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books 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
76 18
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Odyssey Homer

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2
64 15
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Iliad Homer - Volume: 4

3
71 24
The Divine Comedy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri - Volume: 21

4
67 22
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy - Volume: 51

5
70 24
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Macbeth William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

6
65 21
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
62 23
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes

8
55 22
King Lear is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
King Lear William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

9
62 30
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
79 43
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Animal Farm George Orwell - Volume: 60

11
55 26
The Canterbury Tales is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer - Volume: 22

12
53 25
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Paradise Lost John Milton - Volume: 32

13
31 10
Apology is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Apology Plato - Volume: 7

14
26 7
The Republic is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Republic Plato - Volume: 7

15
58 33
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad - Volume: 59

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16
80 51
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald - Volume: 60

17
38 17
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World

18
55 32
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
30 13
Uncle Vanya is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov - Volume: 59

20
36 19
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Julius Caesar William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

21
37 20
The Merchant of Venice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

22
39 22
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
25 10
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain - Volume: 48

24
36 20
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Henry V William Shakespeare

25
22 8
The History of the Peloponnesi... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides - Volume: 6

26
23 9
The Aeneid Lt is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Aeneid Lt Virgil

27
40 24
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka - Volume: 60

28
18 5
Electra is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Electra Sophocles - Volume: 5

29
35 20
Faust is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Volume: 47

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30
36 21
Emma is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Emma Jane Austen - Volume: 46

31
22 9
Oresteia is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Oresteia Aeschylus - Volume: 5

32
42 27
Waiting for Godot is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett - Volume: 60

33
16 4
Nicomachean Ethics is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle - Volume: 9

34
18 6
The Trojan Women is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Trojan Women Euripides - Volume: 5

35
18 6
The Clouds is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Clouds Aristophanes - Volume: 5

36
19 7
Orestes is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Orestes Euripides - Volume: 5

37
19 7
The Wasps is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Wasps Aristophanes - Volume: 5

38
19 7
Hecuba is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Hecuba Euripides - Volume: 5

39
19 7
Ajax is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Ajax Sophocles - Volume: 5

40
39 25
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare

41
33 20
The Taming of the Shrew is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Taming of the Shrew William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

42
23 11
Metaphysics is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Metaphysics Aristotle - Volume: 8

43
23 11
Medea is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Medea Euripides - Volume: 5

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44
14 3
Alcestis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Alcestis Euripides - Volume: 5

45
15 4
Herakles' Children is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Herakles' Children Euripides - Volume: 5

46
16 5
Philoctetes is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Philoctetes Sophocles - Volume: 5

47
17 6
The Frogs is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Frogs Aristophanes - Volume: 5

48
17 6
Hippolytus is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Hippolytus Euripides - Volume: 5

49
17 6
The Phoenician Women is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Phoenician Women Euripides - Volume: 5

50
18 7
The Bacchae is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Bacchae Euripides - Volume: 5