The greatest literature of all time

See Editor Eric's famous list of the 1,000 greatest literary works in the world—from 2100 BCE to 2010 CE—from Gilgamesh to...well, to whatever the latest great work is. Select the "1,000 Greatest Works" button above for the greatest-ever novels, stories, plays and other literary works—it's a long list—or select by years.

Plus, check the lists of the 650 greatest novels of time, the 160 greatest short stories ever, and the 200 greatest science fiction works. (Also, for fellow Canucks, see The Canadian List a bit further north on this page.)

On all lists, you can click links to the more than 500 commentaries on individual authors, books, translations and adaptations of great literature.

The Greatest Literature pagesAuthor Commentaries Work CommentariesGo right to the big list

LATEST COMMENTARIES

missing graphicAuthor provocateur
A case could be made for Wilkie Collins as one of the most influential writers of his era, his impact still being felt today in every kind of popular fiction. As much as, or more than, the iconic mid-Victorian figures of Dickens, Thackeray and Eliot. The argument would go something like this.... more

missing graphicBurning questions
Burning questions
It may seem that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is becoming less relevant these days, as hard-copy books are at risk of disappearing, pushed aside by digital communications. Without paper media, warnings about book-burning may seem increasingly old-fashioned. For book-burning is.... more

missing graphic Last visit to Brideshead
Why do we still read Brideshead Revisited? An account of aimless, upper-class, young men wasting their time at Oxford University in hedonistic pursuits. Until the story is swallowed by the larger theme of an intensely Catholic, intensely self-absorbed, aristocratic family.... more

missing graphic Containing the crazy
John Irving writes big books. Yes, long novels—longer than most contemporary works you find on the bestseller lists. But big in so many other ways. Big characters, big themes of the day, big and sprawling stories. And, most gloriously, he's got that knack of creating worlds.... more

See full list of Recent Commentaries

Features of note
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How the Greatest Literature of All Time list was created

How works were selected

The story of science fiction

What counts as SF?

Much of what you read in English was not written in English. Does it matter?

Finding the best translations

Much ado about Shakespeare
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Shakespeare's eyes
What was he really about?

William Shakespeare

Was it Shakespeare who wrote Shakespeare's plays?

The controversy

What he wrote—and what really happened

The histories

Not all other writers think Shakespeare's the best

What they've said

The plays are the thing:

Hamlet

Henry IV, Part 1

Julius Caesar

King Lear

Macbeth

Othello

The Merchant of
Venice

Romeo and Juliet

The Tempest

GENRES

The greatest SF works of all time
Editor Eric's list of the 200 greatest works of speculative and science fiction—the greatest SF stories and novels published on the planet.
The SF pages

missing graphicMovies for people who love great books
Guide to over 200 films, film series and television productions—from the silly to the authentic—based on the greatest works of literature reviewed on these pages.
The Movie pages

The Greatest Canadian Literature
The 150 best novels, drama and poetry from writers in the Great White North, plus commentaries on selected books and Canadian authors.
The CanLit pages

Toronto Reads
Eric's reviews of Toronto-related books, as published in the Town Crier community newspapers.
Toronto Reads pages

Recent reviews in Toronto Reads:
missing graphicmissing graphic The Hungry Ghosts
Writing Gordon Lightfoot
Giant
The Green Man
Best Girl

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Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
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Related pages:

Index
Selected Authors

Index
Selected Works

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Gilgamesh
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Romeo and Juliet
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The Odyssey
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On the Road
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Oliver Twist
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The Misanthrope and Other Plays
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My Ántonia
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