Cavell, S. (1969) Must We Mean What We Say? A Book of Essays, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
(A set of interrelated essays on philosophical method and the arts, including a long and hugely influential essay on King Lear.)
Cavell, S. (1971) The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film, New York: Viking Press.
(This analysis draws on Cavell’s earlier work on theatre and painting; an expanded edition, published in 1979, includes replies to critics.)
Cavell, S. (1972) The Senses of Walden, New York: Viking Press.
(A highly compressed, detailed reading of Thoreau’s famous text.)
Cavell, S. (1979) The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality and Tragedy, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
(Cavell’s much-revised dissertation, this contains his most detailed elaboration of his interpretation of criteria, and sets the scene for all his future writing.)
Cavell, S. (1981) Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
(These six essays identify a genre of screwball comedies from Hollywood’s golden age, in which issues of interpersonal acknowledgement are worked out in relation to Romanticism and scepticism.)
Cavell, S. (1984) Themes Out of School: Effects and Causes, San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.
(A disparate collection, including an important early essay on existentialism and analytical philosophy.)
Cavell, S. (1987) Disowning Knowledge: In Six Plays of Shakespeare, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(This collects a number of already-published pieces, as well as two new ones.)
Cavell, S. (1988) In Quest of the Ordinary: Lines of Skepticism and Romanticism, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
(The core of this collection is a sequence of lectures on American and English Romanticism in literature and philosophy.)
Cavell, S. (1989) This New Yet Unapproachable America: Lectures after Emerson after Wittgenstein, Albequerque, NM: Living Batch Press, and Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
(Contains two lectures, including a long piece on Wittgenstein as a philosopher of culture.)
Cavell, S. (1990) Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome: The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
(Cavell here relates his perfectionist concerns to recent work by Rawls and Kripke.)
Cavell, S. (1994) A Pitch Of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
(As well as explicitly autobiographical reflections, this collection contains important essays on Derrida and J.L. Austin, and on opera.)
Cavell, S. (1995) Philosophical Passages: Wittgenstein, Emerson, Austin, Derrida, Oxford: Blackwell.
(Includes a much-revised version of Cavell’s lectures on the opening of the Philosophical Investigations.)
Cavell, S. (1996) Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman, Chicago, IL, and London: University of Chicago Press.
(This collection identifies a genre of film adjacent to that of the remarriage comedies studied in Pursuits of Happiness, and systematically relates cinema to psychoanalysis.)