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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
94 19
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Odyssey Homer, Nextext

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2
76 17
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Iliad Homer - Volume: 4

3
76 24
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy - Volume: 51

4
80 27
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
74 25
The Brothers Karamazov is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Volume: 52

6
74 25
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes

7
79 29
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Macbeth William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

8
65 27
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
62 26
King Lear is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
King Lear William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

10
68 36
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

11
60 30
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Paradise Lost John Milton - Volume: 32

12
84 49
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Animal Farm George Orwell - Volume: 60

13
32 9
The Republic is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Republic Plato - Volume: 7

14
36 13
Apology is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Apology Plato - Volume: 7

15
46 21
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World

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16
89 55
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
64 37
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad - Volume: 59

18
30 10
The Aeneid Lt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Aeneid Lt Virgil

19
61 36
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville

20
27 9
The History of the Peloponnesi... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides - Volume: 6

21
47 26
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka - Volume: 60

22
31 13
Metaphysics is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Metaphysics Aristotle - Volume: 8

23
32 14
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
23 7
Electra is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Electra Sophocles - Volume: 5

25
44 25
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift - Volume: 36

26
40 22
Faust is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Volume: 47

27
24 9
Ajax is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Ajax Sophocles - Volume: 5

28
32 17
Uncle Vanya is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov - Volume: 59

29
38 23
The Taming of the Shrew is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Taming of the Shrew William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

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30
39 24
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Julius Caesar William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

31
40 25
Emma is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Emma Jane Austen - Volume: 46

32
40 25
The Merchant of Venice is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

33
24 11
Laws is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Laws Plato - Volume: 7

34
34 20
The Tempest is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Tempest William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

35
26 13
Medea is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Medea Euripides - Volume: 5

36
19 7
Nicomachean Ethics is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle - Volume: 9

37
20 8
Cyclops is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Cyclops Euripides - Volume: 5

38
20 8
The Trojan Women is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Trojan Women Euripides - Volume: 5

39
21 9
Orestes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Orestes Euripides - Volume: 5

40
21 9
Phaedo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Phaedo Plato - Volume: 7

41
42 28
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare

42
45 31
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
39 26
A Portrait of the Artist as a ... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce - Volume: 59

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44
30 18
Twelfth Night, or What You Wil... is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Twelfth Night, or What You Will William Shakespeare

45
19 8
The Phoenician Women is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Phoenician Women Euripides - Volume: 5

46
23 12
Oresteia is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Oresteia Aeschylus - Volume: 5

47
23 12
The Persians is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Persians Aeschylus - Volume: 5

48
24 13
Poetics is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Poetics Aristotle - Volume: 9

49
37 25
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Henry V William Shakespeare

50
19 9
The Clouds is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Clouds Aristophanes - Volume: 5