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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.

1
112 35
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Odyssey Homer

2
91 26
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Iliad Homer - Volume: 4

3
98 36
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Macbeth William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

4
92 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
86 32
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes

6
84 33
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
83 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
79 35
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
104 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
62 27
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World

11
70 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
80 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
44 17
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain - Volume: 48

14
66 35
Paradise Lost is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Paradise Lost John Milton - Volume: 32

15
101 62
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald - Volume: 60

16
39 15
The Republic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Republic Plato - Volume: 7

17
44 19
Apology is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Apology Plato - Volume: 7

18
72 41
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad - Volume: 59

19
37 14
The Aeneid Lt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Aeneid Lt Virgil

20
71 41
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville

21
50 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

22
51 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
53 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
53 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
49 29
The Merchant of Venice is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

26
47 28
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Julius Caesar William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

27
44 26
Faust is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Faust Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Volume: 47

28
38 21
Twelfth Night, or What You Wil... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Twelfth Night, or What You Will William Shakespeare

29
47 29
Emma is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Emma Jane Austen - Volume: 46

30
41 24
The Tempest is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Tempest William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

31
34 18
Metaphysics is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Metaphysics Aristotle - Volume: 8

32
27 12
Electra is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Electra Sophocles - Volume: 5

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
32 19
Much Ado About Nothing is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

36
24 12
Nicomachean Ethics is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle - Volume: 9

37
29 17
Medea is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Medea Euripides - Volume: 5

38
42 30
Henry V is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Henry V William Shakespeare

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

40
26 16
Laws is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Laws Plato - Volume: 7

41
22 13
The Trojan Women is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
The Trojan Women Euripides - Volume: 5

42
23 14
Orestes is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Orestes Euripides - Volume: 5

43
49 39
Waiting for Godot is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett - Volume: 60

44
32 23
On Liberty is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
On Liberty John Stuart Mill - Volume: 43

45
33 24
As You Like It is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
As You Like It William Shakespeare - Volume: 26

46
33 24
Uncle Vanya is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov - Volume: 59

47
19 11
Philoctetes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Philoctetes Sophocles - Volume: 5

48
22 14
Hecuba is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Hecuba Euripides - Volume: 5

49
22 14
Othello is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Othello William Shakespeare - Volume: 27

50
23 15
Cyclops is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list 300+ Great Books of the Western World
Cyclops Euripides - Volume: 5