Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oldest / Earliest Nonfiction I've Read

To the best of my knowledge …

Curious to know what exactly were the oldest, earliest-written stuff I’ve read, and, not surprisingly, it turns out to be mostly religious literature with some philosophy tossed in.  Surprisingly, the earliest history I’ve read is the last item on the list, dating all the way back to 1885.

Old Testament – c. 1500-1100 BC

The Iliad – c. 750 BC

Tao Te Ching – c. 500 BC

The Dialogues of Plato – c. 400 BC

Of True Religion, by St. Augustine – c. 400 AD

Dante’s Inferno – 1321

The Imitation of Christ – 1418-1427

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola – 1522-1524

Various plays (7, or 8, I think) by Shakespeare * – 1594-1611

Various poems by John Milton – 1631-1638

Pilgrim’s Progress – 1678

Various philosophic works of Hegel ** – 1806-1821

Various essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson – 1836-1874

Way of a Pilgrim – 1884

Thus Spoke Zarathustra – 1885

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant – 1885

Have I missed out on anything I’ve should’ve read?

* = I included plays and poetry here; a later post will be on “Oldest Fiction I’ve Read,” and I have pure novels (and the occasional short story) in mind.

** = maybe shouldn’t be on the list as a) reading them was sheer unmitigated torture, and b) I have no memory of anything in those four books I read.  Which leads me to question whether I even read them at all.  And if I didn’t, what exactly did I read those four months in 2008?

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