Literature Books That Inspire John Gray’s Philosophy

John Gray

The title of the post is really not the luckiest. What do I mean by “literature books that inspired John Gray’s philosophy”?

From the moment I started reading John Gray’s books, starting with the Straw Dogs, I wanted more of it. So besides buying and reading of the rest of Gray books, this also meant searching for the titles that Gray mentions throughout his books. I really wanted to understand it all.

What is “literature books”? I was most fascinated by the books he mentions and which come from literature, aka. novels, stories and poems. I was the weakest there, so I wanted to better understand that literary aspect of Gray’s arguments.

What it means “inspire”? I don’t know how to define it. In his books, Gray often references what some authors stated about certain experiences. In a way, I feel Gray is inspired by those in a positive way.

John Gray a ” philosopher”? That is an understatement. He definitely is a philosopher by vocation. But that doesn’t really matter (at least to me). Because his writings go above and beyond philosophy. They simply inspire.

So here we go. From Gray books, those starting with Straw Dogs, I have collected books which Gray mentions. I made the list for myself; I bought majority of the books, read some of them, and some are still waiting for me to read them.

PS. The list ended up with some philosophy books. I have cut them in the end. There are some books of essays inside the list.

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon, London, Vintage, 2005.

Joseph Conrad, ‘An Outpost of Progress’, in Almayer’s Folly and Tales of Unrest, London, Dent, 1972.

Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play by Wallace Stevens, New York, Vintage Books, 1960.

Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1983.

Norman Lewis, Naples ’44: An Intelligence Officer in the Italian Labyrinth, London, Eland, 2002.

John Ashbery, Selected Poems, Manchester, Carcanet, 2002.

Curzio Malaparte, The Volga Rises in Europe, Edinburgh, Birlinn, 2000.

Curzio Malaparte, Kaputt, New York Review Books, 2005.

Arthur Koestler, The Invisible Writing: Autobiography 1931–53, London, Collins/Hamish Hamilton, 1954.

Arthur Koestler, Arrow in the Blue: Autobiography, London, Collins/Hamish Hamilton, 1952.

Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday, Lincoln, Nebr. and London, University of Nebraska Press, 1964

Joseph Roth, The Emperor’s Tomb, trans. John Hoare, London, Granta Books, 1999.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, trans. and ed. Michael R. Katz, New York and London, W. W. Norton, 2001.

Alexander Herzen, From the Other Shore, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1979.

Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending, New York, Oxford University Press, 2nd edn, 2000.

Alexander Herzen, My Past and Thoughts, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, University of California Press, 1982.

Wallace Stevens, Opus Posthumous, New York, Vintage Books, 1989.

John Ashbery, Your Name Here, Manchester, Carcanet, 2000.

J. G. Ballard, The Drowned World, London, Indigo, 1997.

Richard Jefferies, After London: Wild England, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1980.

J. G. Ballard, Miracles of Life, London, Fourth Estate, 2008.

J. L. Borges, Selected Poems, London, Penguin, 1999.

T. E. Hulme, Selected Writings, ed. Patrick McGuinness, Manchester, Fyfield Books, 2003.

T. E. Hulme, Further Speculations, ed. S. Hynes, Lincoln, Nebr., University of Nebraska Press, 1955.

Samuel Beckett, Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, ed. Ruby Cohn, London, Calder, 1983.

John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror: Poems by John Ashbery, Manchester, Carcanet, 2007.

J. A. Baker, The Peregrine, The Hill of Summer and Diaries: The Complete Works of J. A. Baker, introduced by Mark Cocker and edited by John Fanshawe, London, Collins, 2011.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time to Keep Silence, London, Penguin Books, 1982.

Max Picard, The World of Silence, South Bend, Ind., Regnery/Gateway.

William Empson, The Complete Poems, ed. John Haffenden, London, Penguin Books, 2001.

Richard Jefferies, The Life of the Fields, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1983.

Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, New York and London, W. W. Norton, 1995.

