The Best Classics by The Times

The Times selection of the 100 best classic works of literature.

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

    Narrated by the gigantic but docile half-Indian "Chief" Bromden, who has pretended to be a deaf-mute for several years, the story focuses on the antics of the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, a ...

  2. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Xun Lu

    Xun (or Hsun) is the master (inventor?) of the modern Chinese short story. Some of his stories were translated into American English in 1941, but more recent translations have been into a British E...

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  3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

    In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Bertha is the madwoman locked in the attic by her husband Rochester, the simmering Englishman whose children Jane has been hired to tutor. In Bronte's novel we lear...

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  4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    It is a murder story, told from a murder;s point of view, that implicates even the most innocent reader in its enormities. It is a cat-and-mouse game between a tormented young killer and a cheerful...

  5. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Notes from Underground is a study of a single character, and a revelation of Dostoyevsky's own deepest beliefs. In this work we follow the unnamed narrator of the story, who, disillusioned by the o...

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  6. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

    Bataille’s first novel, published under the pseudonym ‘Lord Auch’, is still his most notorious work. In this explicit pornographic fantasy, the young male narrator and his lovers Simone and Marcell...

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  7. A Spy In The House Of Love by Anais Nin

    Beautiful, bored and bourgeoise, Sabina leads a double life inspired by her relentless desire for brief encounters with near-strangers. Fired into faithlessness by a desperate longing for sexual fu...

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  8. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

    Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence's last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped i...

  9. Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch

    Dreams of speaking to Venus about love while she wears furs lead our narrator to a manuscript, Memoirs of a Suprasensual Man. This manuscript tells of a man, Severin, who is so infatuated with a wo...

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  10. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

    With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature. Translated here into modern English, these tales of a mo...

  11. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel, The Karamazov Brothers, is both a brilliantly told crime story and a passionate philosophical debate. The dissolute landowner Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is mur...

  12. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Although Conrad does not specify the name of th...

  13. Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

    British Secret Service agent James Bond, a.k.a. 007, is sent to investigate a diamond smuggling ring on a mission that takes him from Sierra Leone all the way to Las Vegas.

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  14. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

    The Master and Margarita (Russian: Ма́стер и Маргари́та) is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, woven around the premise of a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. Many critics consi...

  15. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

    In a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists, and fanatics, Mr. Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb. The tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's ironic voice is concerned no...

  16. A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

    British social comedy examines a young heroine's struggle against strait-laced Victorian attitudes as she rejects the man her family has encouraged her to marry and chooses, instead, a socially uns...

  17. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

    The narrative is non-linear, involving several flashbacks, and two primary narrators: Mr. Lockwood and Ellen "Nelly" Dean. The novel opens in 1801, with Mr. Lockwood arriving at Thrushcross Grange,...

  18. Don Juan: A Poem by Lord Byron

    Don Juan (JEW-ən; see below) is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womaniser but as someone easily seduced by women. It is...

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  19. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

    Tennessee Williams's second Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof confronts homosexuality, father and son relationships, greed, manipulation, aging, and death.

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  20. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

    One of Nancy Mitford’s most beloved novels, Love in a Cold Climate is a sparkling romantic comedy that vividly evokes the lost glamour of aristocratic life in England between the wars. Polly Hampto...

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  21. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

    The story of the abandoned waif who learns to survive through challenging encounters with distress and misfortune.

  22. Middlemarch by George Eliot

    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final i...

  23. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela

    The book that inspired the major new motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong d...

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  24. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

    Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. Based on Steinbeck's own experiences a...

  25. She by H. Rider Haggard

    The story is a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There, they encounter a primitive race of natives a...

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  26. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

    The Age of Innocence centers on an upperclass couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of a scandalous woman whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assump...

  27. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

    Quasimodo, a gentle and kind hunchback who lives a lonely, isolated life in a cathedral in Paris, rescues the beautiful Esmerelda from being hanged for a crime she did not commit.

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  28. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

    In 1895 Hardy’s final novel, the great tale of Jude the Obscure, sent shock waves of indignation rolling across Victorian England. Hardy had dared to write frankly about sexuality and to indict the...

  29. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

    Originally published in Dickens' weekly serial Master Humphrey's Clock, his heartrending tale of the virtuous orphan Little Nell captivated readers on both sides of the Atlantic. Nell lives with he...

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  30. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Spawned by a nightmare that Stevenson had, this classic tale of the dark, primordial night of the soul remains a masterpiece of the duality of good and evil within us all.

  31. Dracula by Bram Stoker

    Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula. Dracula has been attributed to many literary genres including vampire literat...

  32. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    At this challenge, Mary Shelley began work on the 'ghost story' that was to evolve into the most celebrated horror novel in literary history. Frankenstein was published the next year and become the...

  33. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    The Turn of the Screw, originally published in 1898, is a gothic ghost story novella written by Henry James. Due to its ambiguous content, it became a favourite text of academics who subscribe t...

  34. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

    No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her senti...

  35. The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story by Horace Walpole

    The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole. It is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, initiating a literary genre which would become extremely popular in the later 18th centu...

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  36. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

    The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle aged Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed and se...

  37. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

    In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothi...

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  38. Emma by Jane Austen

    Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like."[1] In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, ...

  39. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

    On the Road is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the post...

  40. The Odyssey by Homer

    The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work traditionally ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the m...

  41. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a ...

  42. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    In 1862 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy Oxford mathematician with a stammer, created a story about a little girl tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thus began the immortal adventures of Alice, perhaps th...

  43. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age". Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roar...

