The Greatest "Adultery, Tragedy" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Genres

Adultery

The "Adultery" category in literature encompasses works that delve into the complex and often morally fraught subject of infidelity within relationships, particularly marriage. Books within this genre explore the emotional, psychological, and social ramifications of extramarital affairs, examining themes such as betrayal, guilt, passion, and the search for personal fulfillment. The narratives often provide insight into the characters' inner lives and the circumstances that lead to their decisions to engage in adultery, as well as the consequences that unfold for all parties involved. This genre can span various styles, from dramatic and tragic to introspective and even comedic, offering readers a multifaceted look at one of society's enduring taboos.

Tragedy

Tragedy is a genre of literature that explores the darker aspects of human nature and the human experience. It typically involves a protagonist who is faced with a series of challenges and obstacles that ultimately lead to their downfall or demise. Tragic stories often deal with themes of loss, grief, and the struggle to find meaning in a world that can be cruel and unforgiving. Despite their often bleak subject matter, tragic stories can be deeply moving and thought-provoking, offering readers a powerful glimpse into the complexities of the human condition.

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  1. 1. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

    Madame Bovary is a tragic novel about a young woman, Emma Bovary, who is married to a dull, but kind-hearted doctor. Dissatisfied with her life, she embarks on a series of extramarital affairs and indulges in a luxurious lifestyle in an attempt to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Her desire for passion and excitement leads her down a path of financial ruin and despair, ultimately resulting in a tragic end.

    The 19th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, this novel tells the story of a woman who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. She is forced to wear a scarlet "A" on her dress as a sign of her adultery while her lover, a revered local minister, remains unnamed and unpunished. Throughout the book, themes of sin, legalism, and guilt are explored.

    The 58th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

    This novel tells the story of Jude Fawley, a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The traditional class structure in 19th-century England prevents him from realizing his dream and his only solace is his love for his cousin, Sue Bridehead. Their scandalous relationship and the tragic events that follow form the heart of the narrative, which explores themes of love, class, religion, and morality.

    The 231st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

    This classic novel is set in the rustic rural backdrop of Egdon Heath and revolves around the life of Clym Yeobright, a successful diamond merchant who returns to his native land from Paris. His return sparks a chain of events involving love, ambition, betrayal, and tragedy. His love interest, Eustacia Vye, dreams of escaping the monotonous rural life, while his mother disapproves of their relationship. The novel explores the themes of love, fate, chance, and the clash between individuals' aspirations and societal expectations.

    The 386th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

    Set in the 1930s, this novel explores the disintegration of the marriage of an upper-class English couple, Tony and Brenda Last. Brenda embarks on an affair with a social climber, John Beaver, leading to the demise of her marriage. After their son's tragic death, Brenda demands a divorce and a large portion of Tony's estate. Tony, heartbroken, embarks on an ill-fated expedition to the Brazilian jungle. The novel critically examines the moral decay of British aristocracy and society.

    The 529th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola

    "Thérèse Raquin" is a novel about a young woman who is unhappily married to her cousin, a sickly and selfish man. She embarks on a passionate and destructive affair with one of her husband's friends, leading to a series of tragic events. The novel explores themes of lust, guilt, and the psychological consequences of such immoral actions, set against the bleak backdrop of the Parisian underworld.

    The 684th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Silk by Alessandro Baricco

    "Silk" is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a 19th-century French silkworm merchant who travels to Japan for business. During his travels, he becomes enamored with a mysterious woman. His unrequited love for her haunts him for the rest of his life, even as he returns to France and continues his life there. The novel explores themes of love, longing, and the profound impact that brief encounters can have on one's life.

    The 1880th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download