Photo: Metaweb/CC-BY
Culture

300+ Great Books of the Western World 

Walter Graves
Updated January 4, 2018 10.1k votes 517 voters 47k views

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
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Homer
2
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Homer
Volume: 4
3
The Divine Comedy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Dante Alighieri
Volume: 21
4
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
Volume: 27
5
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Miguel de Cervantes
6
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
George Orwell
Volume: 60
7
The Brothers Karamazov ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Volume: 52
8
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Leo Tolstoy
Volume: 51
9
The Canterbury Tales is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Geoffrey Chaucer
Volume: 22
10
The Tragedy of Hamlet, P... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
11
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Volume: 60
12
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
Volume: 26
13
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
John Milton
Volume: 32
14
King Lear is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
Volume: 27
15
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Herman Melville
16
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Joseph Conrad
Volume: 59
17
The Republic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Plato
Volume: 7
18
A Midsummer Night's Drea... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
19
Adventures of Huckleberr... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Mark Twain
Volume: 48
20
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Franz Kafka
Volume: 60
21
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
Volume: 26
22
Apology is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Plato
Volume: 7
23
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Jonathan Swift
Volume: 36
24
The Merchant of Venice ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
Volume: 26
25
The Taming of the Shrew ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
William Shakespeare
Volume: 26