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4/2/2017 BBCCultureThe100greatestBritishnovels

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The 100 greatest British novels

BBC Culture polled book critics outside the UK, to give an


outsiders perspective on the best in British literature.

ByJaneCiabattari
7December2015

WhatdoestherestoftheworldseeasthegreatestBritishnovels?Insearchofa
collectivecriticalassessment,BBCCulturecontributorJaneCiabattaripolled82
bookcritics,fromAustraliatoZimbabwebutnonefromtheUK.Thislistincludes
nononfiction,noplays,nonarrativeorepicpoems(noParadiseLostorBeowulf),no
shortstorycollections(noMorteDArthur)novelsonly,byBritishauthors(which
meansnoJamesJoyce).

TheBritishnovelhasinfluencedtheformaroundtheworldforcenturies,sowefeltit
wasimportanttogetaglobalperspective.Thecriticswepolledliveandworkallover
theworld,fromtheUnitedStatesandcontinentalEuropetoAustralia,Africa,Asia,

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IndiaandtheMiddleEast.Someofthecriticsweinvitedtoparticipateareregular
bookreviewersoreditorsatnewspapers,magazinesorliteraryblogsLev
Grossman(Time),MaryAnnGwinn(SeattleTimes),AinehiEdoro(BrittlePaper),
MarkMedley(TorontoGlobeandMail),FintanOToole(TheIrishTimes),Stephen
RomeiandGeordieWilliamson(TheAustralian),SamSacks(TheWallStreet
Journal)andClaiborneSmith(KirkusReviews).Othersareliteraryscholars,
includingTerryCastle,MorrisDickstein,MichaelGorra,CarstenJensen,Amitava
Kumar,RohanMaitzen,GeoffreyOBrien,NilanjanaRoyandBenjaminTaylor.Each
whoparticipatedsubmittedalistof10Britishnovels,withtheirpickforthegreatest
novelreceiving10points.Thepointswereaddeduptoproducethefinallist.

Thecriticsnamed228novelsinall.Thesearethetop100.

100.TheCodeoftheWoosters(PGWodehouse,1938)
99.Therebutforthe(AliSmith,2011)
98.UndertheVolcano(MalcolmLowry,1947)
97.TheChroniclesofNarnia(CSLewis,19491954)
96.MemoirsofaSurvivor(DorisLessing,1974)
95.TheBuddhaofSuburbia(HanifKureishi,1990)
94.ThePrivateMemoirsandConfessionsofaJustifiedSinner(JamesHogg,1824)
93.LordoftheFlies(WilliamGolding,1954)
92.ColdComfortFarm(StellaGibbons,1932)
91.TheForsyteSaga(JohnGalsworthy,1922)
90.TheWomaninWhite(WilkieCollins,1859)
89.TheHorsesMouth(JoyceCary,1944)
88.TheDeathoftheHeart(ElizabethBowen,1938)
87.TheOldWivesTale(ArnoldBennett,1908)
86.ALegacy(SybilleBedford,1956)
85.RegenerationTrilogy(PatBarker,19911995)
84.Scoop(EvelynWaugh,1938)
83.BarchesterTowers(AnthonyTrollope,1857)
82.ThePatrickMelroseNovels(EdwardStAubyn,19922012)
81.TheJewelintheCrown(PaulScott,1966)
80.ExcellentWomen(BarbaraPym,1952)
79.HisDarkMaterials(PhilipPullman,19952000)

