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literature 300+ Great Books of the Western World  

Walter Graves
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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.
list ordered by

1
106 31
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Odyssey Homer

2
86 25
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Iliad Homer - Volume: 4

3
96 36
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Macbeth William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

4
90 35
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
85 32
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes

6
83 32
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy - Volume: 51

7
80 33
The Brothers Karamazov is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Volume: 52

8
76 33
The Canterbury Tales is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer - Volume: 22

9
100 54
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Animal Farm George Orwell - Volume: 60

10
60 27
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World

11
69 34
King Lear is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
King Lear William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

12
79 44
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

13
99 60
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald - Volume: 60

14
43 17
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain - Volume: 48

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

15
65 35
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Paradise Lost John Milton - Volume: 32

16
71 41
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad - Volume: 59

17
70 41
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville

18
37 15
The Republic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Republic Plato - Volume: 7

19
35 14
The Aeneid Lt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Aeneid Lt Virgil

20
41 19
Apology is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Apology Plato - Volume: 7

21
49 27
The Taming of the Shrew is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Taming of the Shrew William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

The Best Date Movies Out Now

22
50 29
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift - Volume: 36

23
52 31
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare

24
52 32
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka - Volume: 60

25
27 11
Electra is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Electra Sophocles - Volume: 5

26
48 29
The Merchant of Venice is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

27
46 28
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Julius Caesar William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

28
43 26
Faust is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Volume: 47

20 Books to Read in Your 20s

29
37 21
Twelfth Night, or What You Wil... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Twelfth Night, or What You Will William Shakespeare

30
46 29
Emma is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Emma Jane Austen - Volume: 46

31
40 24
The Tempest is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Tempest William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

32
33 18
Metaphysics is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Metaphysics Aristotle - Volume: 8

33
29 15
The History of the Peloponnesi... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides - Volume: 6

34
27 14
Ajax is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Ajax Sophocles - Volume: 5

35
23 11
Nicomachean Ethics is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle - Volume: 9

The Best Female Characters in Literature

36
29 17
Medea is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Medea Euripides - Volume: 5

37
31 19
Much Ado About Nothing is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

38
23 13
Cyclops is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Cyclops Euripides - Volume: 5

39
26 16
Laws is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Laws Plato - Volume: 7

40
41 30
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Henry V William Shakespeare

41
42 31
A Portrait of the Artist as a ... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce - Volume: 59

42
49 38
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

The 10 Most Bizarre Sex Ed Videos

43
33 23
Uncle Vanya is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov - Volume: 59

44
22 13
The Trojan Women is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Trojan Women Euripides - Volume: 5

45
23 14
Orestes is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Orestes Euripides - Volume: 5

46
33 24
As You Like It is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
As You Like It William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

47
34 25
To the Lighthouse is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf - Volume: 60

48
17 9
Alcestis is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Alcestis Euripides - Volume: 5

49
18 10
Herakles' Children is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Herakles' Children Euripides - Volume: 5

50
19 11
Helen is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Helen Euripides - Volume: 5