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The 88 Greatest Works of Eastern European Literature

This selection of literature from Eastern Europe is based on the continuing research carried out for The Greatest Literature of All Time list and is additionally informed by the views of local readers, writers, critics and scholars.

It encompasses the greatest works of Eastern European authors in all forms, genres, cultures and periods.

Countries represented in this grouping include Albania, Austria, Belerus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine, as well as their historical predecessors.

Note, Russia, which straddles parts of Europe and Asia, is not included here as it has its own greatest literature list.

The Greatest Eastern European Literature list focuses on major creative—mainly fictional—works, although some shorter or nonfiction writing of literary or historical significance may also be considered.

Latest update: April 7, 2024

1501
Judita
Marko Marulić
Croatia, poem
1779
Fables and Parables
Ignacy Krasicki
Poland, poetry collection
1832
Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine, story collection
1834
Master Thaddeus
Adam Mickiewicz
Poland, poem
1835
Taras Bulba
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine, novella
1836
The Government Inspector
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine, play
 
The Nose
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine, story
 
Máj
Karel Hynek Mácha
Bohemia, poem
1842
Dead Souls
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine, novel
 
The Overcoat
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine, story
1853–1862
Kalev's Son
Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald
Estonia, poem
1884
With Fire and Sword
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Poland, novel
1887
Ballad for Georg Henig
Viktor Paskov
Bulgaria, novel
1888
Under the Yoke
Ivan Vazov
Bulgaria, novel
1890
The Doll
Bolesław Prus
Poland, novel
1894
Tevye Stories
Sholom Aleichem
Ukraine, story collection
 
The New Woman
Bolesław Prus
Poland, novel
1895–1896
Quo Vadis
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Poland, novel
1897
Pharoah
Bolesław Prus
Poland, novel
1899
Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
Geza Gardonyi
Hungary, novel
1901
The Wedding
Stanislaw Wyspianski
Poland, play
1904–1909
The Peasants
Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont
Poland, novel
1913
The Judgment
Franz Kafka
Bohemia, story
1916
The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka
Bohemia, novella
1919
In the Penal Colony
Franz Kafka
Bohemia, story
1920
R.U.R.
Karel Čapek
Czechoslovakia, play
1920–1923
The Good Soldier Schweik
Jaroslav Hašek
Czechoslovakia, novel
1925
The Trial
Franz Kafka
Bohemia, novel
1926
The Castle
Franz Kafka
Bohemia, novel
1927
Amerika
Franz Kafka
Bohemia, novel
1928
The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch
Ladislav Klima
Bohemia, novel
1930
Insatiability
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
Poland, novel
1931
Marketa Lazarová
Vladislav Vančura
Czechoslovakia, novel
1934
They Were Counted
Miklós Bánffy
Hungary, novel
 
The Street of Crocodiles
Bruno Schulz
Poland, novel
 
How the Steel Was Tempered
Nikolai Ostrovsky
Ukraine, novel
1936
War with the Newts
Witold Gombrowicz
Poland, novel
1937
Ferdydurke
Karel Čapek
Czechoslovakia, novel
1938
Alamut
Vladimir Bartol
Slovenia, novel
1942
Embers
Sandor Márai
Hungary, novel
1946
The Bridge on the Drina
Ivo Andrić
Yugoslavia, novel
1848
Ashes and Diamonds
Jerzy Andrzejewski
Poland, novel
 
This Way for the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen
Tadeusz Borowski
Poland, story collection
1961
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem
Poland, novel
1963
The Garden Party
Václav Havel
Czechoslovakia, play
 
The General of the Dead Army
Ismail Kadare
Albania, novel
1964
Time of Parting
Anton Donchev
Bulgaria, novel
1966
Death and the Dervish
Meša Selimović
Yugoslavia, novel
1968
The Cathedral
Oles Honchar
Ukraine, novel
1969
The Case Worker
Gyorgy Konrad
Hungary, novel
1971
The Futurological Congress
Stanislaw Lem
Poland, novel
1973
The Winter of Great Solitude
Ismail Kadare
Albania, novel
1974
The Port
Antun Soljan
Croatia, novel
1975
Fatelesst
Imre Kertész
Hungary, novel
1978
The Czar's Madman
Jaan Kross
Estonia, novel
1979
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Milan Kundera
Czechoslovakia, novel
1980
Life and Fate
Vasily Grossman
Ukraine, novel
1981
The Palace of Dreams
Ismail Kadare
Albania, novel
1983
I Served the King of England
Bohumil Hrabal
Czechia, novel
 
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Milan Kundera
Czechoslovakia, novel
 
Dictionary of the Khazars
Milorad Pavić
Serbia, novel
 
The Engineer of Human Souls
Josef Skvorecky
Czechoslovakia, novel
1985
Helping Verbs of the Heart
Péter Esterházy
Hungary, novel
 
Satanango
László Krasznahorkai
Hungary, novel
1986–1991
The Notebook Trilogy
Ágota Kristof
Hungary, novel
Includes The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie
1989
The Melancholy of Resistance
László Krasznahorkai
Hungary, novel
1990
Judge on Trial
Ivan Klima
Czechoslovakia, novel
1990–2013
The Witcher Saga
Andrzej Sapkowski
Poland, Novels and stories
Includes The Witcher, Sword of Destiny, The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt and others
1991
Rivers of Babylon
Peter Pišťanek
Czechoslovakia, novel
1996
View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems
Wisława Szymborska
Poland, poetry collection
1996–2007
Binding
Mircea Cărtărescu
Roma nia, novel
1997
Closely Watched Trains
Bohumil Hrabal
Czechia, novella
 
Miracle Workers
Slavko Janevski
Macedonia, novel
1999
Natural Novel
Georgi Gospodinov
Bulgaria, novel
1999–
Inspector Mock series
Marek Krajewski
Bulgaria, novel series
2000
Celestial Haramonies
Péter Esterházy
Hungary, prose and poetry collection
 
Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan
Paul Celan
Romania, prose and poetry collection
 
Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
Ismail Kadare
Albania, novel
2004
New and Collected Poems
ed. Czesław Miłosz
Poland, poetry collection
2005
The White King
György Dragomán
Hungary, novel
2007
Selected Poems
Zbigniew Herbert
Poland, poetry collection
 
Flights
Olga Tokarczuk
Poland, novel
2008
The Lazurus Project
Aleksander Hemon
Bosnia, novel
2009
Klotsvog
Margarita Khemlin
Ukraine, novel
 
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
Olga Tokarczuk
Poland, novel
2010
Voroshylovhrad
Serhiy Zhadan
Ukraine, novel
2012
The Physics of Sorrow
Georgi Gospodinov
Bulgaria, novel
2014
The Books of Jacob
Olga Tokarczuk
Poland, novel

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