A List That Actually Is About the 100 Greatest Books of All-Time

  • Works in bold are ones I have read.

  • (1). The Iliad by Homer
  • (2). The Odyssey by Homer
  • (3). The Aeneid by Virgil
  • (4). Beowulf by Unknown
  • (5). The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
  • (6). The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo
  • (7). The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • (8). Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • (9). Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • (10). The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  • (11). Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • (12). Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
  • (13). Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • (14). Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
  • (15). Candide by Voltaire
  • (16). The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • (17). The Tragedy of Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  • (18). The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott
  • (19). Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • (20). Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • (21). Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • (22). The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • (23). The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  • (24). The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • (25). Carmen by Prosper Merimee
  • (26). Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • (27). Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • (28). Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
  • (29). David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • (30). A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • (31). Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • (32). The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • (33). Camille by Alexandre Dumas fils
  • (34). Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • (35). Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • (36). Idylls of the King by Lord Alfred Tennyson
  • (37). Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • (38). Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • (39). Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • (40). Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  • (41). Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • (42). The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • (43). Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • (44). Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  • (45). The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • (46). The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  • (47). Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • (48). A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
  • (49). Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • (50). War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • (51). The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  • (52). Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • (53). The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  • (54). The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • (55). Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • (56). The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • (57). The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • (58). Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • (59). The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
  • (60). The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • (61). Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
  • (62). An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  • (63). The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • (64). A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • (65). For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • (66). The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • (67). The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  • (68). Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • (69). The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • (70). To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • (71). The Republic by Plato
  • (72). The Prince by Machiavelli
  • (73). The Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • (74). The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  • (75). The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
  • (76). Das Kapital by Karl Marx
  • (77). The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler
  • PLAYS:
  • (78). Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
  • (79). Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  • (80). The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
  • (81). Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • (82). Othello by William Shakespeare
  • (83). Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • (84). The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  • (85). Tartuffe by Moliere
  • (86). Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
  • (87). A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
  • (88). The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • (89). Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  • (90). The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
  • (91). Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  • (92). Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  • (93). The Nicomachaen Ethics by Aristotle
  • (94). Meditations by Rene Descartes
  • (95). Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
  • (96). The World as Will and Idea by Arthur Schopenhauer
  • (97). Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • (98). Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • (99). Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • (100). How We Think by John Dewey
Author Comments: 

Well, after I posted that Modern Library list, I decided to search the depths of the Internet to find a list of the 100 greatest novels of all-time. This one is the best one I found...okay, it's the only one I found. And actually, it's not really the 100 greatest novels - it also includes plays, scientific works, epic poetry, etc. But anyway, here it is, in chronological order.

As for me, I have read the books marked in bold above. How about you?

I've read 17 1/2 I think....

This is a pretty solid classics list (I've read 27), but I'm not counting 2 that I couldn't finish, I was so bored, namely MOLL FLANDERS and LAST OF THE MOHICANS, both of which are so dated I don't know if they should be called classics. THE GILGAMESH EPIC is timeless and would serve as a great replacement for one of those clunkers.

My recommendations?
Read Dracula and Frankenstein around Halloween and then you can watch some movie versions. My favorite Dracula is Bram Stoker's Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which really gives life to the characters.

Madame Bovary is one of my ten favorite books ever as is Vanity Fair. Cyrano is way cool, but better if you read French. Crime and Punishment would go great with a November rain. And Pride and Prejudice and Of Mice and Men both go down easy with great rewards. Man, I love reading.

If you've actually read this far - what character did you play in "The Tempest"? It's my favorite play ever. And did you ever see "Prospero's Books"? I love that movie.

Anyway, I'll shut up now!

Well, the Tempest was a very bizarre play, at least how it was done at my high school. See, the director had a bunch of weird spirits / fairies that appeared at random in various scenes, and I was one of those spirits (without any lines). It was a pretty pathetic role - in fact, everyone that tried out and didn't get a speaking role was cast as a spirit (many dropped out, and a friend of mine didn't even audition, but when he heard everyone was cast, he asked the director if he could be a spirit).

There was also a big controversy about the play's cast list, because the director cast a girl as Prospero (maybe it should be Prospera) before the girl even tried out - she wasn't available when the auditions were being held. The result of these poor decisions, and others, was that the show was a huge flop at my school, and the director has given up directing any plays and back to teaching English. So, yeah.

To be honest, I'm even beginning to doubt that I can count it as a book I read; I read a lot of the script, but I'm still not quite clear as to some of the aspects of the plot. Maybe I'll read it in its entirety someday. And no, I have not seen "Prospero's Books", but after looking it up on IMDB, I have become intrigued. I like John Gielgud; maybe I'll check that movie out.

P.S. My role in "Shrew" was still rather small, but more respectable - I was the Pedant whom Tranio asks to dress up as Vincentio.

Hmmm...so the last grest novel was produced by Harper Lee? I guess they wanted to front-load the list with ancient classics. I guess we all know which modern-day books are monumental.

Still, this is nice. I like the concept of a list unlimited by time. The idea that one can evaluate, with reasonable objectivity, works from diverse periods.

I found one similar list, relating to music. I found it quite intriguing, but was repulsed that Hotel California was judged to be a greater piece of art than Symphony #9.

warning: the music list is 45 pages long. may take a while to load.

I'm still waiting for a ranked list of the 100 greatest works of art of all time. I'd like to see someone try to objectively compare "Hamlet" with Joyce's "Ulysses" with the Mona Lisa with Beethoven's 5th with "Citizen Kane".

that would be the best thing ever. do you know what kind of cosmopolitan one would have to be just to be qualified for that, let alone have the minerals to actually do it and present it? that would be brilliant.

And, of course, the person or organization to make such a list would immediately become universally hated for failing to include a certain work of art or ranking one work of art higher than a lower-ranked, but better, work of art. Still, I'd really like to see someone attempt this, just because it would be very bold and, as you said, it would require much brilliance and ingenuity.

I'll bet we could start by polling Listology according to different categories (movies, sculpture, paintings, songs, etc.), then narrowing each down to an acceptable number, pool them all, have everyone vote again from the large list, post the results, claim they're definitive, and run to Reno with the money!

note: there may not actually be any money involved with this idea.

Hmmm...interesting idea. Except let's also include the opinions of other organizations (this list of books, that 2001 greatest songs list you found, the Sight and Sound list, etc.) so that we can make a list of sources and make it sound real definitive and stuff. It might increase the hypothetical money with which we'd be running to Reno.

Intriguing proposition indeed.

There's an interesting website by an Italian guy called Piero Scaruffi that has separate lists of best paintings, esential books as well as 1000 movies etc- though not together in cross-cultural competition.

One of my all-time favourites ever is The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (top three). Make notes or highlight his witty or clever lines and enjoy forever. The writing is sparkling. Cannot be recommended too highly.

Every 'Top 100 books of all time' seem to be missing out on Love Story and Doctors by Erich Segal... I really think these two books are literaly classics.

The Prince by Machiavelli is an awesome book, I really enjoyed reading it. All the others in the 'civilisation' section are said to be great reads too, I will eventually get to them.

In the philosophy section, The Critique of Pure Reason & Meditations (Discourse on Method is worth a read too) are also great literature. I'm currently reading the Nicomachean Ethics, it's also a very thought-provoking book. I've never read him, but I hear Schopenhauer is a great writer.

I haven't read very much fiction, but I am currently readin The Divine Comedy; It's an incredibly hard read but it's a beautiful piece of text. Worth a read if you get the time :)

read dostoevsky. now.