers, and Vice President Al Gore.

Explore how digital technologies inform issues of public policy, regulation, and law in this series of course lecture videos featuring Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard. See Bits: The Computer Science of Digital Information Open Learning Course