  44. Household Tales by Brothers Grimm

    Children's and Household Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen) is a collection of German origin fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the Brothers Grimm. The collection ...

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  45. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

    Celebrated novel traces the moral degeneration of a handsome young Londoner from an innocent fop into a cruel and reckless pursuer of pleasure and, ultimately, a murderer. As Dorian Gray sinks into...

  46. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    It tells the story of Anthony Patch (a 1920s socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoon's fortune), the relationship with his wife Gloria, his service in the army, and alcoholism. The novel provide...

  47. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

    This book describes Malcolm X's upbringing in Michigan, his maturation to adulthood in Boston and New York, his time in prison, his conversion to Islam, his ministry, his travels to Africa and to M...

  48. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

    In the years following the First World War a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of 1920s London, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and...

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  49. Against Nature by J. K. Huysmans

    Study of obsession and aesthetics in fin-de-siecle France.

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  50. The Stranger by Albert Camus

    Since it was first published in English, in 1946, Albert Camus's extraordinary first novel, The Stranger (L'Etranger), has had a profound impact on millions of American readers. Through this story ...

  51. Animal Farm by George Orwell

    Animal Farm is a dystopian novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democrat...

  52. Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels

    Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei), often referred to as The Communist Manifesto, was published on February 21, 1848, and is one of the world's most infl...

  53. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

    Les Misérables is a novel by French author Victor Hugo and is widely considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters ov...

  54. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

    When the Time Traveler courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything had changed. H.G. Wells's famous novel of one man's astonishi...

  55. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

    In a classic work of alternate history, the United States is divided up and ruled by the Axis powers after the defeat of the Allies during World War II. Reissue. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best N...

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  56. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

    The Day of the Triffids is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham. Although Wyndham had already published other novels, this was the first publi...

  57. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

    Translated by Natasha Randall Foreword by Bruce Sterling Written in 1921, We is set in the One State, where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes t...

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  58. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

    The title is taken from an old Cockney expression, "as queer as a clockwork orange" and alludes to the prevention of the main character's exercise of his free will through the use of a classical co...

  59. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

    In this renowned novel by H.G. Wells, a heavily disguised man takes up residence at a rural English inn and begins performing secret experiments, leading to intense curiosity from the locals. Event...

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  60. Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson

  61. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With 200 million copies sold, it is the most printed original English boo...

  62. Another Country by James Baldwin

    Another Country is a 1962 novel by James Baldwin. The novel tells of the bohemian lifestyle of musicians, writers and other artists living in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s. It portrayed many ...

  63. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

    On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no appar...

  64. Junky by William S. Burroughs

    Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life. In his debut novel, Junky, Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and pe...

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  65. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

    The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. The story was originally serialised in Cha...

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  66. The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Confessions is an autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In modern times, it is often published with the title The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in order to distinguish it from St. ...

  67. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

    The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of perpetuating the regime's propaganda by falsifying records and political literatur...

  68. The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

    Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III returns home to the desert only to find his beloved canyons and rivers now threatened by industrial development. Joining forces with Bronx exile and fe...

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  69. The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac

    Written over the course of three days and three nights, The Subterraneans was generated out of the same ecstatic flash of inspiration that produced another one of Kerouac's early classic, On The Ro...

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  70. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

    Il Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine public servant and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Originally called De Principatibus (About Principalities), it was origi...

  71. Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller

    Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. It was the recipient of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The play premiered on Broadw...

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  72. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

    Thus young Walter Hartright first meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelation...

  73. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

    The Big Sleep (1939) is a crime novel by Raymond Chandler, the first in his acclaimed series about hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe. The work has been adapted twice into film, once in 1946 and a...

  74. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

    Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created.

  75. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

    In The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), the best-known of his thrillers (made into a popular movie by Alfred Hitchcock), John Buchan introduces his most enduring hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claimin...

  76. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

    For daring to peer into the heart of an adulteress and enumerate its contents with profound dispassion, the author of Madame Bovary was tried for "offenses against morality and religion." What shoc...

  77. Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola

    Thérèse Raquin [teʁɛz ʁakɛ̃] is a novel (first published in 1867) and a play (first performed in 1873) by the French writer Émile Zola. The novel was originally published in serial format in the jo...

  78. Dangerous Liaison by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

    The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Vicomte...

  79. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbors she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product ...

  80. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endu...

  81. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

    I, Claudius deals sympathetically with the life of the Roman Emperor Claudius and cynically with the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44...

  82. Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court by Patrick Hamilton

    London 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a d...

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  83. Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius

    e vita Caesarum (Latin, direct translation: On the Life of the Caesars) commonly known as The Twelve Caesars, is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman ...

  84. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, it is an adventure tale known for its superb atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long...

  85. The Iliad by Homer

    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set in the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of Ilium by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and e...

  86. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, The Count of Monet Cristo recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantes, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason. The...

  87. From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

    A beautiful Soviet spy. A brand-new Spektor cipher machine. SMERSH has set an irresistible trap that threatens the entire Secret Service. Fleming's fifth 007 novel reveals a different side to Bond ...

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  88. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

    Epic in scale, War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of fi...

  89. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

    When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doo...

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  90. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith, Weedon Grossmith

    Weedon Grossmith's 1892 book presents the details of English suburban life through the anxious and accident-prone character of Charles Porter. Porter's diary chronicles his daily routine, which inc...

  91. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

    Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, ...

  92. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

    In Scoop, surreptitiously dubbed "a newspaper adventure," Waugh flays Fleet Street and the social pastimes of its war correspondants as he tells how William Boot became the star of British super-jo...

  93. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

    Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English university. Having made a bad fir...