Asilomar Readings

The Great Books Council of San Francisco has held an annual weekend at Asilomar since the 1950s. The following is a nearly-complete record of the fiction, nonfiction and theatre readings that have been discussed each year.

2019

C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures

V.S. Naipaul, Miguel Street

Albert Camus, The Possessed

2018

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Eugene O'Neill, The Iceman Cometh

2017

John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

2016

Alexander Hamilton et al., The Federalist Papers (selections)

Saul Bellow, Seize the Day

August Wilson, The Piano Lesson

2015

Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Peter Weiss, Marat/Sade

2014

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer

Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

2013

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address

Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres

William Shakespeare, King Lear

2012

Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery

James Joyce, The Dead

Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

2011

Plato, Phaedrus

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

2010

Francis Bacon, The Four Idols of the Mind

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Michael Frayn, Copenhagen

2009

Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace

Sophocles, Antigone

2008

Niccolo Macchiavelli, Discourses

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Tina Howe, Painting Churches

2007

Stephen Jay Gould, Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion

Iris Murdoch, The Bell

Nilo Cruz, Anna of the Tropics

2006

Anthony de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Arthur Miller, The Price

2005

E. O. Wilson, Consilience

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl and Rosa

August Wilson, Fences

2004

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance and American Scholar

Franz Kafka, The Trial

William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I

2003

Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Anton Chekhov, The Sea Gull

2002

Lewis, Amini, Lannon, A General Theory of Love

James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

2001

Matt Riley, The Origins of Virtue

Albert Camus, The Stranger

Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler

2000

Aristotle, Ethics (selections)

Jose Saramago, Blindness

George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan

1999

Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln's Great Speeches

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

1998

Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self

Andre Gide, The Immoralist

David Henry Hwang, M Butterfly

1997

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Origins of Inequality

Herman Melville, Benito Cereno

August Strindberg, Miss Julie

1996

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

Kobo Abe, Woman in the Dunes

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

1995

Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris

Jane Austen, Persuasion

Euripides, The Trojan Women

1994

Sir Thomas More, Utopia

George Eliot, Silas Marner

Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

1993

Plato, Protagoras

Honore de Balzac, Eugenie Grandet

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

1991

Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

1990

Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

William Faulkner, The Bear

T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

1989

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance

Eugene O'Neill, A Moon for the Misbegotten

1988

Plato, Meno

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

Bertolt Brecht, Galileo

1987

Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism

J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

Euripides, The Bacchae

1986

Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Archibald MacLeish, J. B.

1985

George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Anne Tyler, Celestial Navigation

William Shakespeare, Coriolanus

1984

Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Ford Madox Ford, The Good Solider

Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author

1983

John Dewey, Freedom and Culture

Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle

J. Robinson Jeffers, Dear Judas

1982

Carl Jung, Answer to Job

Albert Camus, The Fall

William Shakespeare, King Lear

1981

John Milton, Areopagitica

Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

Andre Gide, Two Legends: Oedipus and Theseus 

1980

Aristotle, Ethics

Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome

Friedrich Durrenmatt, The Visit

1979

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

John Gardner, Grendel

Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot

William Butler Yeats, On Baile's Strand

1978

Rene Descartes, Meditations

Doris Lessing, Memoirs of a Survivor

George Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House

1977

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Saul Bellow, Dangling Man

Peter Shaffer, Equus

1976

Anthony de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

1975

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

William Shakespeare, Richard II

1974

Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man

James Madison, James Monroe, etc., The Federalist Papers

Robert Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes

William Shakespeare, Othello

1973

Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Alexsander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Albert Camus, Caligula

1972

Epictetus, Enchiridion (The Handbook)

Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery

D. H. Lawrence, The Man Who Died

William Shakespeare, The Seven Ages of Man (from As You Like It) 

1971

Nikos Kazantzakis, The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground and The Grand Inquisitor

Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

1970

David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Plato, Theaetetus

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis 

1969

King James Bible, The Book of Job

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

Leroi Jones, Dutchman

1968

Plato, The Republic (Chapters 4 & 5)

B. F. Skinner, Walden II

Sir Thomas More, Utopia 

1967

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy

Martin Buber, I and Thou 

Joseph Conrad, The Nigger of the Narcissus

William Shakespeare, Richard III

1966

Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

1965

Jose Ortega y Gasset, What is Philosophy?

Thorton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

1964

Edmund Sinnott, Biology of the Spirit

Plato, Symposium

Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

1962

Plato, The Republic (The Cave) 

Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values 

Jean Racine, Phaedra

Henrik Ibsen, The Wild Duck

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