Llewelyn Powys, Earth Memories, Bristol, Redcliffe Press, 1983.

Llewelyn Powys, Skin for Skin, London, Village Press, 1975

Llewelyn Powys, Impassioned Clay, London and New York, Longmans, Green, 1931.

Llewelyn Powys, Glory of Life, London, Village Press, 1975.

Llewelyn Powys, Love and Death, London, John Lane/The Bodley Head, 1939.

Alyse Gregory, The Cry of a Gull: Journals 1923–48, Dulverton, Somerset, The Ark Press, 1973.

F. S. Flint, Imagist Poetry: An Anthology, ed. Bob Blaisdell, New York, Dover Publications, 1999.

Georges Simenon, M. Monde Vanishes, London, Penguin Books, 1975.

Samuel Beckett, Proust and Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit, London, John Calder, 1999.

Robinson Jeffers, ‘The Humanist’s Tragedy’, Rock and Hawk, ed. R. Hass, New York, Random House, 1987.

Robinson Jeffers, The Double Axe and Other Poems.

Czesław Miłosz, Visions from San Francisco Bay, New York, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1982.

Heinrich von Kleist, ‘The Puppet Theatre’, Selected Writings, ed. and trans. David Constantine, Indianapolis/Cambridge, Hackett Publishing, 2004.

Philip K. Dick, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, London, Gollancz, 2003.

Lawrence Durrell, The Avignon Quintet, London, Faber & Faber, 2004.

J. L. Borges, ‘A Defense of Basilides the False’, The Total Library, London, Penguin Books, 2001.

Bruno Schulz, The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories, trans. Celina Wieniewska, London, Penguin Books, 2008.

Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone, ed. Michael Caesar and Franco D’Intino, London, Penguin Books, 2013.

J. L. Borges, ‘The Circular Ruins’, Fictions, London, Penguin Books, 1970.

Stanislav Lem, Solaris, The Chain of Chance, A Perfect Vacuum, London, Penguin Books, 1985.

The Short Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Stuart Levine and Susan Levine, Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1990.

T. F. Powys, Unclay, Sherborne, Sundial Press, 2011”

Theodore Francis Powys, Soliloquies of a Hermit, London, Village Press, 1975.

T. F. Powys, The Only Penitent, London, Chatto & Windus, 1931.

Benjamin Woolley, The Queen’s Conjuror: The Life and Magic of Dr Dee, London, Flamingo, 2002.

Leonardo Sciascia, The Moro Affair, London, Granta Books, 2002.

Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Philosophy of Toys’, in On Dolls, ed. Kenneth Gross, London, Notting Hill Editions, 2013.

Samuel Butler, ‘The Book of the Machines’, Erewhon, ed. with an Introduction by Peter Mudford, London, Penguin Books, 1985.

John Williams, Augustus, Vintage Books, London, 2003.

John Laurence, The Cat from Hué: A Vietnam War Story (New York: PublicAffairs, 2002).

George Santayana, Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, Goethe (New York: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1953).

James Boswell, Life of Johnson, edited by R. W. Chapman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980).

Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, edited by Thomas Keymer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Germaine Brée, Marcel Proust and Deliverance from Time (London: Chatto and Windus, 1956),

Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco, London, Faber and Faber.

F. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, ed. R. E. Matlaw, New York, W. W. Norton and Co., 1976.

D. H. Lawrence, Selected Literary Criticism, ed. A. Beal, London, Heinemann, 1967.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, trans. Richard Zenith, Carcanet, Manchester, 1991.

Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus, London, Penguin, 2000.

J. G. Ballard, Cocaine Nights, London, Flamingo, 1997.

J. G. Ballard, Super-Cannes, Flamingo, 2000.

Joseph Brodsky, On Grief and Reason: Essays, London, Penguin, 1995.

Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, London, J. M. Dent and Sons, 1947.

The Marquis de Sade, Dialogue between a Priest and a Dying Man, in Three Complete Novels and Other Writings, New York, Grove Press, 1966.

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