Great Books of the Western World Books
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Great Books of the Western World

List Criteria: Books written by authors from the Western Hemisphere

Compiled by Encyclopedia Britannica, this is a list of the great books of the western world. It is our western canon gathered into a single package of 60 volumes. Initially compiled in the 50's, the Great Books of the Western World was updated in the 90's with a second edition. While the first three volumes of the compendium feature a dissertation on liberal education, Volume 4 and beyond contain various books that we have listed here. Both fiction and non-fiction have been included, as well as all genres. Encyclopedia Britannica did a fantastic job putting together this list of Great Books of the Western World. If you're looking for a great, timeless book, then this is the place to start.

Be sure to check out Ranker's other lists like the Best Opening Lines in Fiction.

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  1. 1
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    Leo Tolstoy Volume: 51

    ; buy @ amazon
  2. 2
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    Dante Alighieri Volume: 21

    ; buy @ amazon
  3. 3
    + 33
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    William Shakespeare Volume: 27

    ; buy @ amazon
  4. 4
    + 42
    - 10


    Herman Melville

    ; buy @ amazon
  5. 5
    + 37
    - 7


    William Shakespeare Volume: 27

    ; buy @ amazon
  6. 6
    + 38
    - 8


    Miguel de Cervantes

    ; buy @ amazon
  7. 7
    + 36
    - 7


    Fyodor Dostoyevsky Volume: 52

    ; buy @ amazon
  8. 8
    + 54
    - 21


    F. Scott Fitzgerald Volume: 60

    ; buy @ amazon
  9. 9
    + 40
    - 11


    Joseph Conrad Volume: 59

    ; buy @ amazon
  10. 10
    + 33
    - 7


    Geoffrey Chaucer Volume: 22

    ; buy @ amazon
  11. 11
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    - 5


    Homer

    ; buy @ amazon
  12. 12
    + 30
    - 5


    Harold Bloom Volume: 4

    ; buy @ amazon
  13. 13
    + 34
    - 8


    John Milton Volume: 32

    ; buy @ amazon
  14. 14
    + 38
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    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  15. 15
    + 52
    - 23


    George Orwell Volume: 60

    ; buy @ amazon
  16. 16
    + 31
    - 8
    ; buy @ amazon
  17. 17
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    - 9


    Samuel Beckett Volume: 60

    ; buy @ amazon
  18. 18
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    William Shakespeare

    ; buy @ amazon
  19. 19
    + 27
    - 7


    T. S. Eliot Volume: 60

    ; buy @ amazon
  20. 20
    + 28
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    Jane Austen Volume: 46

    ; buy @ amazon
  21. 21
    + 28
    - 9


    William Shakespeare

    ; buy @ amazon
  22. 22
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    - 5


    William Shakespeare Volume: 27

    ; buy @ amazon
  23. 23
    + 28
    - 10


    Niccolò Machiavelli Volume: 23

    ; buy @ amazon
  24. 24
    + 7
    - 0


    Mark Twain Volume: 48

    ; buy @ amazon
  25. 25
    + 24
    - 7


    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Volume: 47

    ; buy @ amazon
  26. 26
    + 20
    - 4


    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  27. 27
    + 27
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    Jonathan Swift Volume: 36

    ; buy @ amazon
  28. 28
    + 22
    - 6


    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  29. 29
    + 23
    - 8


    Virginia Woolf Volume: 60

    ; buy @ amazon
  30. 30
    + 25
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    Franz Kafka Volume: 60

    ; buy @ amazon
  31. 31
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    Anton Chekhov Volume: 59

    ; buy @ amazon
  32. 32
    + 19
    - 5
    ; buy @ amazon
  33. 33
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    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  34. 34
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    - 8


    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  35. 35
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    - 4


    Euclid Volume: 11

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  36. 36
    + 16
    - 4


    Giorgio Colli, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mazzino Montinari Volume: 43

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  37. 37
    + 17
    - 5


    Thomas Mann Volume: 59

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  38. 38
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    Aristotle Volume: 8

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  39. 39
    + 15
    - 4


    Plato Volume: 7

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  40. 40
    + 15
    - 4


    Euripides Volume: 5

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  41. 41
    + 16
    - 5


    John Stuart Mill Volume: 43

    ; buy @ amazon
  42. 42
    + 17
    - 6


    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  43. 43
    + 6
    - 0


    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
  44. 44
    + 14
    - 4


    Thomas Hobbes Volume: 23

    ; buy @ amazon
  45. 45
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    - 6


    Sigmund Freud Volume: 54

    ; buy @ amazon
  46. 46
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    - 3
    No image
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  47. 47
    + 13
    - 4


    William Shakespeare Volume: 27

    ; buy @ amazon
  48. 48
    + 14
    - 5


    William Shakespeare Volume: 27

    ; buy @ amazon
  49. 49
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    - 4


    Aeschylus Volume: 5

    ; buy @ amazon
  50. 50
    + 13
    - 5


    William Shakespeare Volume: 26

    ; buy @ amazon
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