The Secret Reading List: Books mentioned in The Secret History

Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is a book about books, and on my recent re-read of the book I compiled a definitive list of the books and authors mentioned in the novel. If you want to be as erudite and elite as the Classics Clique, you’d better add these books to your reading pile…

Specific prose/poetry/plays mentioned:

Untimely Meditations by Friedrich Nietzsche, Epigraph
Republic, Book II by Plato, Epigraph
Tom Swift by Victor Appleton, 6
Paradise Lost by John Milton, 8, 91
Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth, 33
The New Testament, 36
Agamemnon by Aeschylus, 40
Oresteia by Aeschylus, 40
Inferno by Dante, 41, 115
Poetics by Aristotle, 41
The Iliad by Homer, 41, 627
The Bacchae by Euripides, 42, 204
Parmenides by Plato, 67
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, 85
Rover Boys by Edward Stratemeyer, 85
Journey from Chester to London by Thomas Pennant, 85
The Club History of London by ?, 85
The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert, 85
Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope, 85
Marino Faliero by Lord Byron, 85
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, 89
Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 92, 622
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, 94
Mémoires by Duc de Saint-Simon, 103
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, 110
Othello by Shakespeare, 115
The World Book Encyclopedia, 117
Men of Thought and Deed by E. Tipton Chatsford
Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by J. M. Barrie, 180
The Divine Comedy by Dante, 184
Superman Comics, 417
The Upanishads, 441, 466
Perry Mason Novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, 442
With Rue my Heart is Laden by A.E. Housman, 466
Lycidas by John Milton, 466
The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson, 466
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, 466
Corpus of Mycenaean Inscriptions from Knossos, 481
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 554
The Malcontent by John Marston, 615
The White Devil by John Webster, 615
The Broken Heart by John Ford, epilogue epigraph, 615
Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, 616
The Revenger’s Tragedy by Cyril Tourneur, 616
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, 619

Authors mentioned:

J.R.R. Tolkien, 6
Ezra Pound, 16
T.S. Eliot, 16
Alfred Douglas, 18
Robert de Montesquiou, 18
Plato, 22, 36
Homer, 23, 36, 49, 509
Dante, 33
Virgil, 33
Plotinus, 37
Marie Corelli, 85
Shakespeare, 91, 615
Alexander Pope, 103
John Donne, 117
Rupert Brooke, 120
Edgar Allen Poe, 132, 200
Hegel, 139
Raymond Chandler, 153
Gregory of Tours, 481
Thomas Aquinas, 509
P.G. Wodehouse, 538
George Orwell, 576-7
Harold Acton, 577
Salman Rushdie, 582
Agatha Christie, 587
Proust, 612
John Webster, 615
Thomas Middleton, 615
Cyril Tourneur, 615
John Ford, 615
Christopher Marlowe, 615
Walter Raleigh, 615
Thomas Nashe, 615

NB: page numbers correspond to the Popular Penguin Edition.

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4 thoughts on “The Secret Reading List: Books mentioned in The Secret History

  1. Stumbled upon your blog while reading compulsively about the Secret History, this list is amazing!
    I think the book about the history of clubs is The Secret History of London Clubs by Edward Ward from the 1890s.

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  2. Hello Laura,
    I’m here for the same reason – compulsive research about this fascinating book. But I am so glad I found your blog! I love your writing and the subjects you write about, namely teaching… And I really like the clear, stylish look of your blog. So this won’t be my last visit, to be sure!
    I also checked out your tumblr and detected a certain morbid longing for the picturesque (you are sure you are not Richard Papen?!). The timeless quality of your photos is amazing. You must be really patient to get as little cars, people or other indications in which century you life into your pictures. I love the mood of them.
    So, to come back to this amazing reading list: may I point out that you might add Kallimachos? Or did I just not see him? Please don’t take it wrong!
    Do you think Donna Tartt read all this, or at least about it, before she was 28?! I think I need to get better with my time management… Turning the computer off now…

    Like

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