Diogenes Literature Selections

The assigned literature for this course provide background and content for the student's analysis and imitation work, and is therefore highly recommended. Most of the books assigned are available online (links provided below).

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Assigned Literature for Diogenes: Maxim


Autobiography by Ben Franklin and/or Poor Richard by James Daugherty
Benjamin Franklin's writings represent some of the best of the political, civic, and scientific genius that colonial America has to offer. Poor Richard is a beautifully illustrated, high interest biography for young people that includes many excerpts from his Autobiography and other writings. Autobiography also available online.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
This play illustrates the relationship between rhetoric and power. The beginning rhetoric student needs to understand the power of a well-crafted speech, and the power of a persuasive personality. This play offers the tension of conflicting political goals and shows what happens when mistrust and misunderstandings rule the day. Available online.

Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The themes of this play are mercy versus the law, self-interest versus love. Available online.

Assigned Literature for Diogenes: Chreia


St. Basil’s Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature
One of the great champions of orthodoxy in the early church takes on this important question that is still being asked today in Christian education: How can Christians rightly use pagan literature? The Address to Young Men by St. Basil is included in the collection linked above, or you can read it online.

Antigone by Sophocles
We chose this play to introduce students to the rhetoric of Greek drama. Speeches from opposing characters engage in carefully crafted debates whose arguments involve the conflict between answering to earthly authority and answering to divine authority, as well as the conflict between private duty to family members and duty to the state. The version listed here includes the other two plays in the cycle, which we will read in Classical Writing Herodotus. Another translation is available online.

Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Steeped in magic and otherworldliness, we recommend The Lord of the Rings as a fantasy that  captivates readers. We also recommend other books with this themeThe Hobbit, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or The Horse and His Boy. (See Supplemental Literature Selections below.) 

Oresteia by Aeschylus
The play Agamemnon is the first play in  Aeschylus’ triology, The Oresteia. King Agamemnon had to sacrifice his youngest daughter to the goddess Artemis in order to get favorable winds for his trip to Troy. When Agamemnon returns from Troy his wife murders him, and a cycle of revenge is set in motion in Agamemnon's family. The play Agamemnon is  is key to judicial rhetoric and is mandatory for understanding the lessons in Chreia. The other two plays in The Oresteia will be read and studied in Classical Writing Herodotus. Another translation of Agamemnon is available online.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic action adventure story of a young Scottish boy, abducted by the machinations of his treacherous uncle and taken aboard a British ship to be sold into slavery in the Americas. He suffers many adverse circumstances, including mutiny and shipwreck, but through his friendship with Alan Stewart, he eventually makes his way back to Scotland and reclaims his inheritance. Any version will do so long as it is not abridged. This is an optional literature assignment, but a very enjoyable readespecially as a family read-aloud.

Supplemental Literature for Diogenes

See also Supplemental Literature for Aesop and Homer

These are the alternate books for the friendship theme in Unit 3.


These are additional excellent literature selections for this level.




Primer: Resources and Literature   

Aesop & Homer: Assigned and Supplemental Reading

Herodotus: Assigned and Supplemental Reading

Plutarch: Assigned and Supplemental Reading

Demosthenes: Assigned and Supplemental Reading

Poetry: Assigned and Supplemental Reading

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