Thursday, November 6, 2014

Best World Literature?

Apparently some Norwegians (Norwegians!) came up with the best world literature. Like, ever. More specifically: 

"The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, polled a panel of 100 authors from 54 countries on what they considered the “best and most central works in world literature.” Among the authors polled were Milan Kundera, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, John Irving, Nadine Gordimer, and Carlos Fuentes. The list of 100 works appears alphabetically by author. Although the books were not ranked, the editors revealed that Don Quixote received 50% more votes than any other book."
Of interest, perhaps, is how the majority were int he past 100 years. Interesting to think which of these from the 20th century will still be on the list in 200 years time. Also of note there are three living authors on the list: Toni Morrison, Gunter Grass, and Salman Rushdie. Both Grass and Morrison have won the Nobel prize, along with 12 other authors (Beckett, Camus, Faulkner, Garcia Marquez, Hamsun, Hemingway, Kawabata, Laxness, Lessing, Mahfouz, Mann, Saramago).

I've gone ahead and bolded the ones I've read:

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Nigeria (1930-2013)
Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales and Stories; Denmark (1805-1875)
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; England (1775-1817)
Honoré de Balzac, Old Goriot; France (1799-1850)
Samuel Beckett, Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable; Ireland (1906-1989)
Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron; Italy (1313-1375)
Gorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions; Argentina (1899-1986)
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; England (1818-1848)
Albert Camus, The Stranger; France (1913-1960)
Paul Celan, Gedichte; Romania/France (1920-1970)
Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night; France (1894-1961)
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote; Spain (1547-1616)
Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; England (1340-1400)
Joseph Conrad, Nostromo; Italy (1857-1924)
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy; Italy (1265-1321)
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; England (1812-1870)
Denis Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master; France (1713-1784)
Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz; Germany (1878-1957)
Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, The Brothers Karamazov; Russian (1821-1881)
George Eliot, Middlemarch; England (1819-1880)
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; USA (1914-1994)
Euripides, Medea; Greece (ca. 480-406 BC)
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom, The Sound and the Fury; USA (1897-1962)
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, A Sentimental Education; France (1821-1880)
Federico García Lorca, Gypsy Ballads; Spain (1898-1936)
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera; Colombia (1928-2014)
Gilgamesh; Mesopotamia (ca. 1800 BC)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust; Germany(1749-1832)
Nikolai Gogol,   Dead Souls; Russia (1809-1852)
Günter Grass, The Tin Drum; Germany (b. 1927)
João Guimarães Rosa, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands; Brazil (1880-1967)
Knut Hamsun, Hunger; Norway (1859-1952)
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea; USA (1899-1961)
Homer, The Iliad, The Odyssey; Greece (ca. 700 BC)
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House; Norway (1828-1906)
The Book of Job; Israel (600-400 BC)
James Joyce, Ulysses; Ireland (1882-1941)
Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories, The Trial, The Castle; Bohemia (1883-1924)
Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala; India (ca. 400)
Yasunari Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain; Japan (1899-1972)
Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek; Greece (1883-1957)
D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers; England (1885-1930)
Halldór K. Laxness, Independent People; Iceland (1902-1998)
Giacomo Leopardi, Complete Poems; Italy (1798-1837)
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook; England (1919-2013)
Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking; Sweden (1907-2002)
Lu Xun, Diary of a Madman and Other Stories; China (1881-1936)
Mahabharata; India (ca. 500 BC)
Naguib Mahfouz, Children of Gebelawi; Egypt (1911-2006)
Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain; Germany (1875-1955)
Herman Melville, Moby Dick; USA (1819-1891)
Michel de Montaigne, Essays; France (1533-1592)
Elsa Morante, History; Italy (1918-1985)
Toni Morrison, Beloved; USA (b.1931)
Shikibu Murasaki, The Tale of Genji; Japan
Robert Musil, The Man without Qualities; Austria (1880-1942)
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Russia/USA (1899-1977)
Njals saga, Iceland (ca. 1300)
George Orwell, 1984; England (1903-1950)
Ovid, Metamorphoses; Italy (43 BC-17 e.Kr.)
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet; Portugal (1888-1935)
Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Tales; USA (1809-1849)
Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past; France (1871-1922)
François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel; France (1495-1553)
Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo; Mexico (1918-1986)
Jalal ad-din Rumi, Mathnawi; Iran (1207-1273)
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; India/England (b. 1947)
Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, The Orchard; Iran (ca. 1200-1292)
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North; Sudan (1929-2009)
José Saramago, Blindness; Portugal (1922-2010)
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello; England (1564-1616)
Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Greece (496-406 BC)
Stendhal, The Red and the Black; France (1783-1842)
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy; Ireland (1713-1768)
Italo Svevo, Confessions of Zeno; Italy (1861-1928)
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Ireland (1667-1745)
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories; Russia (1828-1910)
Anton P. Chekhov, Selected Stories; Russia (1828-1910)
Thousand and One Nights; India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt (700-1500)
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; USA (1835-1910)
Valmiki, Ramayana; India (ca. 300 BC)
Vergil, The Aeneid; Italy (70-19 BC)
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; USA (1819-1892)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse; England (1882-1941)
Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian; France (1903-1987)

50/100 - not bad. Some are on my shelf waiting (The Golden Notebook, A Season of Migration to the North, Beloved). Some I had never heard of before (Memoirs of Hadrian, The Man Without Qualities). But I'm not one to shun lists - these too will be devoured.

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