Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Great Books?

Here are the results of an interesting poll. 125 modern writers were asked "to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time- novels, story collections, plays, or poems." The post linked here provides the top ten for the 19th and 20th centuries. The list for the 19th first:
Top Ten Works of the 19th Century

1. Anna Karenina* by Leo Tolstoy

2. Madame Bovary* by Gustave Flaubert

3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

5. The stories of Anton Chekhov

6. Middlemarch* by George Eliot

7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

8. Great Expectations* by Charles Dickens

9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

10. Emma* by Jane Austen

Pretty strong results for what I've read here. I would have put some Hugo on there and I personally find Dickens impenetrable but those are really quibbles. The 20th century:
Top Ten Works of the 20th Century

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

2.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. The Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

4. Ulysses* by James Joyce

5. Dubliners* by James Joyce

6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

8. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

9. The complete stories of Flannery O'Connor

10. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

I loved both of the Nabokov books here. I'm not nearly as fond of 'The Great Gatsby' as these folks. Haven't read the others although I keep running into suggestions that the Proust is wonderful. I'm very surprised that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' isn't on the list.
Still, I think that the whole idea is very interesting.

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