This web site is the home page for a number texts (translations, lectures, workbooks, and so on) prepared by Ian Johnston, an emeritus professor at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. The texts are all freely available to high-school and college teachers and students, to visual and performing artists, to writers, and to members of the general public, who may freely edit and distribute them in printed or electronic form. All commercial publishing, however, requires the permission of Ian Johnston.


 This website is dedicated to my son Geoffrey (1974-1997).

                Generations of men are like the leaves.
                In winter, winds blow them down to earth,
                but then, when spring season comes again,
                the budding wood grows more. And so with men:
                one generation grows, another dies away. (Iliad 6)


        [Capitan Mail] [Vancouver Island University










All texts here may be download and distributed without permission and without charge. They may also be edited or adapted to suit the specific purposes of the person using them. However, commercial publication is not permitted, without the express permission of Ian Johnston. In acknowledging the source of this material, please do not refer to the author as Dr. Johnston (Ian Johnston is quite acceptable).


Many of these files (especially the translation of classic texts) are available as HTML (or HTM) documents and as RTF (Rich Text Format) documents. The latter format (RTF), which can be opened with Word or OpenOffice or WPS Office, is more suitable for those who wish to edit the text in some way or to print it (or both) and for those who prefer to have the notes provided by the translator as footnotes at the bottom of the page rather than as endnotes at the end of the document. The former format (HTML) is more suitable for those who wish to read the document on a laptop or tablet and who do not mind jumping (via hyperlinks) between the text and the endnotes and back.

To access the HTML and RTF options, simply click on the title of the work you are interested in and read the first few lines of the translator's introduction. If there are any problems, please contact Ian Johnston (


(Unless otherwise stated, all translations are by Ian Johnston)

Oresteia (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides)
Prometheus Bound
Seven Against Thebes
Suppliant Women


Nicomachaean Ethics [abridged]

Discourse on Method
Meditations on First Philosophy

A Conversation Between D'Alembert and Diderot
D'Alembert's Dream (Table of Contents)
Rameau’s Nephew
Sequel to the Preceding Conversation

Herakles (Hercules Furens)
Herakleidae (Children of Herakles)
Women of Troy

Iliad (Abridged)
Iliad (Complete)
Odyssey (Abridged)
Odyssey (Complete)

Selected Short Stories

Universal History of Nature and Theory of Heaven
On Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Tract

Zoological Philosophy, Volume I

On the Nature of Things

On the Cannibals

Beyond Good and Evil
Birth of Tragedy
Genealogy of Morals
Use and Abuse of History

Metamorphoses (Abridged)

On the Sciences and the Arts [First Discourse]
On the Origin of Inequality [Second Discourse]
On the Social Contract

Oedipus at Colonus
Oedipus the King
Trachiniae (Women of Trachis)

Marquis von Keith
Castle Wetterstein



The documents listed below are the texts of lectures, essays, and other instructional materials prepared by Ian Johnston for the Liberal Studies and English departments at Vancouver Island University.

In Praise of Conversation
My Body the Billboard
No Snakes on these Islands
On Researth and Teaching 1: Myth Conceptions of Academic Work
On Research and Teaching 2: The Rage of Caliban
On Aeschylus, Oresteia
On Ancient and Modern Science
On the American Adam
On Approaches to Shakespeare
On Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem
On Aristophanic Satire and the Clouds
On Aristotle, Nicomachaean Ethics
On Aristotle's Life and Works
On Classical Greek Literature: Preliminary Observations
On Creationism in the Science Curriculum
On Czech Cubist Architecture
On Czech History (An Overview)
On Dante, The Inferno
On Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
On de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
On Deconstructing Shakespeare
On Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
On Descartes, Discourse on Method
On Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
On Dryden, “MacFlecknoe”: Introduction to Satire
On Eliot, “Prufrock” and The Waste Land
On Euripides, Bacchae
On Exodus
On Frayn, Copenhagen
On Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
On Golf as a Spiritual Ordeal
On the Gospel of Matthew and the Epistle to the Romans
On Hašek, The Good Soldier Švejk
On Hildegard of Bingen, Mystical Writings
On Hobbes, Leviathan
On Hobbes, Virtue Ethics, and Liberty
On Homer, Iliad (A Series of Essays)
On Homer, Odyssey
On Ibsen, A Doll's House
On James, Varieties of Religious Experience
On James: Fruits, Roots, and Religious Disputes
On Kafka, Metamorphosis (A Lecture by Karl Marx)
On Kant, Perpetual Peace
On Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
On Loose Wires, Green Goblins, and Other Matters
On Machiavelli, The Prince
On Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
On Marx, Selected Writings
On Mill, On Liberty
On Milton, Paradise Lost
On Montaigne, Essays
On Mucha and Art Nouveau
On Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
On Ovid, Metamorphoses
On Plato, Meno
On Plato, Poesis in the Republic
On Romanticism in English Poetry
On Rorty, Contingency, irony and solidarity
On Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
On Rousseau, Emile
On Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
On Shakespeare, As You Like It
On Shakespeare, Hamlet
On Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1
On Shakespeare, Henry V
On Shakespeare, Introduction to Shakespeare
On Shakespeare, Note on Henry IV, Part 1
On Shakespeare, King Lear
On Shakespeare, Macbeth
On Shakespeare, Richard II and Hamlet
On Shakespeare, Richard III
On Shakespeare, Sonnets (Background Note)
On Shakespeare, The Tempest
On Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
On Shakespeare, Wars of the Roses (Background Note)
On the Short Proof of Evolution
On the Short Proof of Evolution: Responses to Objections
On Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
On Sophocles, Oedipus the King
On Spiegelmann, Maus I and II
On Stendhal, The Red and the Black
On Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
On Swift, Gulliver's Travels
On Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
On the Trojan War (Background Note)
On Twain, Huckleberry Finn
On Understanding Science
On Western Civilization: Why is Everyone Studying English?
On Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman
On Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Our Universities: How We Got Where We Are
Some Non-Scientific Observations on the Importance of Darwin
To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns
Towards an Initial Understanding of Science
Why Should I Obey the State?


Participating in Seminars
E-Coli (A Satirical Ezine)