Jane's List of 100 Novels:

"My list is not and was never intended to be a 'Hundred Greatest,' only a list of individual novels that would illuminate the whole concept of the novel. I knew I would be reading books I had read before, books I had always meant to read, and books I had not ever wanted to read but knew were important. I knew I would be omitting lots of books, and authors, that other readers would consider vital to any understanding of the novel—Hemingway, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, for example—but not only did I have to start somewhere (with The Tale of Genji) and go somewhere (to lots of different countries), I also had to stop somewhere... I didn't conceive the list as being any sort of 'best of' list, because in order to understand the nature of the novel, sometimes the reader has to read novels that don't work for her and think about why they don't work—representative lists, unlike 'my favorite' lists have to include uncongenial works... As my list shaped up, it became a little arbitrary, and that came to seem like a necessary feature of any reading list that takes three years to complete, but not a fault in a list of novels because random variety is part of the nature of the novel."—Jane Smiley, from 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

The links below will lead you to pages on RandomHouse.com which include information about the books and authors. To read excerpts from Jane Smiley's analysis of the list, go to the excerpts section of this website.

  1. Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
  2. Author unknown, The Saga of the People of Laxardal
  3. Snorri Sturluson, Egil's Saga
  4. Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron
  5. Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron
  6. Anonymous, Lazarillo de Tormes
  7. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, vols. 1 and 2
  8. Madame de Lafayette, The Princess of Cleves
  9. Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
  10. Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, Roxana
  11. Samuel Richardson, Pamela
  12. Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
  13. Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote
  14. Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  15. Voltaire, Candide
  16. Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
  17. Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
  18. The Marquis de Sade, Justine
  19. Sir Walter Scott, The Tale of Old Mortality, The Bride of the Lammermoor
  20. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  21. Jane Austen, Persuasion
  22. James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  23. Stendhal, The Red and the Black
  24. Nicolai Gogol, Taras Bulba
  25. Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time
  26. Honore de Balzac, Cousin Pons and Cousin Bette
  27. Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
  28. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  29. William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
  30. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin
  31. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or the Whale
  32. Nathaniel Hawthorne,The House of the Seven Gables
  33. Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
  34. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  35. Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, The Moonstone
  36. Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
  37. Emile Zola, Therese Raquin
  38. Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset , The Eustace Diamonds
  39. Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot
  40. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  41. George Eliot, Middlemarch
  42. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  43. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady , The Awkward Age
  44. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
  45. Bram Stoker, Dracula
  46. Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  47. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  48. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  49. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
  50. Max Beerbohm, The Illustrated Zuleika Dobson, or an Oxford Love Story
  51. Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
  52. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street
  53. Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter, volume I, The Wreath
  54. James Joyce, Ulysses
  55. Italo Svevo, Zeno's Conscience
  56. E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
  57. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  58. Franz Kafka, The Trial
  59. Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers
  60. Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
  61. D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover
  62. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
  63. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  64. Robert Musil, The Man without Qualities, volume 1
  65. Mikhail Sholokhov, And Quiet flows the Don
  66. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  67. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
  68. P.G. Wodehouse, The Return of Jeeves, Bertie Wooster Sees it Through, Spring Fever, The Butler Did It
  69. T.H. White, The Once and Future King
  70. Christina Stead, The Man Who Loved Children
  71. Junichiro Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters
  72. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
  73. Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows
  74. Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate and Don't Tell Alfred
  75. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  76. Jetta Carleton, The Moonflower Vine
  77. Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
  78. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
  79. John Gardner, Grendel
  80. Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
  81. Naguib Mahfouz, The Harafish
  82. Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
  83. David Lodge, How Far Can You Go?
  84. Muriel Spark, Loitering With Intent
  85. Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
  86. Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  87. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
  88. J.M. Coetzee, Foe
  89. Toni Morrison, Beloved
  90. A.S. Byatt, Possession
  91. Nicholson Baker, Vox
  92. Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance
  93. Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum
  94. Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance
  95. Francine Prose, Guided Tours of Hell
  96. Chang-rae Lee, A Gesture Life
  97. Arnost Lustig, Lovely Green Eyes
  98. Zadie Smith, White Teeth
  99. John Updike, The Complete Henry Bech
  100. Ian McEwan, Atonement
  101. Jennifer Egan, Look at Me







Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel
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