Common Reads: First-Year Experience

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Selected to captivate the minds of readers and inspire participation in engaging group conversations, Harvard University Press’s “Common Reads: First-Year Experience” collection aims to bolster a feeling of community within an assembly of scholars.

Beyond the books highlighted below, we recommend discovering the wisdom of the ancients with the digital Loeb Classical Library, offering our entire Greek and Latin Classical heritage—epic and lyric poetry; tragedy and comedy; history, travel, philosophy, and oratory; and much more—with up-to-date texts and accurate English translations.

For further recommendations for your classroom or organization, contact or view a list of all books available for online examination.

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On the Shoulders of Giants, by Umberto Eco, translated by Alastair McEwen, from Harvard University Press

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Jacket: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, by James Hankins, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with James Hankins, author of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

With Virtue Politics, James Hankins has delivered a bold, revisionist account of the political thought of the Italian Renaissance—from Petrarch to Machiavelli—that reveals the all-important role of character in shaping society, both in citizens and in their leaders. We spoke to him about the importance of virtue to leadership in Renaissance Italy—and its relevance to our own time.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.