I'm just trying to get a decent reading order for Hegel's work. I plan on reading other thinkers before Hegel like Kant and some secondaries like "German Philosophy 1760-1860 The Legacy of Idealism". I just don't know in which order to place his work to understand it best.

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    I'd suggest this book for starters. From there, read up on what interests you the most. "Reading [and presumably understanding] Hegel's work" is a matter of years, if not decades.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 9:54
  • You may try to read alone Hegel's Propaedeutic ( a summary of his system he wrote for high school students). But I think in general the best thing to do is to read a summary ( not a commentary) by an authorized scholar, I mean a reading guide that follows the order of the text. Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 22:29

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To follow Hegel's own prescription, there is no one starting point, so it's just a plunge. I'd certainly recommend some brief preliminary reading to get the lay of the land. Philip Klocking's recommendation is very good, but not quite for absolute beginners and a little idiosyncratic, in my view.

There are so many! Taylor's "Hegel and Modern Society," Houlgate's "Hegel: Freedom, Truth, and History," or even Peter Singer's "Brief Introduction," very brief and maybe not a bad place to begin. As for Hegel himself, most people start (and stop) with the "Phenomenology of Spirit," perhaps accompanied by Kojeve's famous lectures, which reintroduced French thinkers to Hegel. I also like "The Logic of Desire" by Kalkavage as a companion to the "Phenomenology," though it is as long as the original.

Today, there is a turn by some against the "Phenomenology," as a difficult, obscure, and early work. Some people recommend first reading a collection of Hegel's "Early Theological Writings," which are much easier to understand and somewhat demystifying. Many would now say to begin with the "Short Logic," which is part of the "Encyclopedia." Burbidge's "The Logic of Hegel's Logic" makes a good companion. For all the works, Pippin is one of the best-known and most prolific English commentators on Hegel, but not a breeze to follow.

I'd recommend getting a Blackwell Hegel Dictionary, not great but necessary and useful as one plods forward. Similarly, Beiser's "Hegel" is a useful topical overview for reference. One quirky selection I'd recommend is "Hegel for Social Movements" by Andy Blunden, which comes at the "Logic" from a more practical Marxist perspective and has been illuminating for me.

I hasten to add that I am not a scholar or even student, so my picks are pretty accidental and fumbling. To get back to your original question, I'd start with Hegel's "Introduction to the Phenomenology" followed by the "Shorter Logic," then the rest of the "Phenomenology," read alongside Kalkavage. Everyone else will vehemently disagree, with me, with each other, and eventually with themselves!

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    Just a word of caution: Kojève has a very peculiar reading of Hegel, one which does not hold up to contemporary academic standards as a defendable reading of Hegel himself, ie. he rather is Hegelian than Hegel.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 10:37
  • Oh yes, I would agree with that (though not on the basis of my own scholarship). Yet I think it is useful to point him out to any new reader of Hegel, since he is a major figure in the development of what you rightly call "Hegelianism." His influential focus on the Phenomenology and lord-bondsman story is now undergoing some push-back, I understand, as Hegel himself gains ground in English-French-speaking academia. Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 14:28

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