The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time by Daniel S. Burt, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time

The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time

by Daniel S. Burt
     
 

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Millions of us ravenously devour novels every year. It’s not surprising that we also wrestle with them, judge them, press them on our friends (often demanding them back), and quietly “misplace” the ones we can’t warm up to. The unspoken word here is “ranking.” Whenever we say “Pride and Prejudice is a better book

Overview

Millions of us ravenously devour novels every year. It’s not surprising that we also wrestle with them, judge them, press them on our friends (often demanding them back), and quietly “misplace” the ones we can’t warm up to. The unspoken word here is “ranking.” Whenever we say “Pride and Prejudice is a better book than Sense and Sensibility”or Jane Eyre or Moby-Dick, we are evaluating and, in some way, ranking these old familiars. So what are the hundred best novels, anyway. And which comes first? eighth? ninety-eighth? It’s anybody’s right to say; no such list can be purely objective.

After teaching literature for more than twenty years, Daniel S. Burt has an informed view of his own, and he puts it forward in The Novel 100. He identifies a great novel as one that has defined or modified the genre and remained influential over time. Each entry provides a plot summary and assessment of the novel, as well as details about its creation, historical context, critical reception, and contribution to literary history. Because there are more candidates for inclusion than there are spots, he concludes the book with “A Second Hundred (Honorable Mentions)” list.

Of course, the open secret is that The Novel 100 isn’t really about pigeonholes. Nor is it an invitation to a fistfight. Its purpose is to start readers off on a lifetime friendship with great books. And what are a few small differences of opinion between friends?

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Next to reading fiction, fiction lovers love to rank fiction and debate the relative merits of their favorite works. Thus the popularity of "best books" reference works. One of the latest, but not the least, is The Novel 100. Burt, who has taught university courses in the novel for over 20 years, has authored several other works of literary rankings, such as What Historical Novel Do I Read Next? and The Literary 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, and Poets of All Time. He identifies a great novel as one that has defined or modified the genre and remained influential over time. All but ten of Burt's top 100 were written in the 19th or 20th centuries, and aside from one representative each from Japanese, Chinese, African, and Arabic literature, all are products of Western civilization (e.g., Cervantes's Don Quixote, Joyce's Ulysses, Camus's The Stranger, and Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms). The chosen titles fit squarely within the academic literary canon, which has grown to encompass writers of varying gender, race, and ethnicity. Entries for each title average about three pages and provide a concise, scholarly, and thought-provoking analysis that puts the work in its historical context and distills its significance for the genre. A plot synopsis is included, but students looking for a simple Cliff Notes-style abstract will be disappointed. Fiction lovers, on the other hand, will be delighted. Chafing under the limitation of a mere 100 titles, Burt concludes his work with "A Second Hundred (Honorable Mentions)" list. His stated goal is to provoke debate over literary values and encourage a deep reading of literature, and he certainly succeeds. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Nadie Cohen-Baker, Univ. of Georgia, Athens Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780760794029
Publisher:
Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
08/20/2007
Pages:
624
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Daniel S. Burt has taught at New York University and Wesleyan University. His books include What Historical Novel Do I Read Next? and The Literary 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, and Poets of All Time.

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