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100 Greatest Novels meme

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I stumbled across mention of this list on LibraryThing. It apparently comes from The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time by Daniel S Burt, a specialist in Victorian literature at a US university. Burt’s book was published in 2004, but it seems like an almost stereotypical list of classic literature by Dead White Males – with a few women and POC for variety. Burt clearly has his favourites – I find it hard to believe that some authors, on matter how great, could contribute more than a single work to a Best 100. In effect, Burt is claiming that, for example, Dickens’ third best work is better than the best work of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other authors.

Anyway, it’s a list. Of books. Which means… book meme. As usual, bold them if you’ve read them, italicise them if they’re on the TBR.

1 Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes (1605, 1630)
2 War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (1869)
3 Ulysses, James Joyce (1922)
4 In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust (1913-1927)
5 The Brothers Karamazov, Feodor Dostoevsky (1880)
6 Moby-Dick, Herman Melville (1851)
7 Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1857)
8 Middlemarch, George Eliot (1871-1872)
9 The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann (1924)
10 The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu (11th Century)
11 Emma, Jane Austen (1816)
12 Bleak House, Charles Dickens (1852-1853)
13 Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (1877)
14 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1884)
15 Tom Jones, Henry Fielding (1749)
16 Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (1860-1861)
17 Absalom, Absalom!, William Faulkner (1936)
18 The Ambassadors, Henry James (1903)
19 One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)
20 The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
21 To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf (1927)
22 Crime and Punishment, Feodor Dostoevsky (1866)
23 The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929)
24 Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray (1847-1848)
25 Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (1952)
26 Finnegans Wake, James Joyce (1939)
27 The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil (1930-1943)
28 Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon (1973)
29 The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James (1881)
30 Women in Love, DH Lawrence (1920)
31 The Red and the Black, Stendhal (1830)
32 Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne (1760-1767)
33 Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol (1842)
34 Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy (1891)
35 Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann (1901)
36 Le Père Goriot, Honoré de Balzac (1835)
37 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce (1916)
38 Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1847)
39 The Tin Drum, Günter Grass (1959)
40 Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable, Samuel Beckett (1951-1953)
41 Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)
42 The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
43 Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev (1862)
44 Nostromo, Joseph Conrad (1904)
45 Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
46 An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser (1925)
47 Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
48 The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (1962)
49 Clarissa, Samuel Richardson (1747-1748)
50 Dream of the Red Chamber, Cao Xueqin (1791)
51 The Trial, Franz Kafka (1925)
52 Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1847)
53 The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (1895)
54 The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck (1939)
55 Petersburg, Andrey Bely (1916, 1922)
56 Things Fall Apart, Chinue Achebe (1958)
57 The Princess of Cleves, Madame de Lafayette (1678)
58 The Stranger, Albert Camus (1942)
59 My Antonia, Willa Cather (1918)
60 The Counterfeiters, André Gide (1926)
61 The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton (1920)
62 The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford (1915)
63 The Awakening, Kate Chopin 1899
64 A Passage to India, EM Forster (1924)
65 Herzog, Saul Bellow (1964)
66 Germinal, Émile Zola (1855)
67 Call It Sleep, Henry Roth (1934)
68 USA Trilogy, John Dos Passos (1930-1938)
69 Hunger, Knut Hamsun 1890)
70 Berlin Alexanderplatz, Alfred Doblin (1929)
71 Cities of Salt, Abd al-Rahman Munif (1984-1989)
72 The Death of Artemio Cruz, Carlos Fuentes (1962)
73 A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway (1929)
74 Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh (1945)
75 The Last Chronicle of Barset, Anthony Trollope (1866-1867)
76 The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens (1836-1867)
77 Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1719)
78 The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1774)
79 Candide, Voltaire (1759)
80 Native Son, Richard Wright (1940)
81 Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry (1947)
82 Oblomov, Ivan Goncharov (1859)
83 Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
84 Waverley, Sir Walter Scott (1814)
85 Snow Country, Kawabata Yasunari (1937, 1948)
86 Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
87 The Betrothed, Alessandro Manzoni (1827, 1840)
88 The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper (1826)
89 Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
90 Les Misérables, Victor Hugo (1862)
91 On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
92 Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1818)
93 The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1958)
94 The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger (1951)
95 The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1860)
96 The Good Soldier, Svejk Jaroslav Hasek (1921-1923)
97 Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)
98 The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (1844)
99 The Hound of Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)
100 Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1936)

Not an especially good showing – I’ve only read a dozen of them. And several of them I didn’t much like: The Catcher in the Rye, The Good Soldier, On The Road… But a number of them do look interesting  and not just the ones I already have on my TBR.

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4 thoughts on “100 Greatest Novels meme

  1. Think I’ve read:

    38 Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1847)
    51 The Trial, Franz Kafka (1925)
    54 The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck (1939)
    77 Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1719)
    86 Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
    91 On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
    92 Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1818)
    94 The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger (1951)
    95 The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1860)
    97 Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)
    98 The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (1844)
    99 The Hound of Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)

    Have to say that apart from 1984, Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights, the others left no lasting impression. ‘On the Road’ and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ in particular, I know I’ve read them, but was unimpressed. Would include ‘Animal Farm’ in place of either.

    Not particularly champing at the bit to read any of the others.

  2. Hi, Ian !

    I liked a lot your article “The Hugos are broken, science fiction is broken, everything is broken”.
    Kindly allow me to translate it and to post it on the Romanian Science Fiction&Fantasy Site : http://www.srsff.ro/
    You’ll be credited as author, your blog will be mentioned as the original site and we’ll insert a link towards the original article.
    Thank you very much.

    Best regards,
    Cristian Tamas

  3. It’s good to see my four favourite novels there: Ulysses, War and Peace, Middlemarch, and Anna Karenina.

  4. More on my “read” list than I expected. But mostly from decades ago when I read voraciously. I bracketed items I own but can’t honestly say I’ll ever get to.

    1 Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes (1605, 1630)
    [ 4 In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust (1913-1927) ]
    5 The Brothers Karamazov, Feodor Dostoevsky (1880)
    9 The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann (1924)
    11 Emma, Jane Austen (1816)
    14 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1884)
    16 Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (1860-1861) — high school
    20 The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
    22 Crime and Punishment, Feodor Dostoevsky (1866)
    24 Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray (1847-1848)
    28 Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon (1973)
    42 The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
    58 The Stranger, Albert Camus (1942)
    64 A Passage to India, EM Forster (1924)
    76 The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens (1836-1867)
    77 Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1719)
    79 Candide, Voltaire (1759)
    86 Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
    92 Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1818)
    94 The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger (1951)
    95 The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1860)
    97 Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)
    98 The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (1844)
    99 The Hound of Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)

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