books 300+ Great Books of the Western World  

6.6k votes 240 voters 37k views 315 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.

1
+ - 69 13
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Odyssey Homer

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most

2
+ - 57 14
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Iliad Homer - Volume: 4

3
+ - 65 20
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Macbeth William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

4
+ - 66 21
The Divine Comedy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri - Volume: 21

5
+ - 60 20
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy - Volume: 51

6
+ - 60 20
The Brothers Karamazov is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Volume: 52

7
+ - 57 21
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes

8
+ - 52 21
King Lear is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
King Lear William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

9
+ - 60 28
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

10
+ - 53 24
The Canterbury Tales is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer - Volume: 22

11
+ - 75 43
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Animal Farm George Orwell - Volume: 60

12
+ - 50 24
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Paradise Lost John Milton - Volume: 32

13
+ - 57 30
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad - Volume: 59

14
+ - 78 48
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald - Volume: 60

15
+ - 29 9
Apology is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Apology Plato - Volume: 7

20 Books to Read in Your 20s The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

16
+ - 23 6
The Republic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Republic Plato - Volume: 7

17
+ - 29 12
Uncle Vanya is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov - Volume: 59

18
+ - 51 31
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville

19
+ - 33 16
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World

20
+ - 39 23
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka - Volume: 60

21
+ - 34 19
Faust is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Volume: 47

22
+ - 34 19
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Julius Caesar William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

23
+ - 35 20
Emma is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Emma Jane Austen - Volume: 46

24
+ - 35 20
The Merchant of Venice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

25
+ - 35 20
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Henry V William Shakespeare

26
+ - 21 8
The Aeneid Lt is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Aeneid Lt Virgil

27
+ - 21 8
The History of the Peloponnesi... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides - Volume: 6

28
+ - 23 10
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain - Volume: 48

29
+ - 17 5
Electra is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Electra Sophocles - Volume: 5

The 10 Lamest Superhero Costume Designs Ever 25 Things You Should Probably Stop Blaming on Millennials

30
+ - 36 22
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift - Volume: 36

31
+ - 20 8
Laws is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Laws Plato - Volume: 7

32
+ - 33 20
The Taming of the Shrew is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Taming of the Shrew William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

33
+ - 15 4
Nicomachean Ethics is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle - Volume: 9

34
+ - 17 6
The Clouds is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Clouds Aristophanes - Volume: 5

35
+ - 17 6
The Trojan Women is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Trojan Women Euripides - Volume: 5

36
+ - 18 7
Symposium is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Symposium Plato - Volume: 7

37
+ - 18 7
Phaedo is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Phaedo Plato - Volume: 7

38
+ - 18 7
Ajax is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Ajax Sophocles - Volume: 5

39
+ - 18 7
Orestes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Orestes Euripides - Volume: 5

40
+ - 18 7
The Wasps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Wasps Aristophanes - Volume: 5

41
+ - 18 7
Hecuba is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Hecuba Euripides - Volume: 5

42
+ - 40 27
Waiting for Godot is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett - Volume: 60

43
+ - 20 9
Oresteia is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Oresteia Aeschylus - Volume: 5

The Best Marvel Costume Adaptations Ever The Best American Poets

44
+ - 22 11
Metaphysics is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Metaphysics Aristotle - Volume: 8

45
+ - 22 11
Medea is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Medea Euripides - Volume: 5

46
+ - 22 11
Gorgias is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Gorgias Plato - Volume: 7

47
+ - 37 25
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare

48
+ - 13 3
Alcestis is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Alcestis Euripides - Volume: 5

49
+ - 14 4
Meno is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Meno Plato - Volume: 7

50
+ - 14 4
Herakles' Children is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Herakles' Children Euripides - Volume: 5