The 100 best novels written in English
After two years of careful consideration, Robert McCrum has reached a verdict on his selection of the 100 greatest novels written in English. Take a look at his list, and see if you agree and how many have you read? …
Below is an extract of the first 10, for the rest, please go to this link with the full list, reflections and comments. BTW, Robert McCrum is an associate editor of the Observer. He was born and educated in Cambridge. For nearly 20 years he was editor-in-chief of the publishers Faber & Faber. He is the co-author of The Story of English (1986), and has written six novels. He was the literary editor of the Observer from 1996 to 2008, and has been a regular contributor to the Guardian since 1990. Here’s the first 10 of the best (note they are numbered in chronological order):-
1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678)
A story of a man in search of truth told with the simple clarity and beauty of Bunyan’s prose make this the ultimate English classic.
2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
By the end of the 19th century, no book in English literary history had enjoyed more editions, spin-offs and translations. Crusoe’s world-famous novel is a complex literary confection, and it’s irresistible.
3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
A satirical masterpiece that’s never been out of print, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels comes third in our list of the best novels written in English
4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748)
Clarissa is a tragic heroine, pressured by her unscrupulous nouveau-riche family to marry a wealthy man she detests, in the book that Samuel Johnson described as “the first book in the world for the knowledge it displays of the human heart.”
5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)
Tom Jones is a classic English novel that captures the spirit of its age and whose famous characters have come to represent Augustan society in all its loquacious, turbulent, comic variety.
6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759)
Laurence Sterne’s vivid novel caused delight and consternation when it first appeared and has lost little of its original bite.
7. Emma by Jane Austen (1816)
Jane Austen’s Emma is her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility.
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
Mary Shelley’s first novel has been hailed as a masterpiece of horror and the macabre.
9. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (1818)
10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel – a classic adventure story with supernatural elements – has fascinated and influenced generations of writers.