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The Greatest Experimental Literature

Updated October 13, 2018 2.4k votes 249 voters 6.7k views47 items

List RulesWorks of innovative fiction and poetry

This is a list about the greatest experimental literature; it answers the question, “What are the top experimental novels of all time?” Experimental literature is usually fiction or poetry that emphasizes innovations, especially in technique. The easiest way to understand it is by comparing traditional artwork: an artist is typically trained to follow a certain set of rules, such as color blending, staying within certain lines and using proper balance within details. Traditional literary works of art usually follow similar guidelines that pertain to their use of structure. Within the world of art, impressionistic pieces and abstract artwork defied the most common rules of painting, causing them to stand out in unusual ways. It was the same within the literary arena; authors such as Earnest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein defied these basic styles on purpose to see what people’s responses would be. Such works of art are referred to as “experimental” since the outcome is undetermined at the time. Perhaps the most famous experimental story is “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. This experimental book defied common rules of language and grammar by the author’s liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality. The novel was a tremendous success, selling more than 65 million copies worldwide.