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78.AHouseforMrBiswas(VSNaipaul,1961)
77.OfHumanBondage(WSomersetMaugham,1915)
76.SmallIsland(AndreaLevy,2004)
75.WomeninLove(DHLawrence,1920)
74.TheMayorofCasterbridge(ThomasHardy,1886)
73.TheBlueFlower(PenelopeFitzgerald,1995)
72.TheHeartoftheMatter(GrahamGreene,1948)
71.OldFilth(JaneGardam,2004)
70.DanielDeronda(GeorgeEliot,1876)
69.Nostromo(JosephConrad,1904)
68.AClockworkOrange(AnthonyBurgess,1962)
67.Crash(JGBallard1973)
66.SenseandSensibility(JaneAusten,1811)
65.Orlando(VirginiaWoolf,1928)
64.TheWayWeLiveNow(AnthonyTrollope,1875)
63.ThePrimeofMissJeanBrodie(MurielSpark,1961)
62.AnimalFarm(GeorgeOrwell,1945)
61.TheSea,TheSea(IrisMurdoch,1978)
60.SonsandLovers(DHLawrence,1913)
59.TheLineofBeauty(AlanHollinghurst,2004)
58.Loving(HenryGreen,1945)
57.ParadesEnd(FordMadoxFord,19241928)
56.OrangesAreNottheOnlyFruit(JeanetteWinterson,1985)
55.GulliversTravels(JonathanSwift,1726)
54.NW(ZadieSmith,2012)
53.WideSargassoSea(JeanRhys,1966)
52.NewGrubStreet(GeorgeGissing,1891)
51.TessofthedUrbervilles(ThomasHardy,1891)
50.APassagetoIndia(EMForster,1924)
49.Possession(ASByatt,1990)
48.LuckyJim(KingsleyAmis,1954)
47.TheLifeandOpinionsofTristramShandy,Gentleman(LaurenceSterne,1759)
46.MidnightsChildren(SalmanRushdie,1981)
45.TheLittleStranger(SarahWaters,2009)
44.WolfHall(HilaryMantel,2009)

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43.TheSwimmingPoolLibrary(AlanHollinghurst,1988)
42.BrightonRock(GrahamGreene,1938)
41.DombeyandSon(CharlesDickens,1848)
40.AlicesAdventuresinWonderland(LewisCarroll,1865)
39.TheSenseofanEnding(JulianBarnes,2011)
38.ThePassion(JeanetteWinterson,1987)
37.DeclineandFall(EvelynWaugh,1928)
36.ADancetotheMusicofTime(AnthonyPowell,19511975)
35.Remainder(TomMcCarthy,2005)
34.NeverLetMeGo(KazuoIshiguro,2005)
33.TheWindintheWillows(KennethGrahame,1908)
32.ARoomwithaView(EMForster,1908)
31.TheEndoftheAffair(GrahamGreene,1951)
30.MollFlanders(DanielDefoe,1722)
29.BrickLane(MonicaAli,2003)
28.Villette(CharlotteBront,1853)
27.RobinsonCrusoe(DanielDefoe,1719)
26.TheLordoftheRings(JRRTolkien,1954)
25.WhiteTeeth(ZadieSmith,2000)
24.TheGoldenNotebook(DorisLessing,1962)
23.JudetheObscure(ThomasHardy,1895)
22.TheHistoryofTomJones,aFoundling(HenryFielding,1749)
21.HeartofDarkness(JosephConrad,1899)
20.Persuasion(JaneAusten,1817)
19.Emma(JaneAusten,1815)
18.RemainsoftheDay(KazuoIshiguro,1989)
17.HowardsEnd(EMForster,1910)
16.TheWaves(VirginiaWoolf,1931)
15.Atonement(IanMcEwan,2001)
14.Clarissa(SamuelRichardson,1748)
13.TheGoodSoldier(FordMadoxFord,1915)
12.NineteenEightyFour(GeorgeOrwell,1949)
11.PrideandPrejudice(JaneAusten,1813)
10.VanityFair(WilliamMakepeaceThackeray,1848)
9.Frankenstein(MaryShelley,1818)

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8.DavidCopperfield(CharlesDickens,1850)
7.WutheringHeights(EmilyBront,1847)
6.BleakHouse(CharlesDickens,1853)
5.JaneEyre(CharlotteBront,1847)
4.GreatExpectations(CharlesDickens,1861)
3.Mrs.Dalloway(VirginiaWoolf,1925)
2.TotheLighthouse(VirginiaWoolf,1927)
1.Middlemarch(GeorgeEliot,1874)

MoreonBBCCulturesgreatestBritishnovelspoll:
Bestofthebest:Thetop25explained
WhyMiddlemarchisnumberone
Whywomenrulethelist
WhatmakesagreatBritishnovel?

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