The Greatest "Upper class" 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 268 '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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Upper class

The "Upper class" category of books typically refers to stories that revolve around the lives and experiences of wealthy individuals and families. These books often explore themes of privilege, power, and social status, and may feature characters who are members of high society, aristocracy, or the elite. The stories may focus on the challenges and complexities of navigating the upper echelons of society, as well as the relationships, scandals, and intrigues that can arise within these circles. Overall, the "Upper class" category offers readers a glimpse into the rarefied world of the wealthy and influential, and the unique challenges and opportunities that come with that lifestyle.

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  1. 1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Set in the summer of 1922, the novel follows the life of a young and mysterious millionaire, his extravagant lifestyle in Long Island, and his obsessive love for a beautiful former debutante. As the story unfolds, the millionaire's dark secrets and the corrupt reality of the American dream during the Jazz Age are revealed. The narrative is a critique of the hedonistic excess and moral decay of the era, ultimately leading to tragic consequences.

  2. 2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Set in early 19th-century England, this classic novel revolves around the lives of the Bennet family, particularly the five unmarried daughters. The narrative explores themes of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage within the society of the landed gentry. It follows the romantic entanglements of Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest daughter, who is intelligent, lively, and quick-witted, and her tumultuous relationship with the proud, wealthy, and seemingly aloof Mr. Darcy. Their story unfolds as they navigate societal expectations, personal misunderstandings, and their own pride and prejudice.

  3. 3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

    Set in the 1870s, the novel revolves around Newland Archer, a young lawyer from New York's high society, who is engaged to the beautiful and conventional May Welland. His life takes a turn when he meets May's cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska, who has returned from Europe after leaving her scandalous husband. Torn between his duty and passion, Archer struggles with the constraints of the society he is a part of. The book offers a vivid portrayal of the struggle between individual desires and societal expectations in the upper-class New York society of the late 19th century.

  4. 4. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

    The novel is a nostalgic story about the narrator's involvement with the Flyte family, British aristocrats living in a grand mansion called Brideshead. The story explores themes of faith, love, and the decline of the British aristocracy, primarily through the narrator's relationships with the family's Catholic faith and his complicated friendship with the family's son and his love for the daughter. The novel is set in the backdrop of the time period between the two World Wars.

  5. 5. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

    Set in the backdrop of New York's high society during the turn of the 20th century, the novel follows the life of Lily Bart, a beautiful but impoverished woman of social standing. As she navigates the pressures and expectations of her social circle, Lily grapples with the need to secure a wealthy husband to maintain her lifestyle. However, her romantic inclinations and her desire for personal freedom come into conflict with societal norms, leading to her tragic downfall.

  6. 6. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

    "The Moonstone" is a detective novel that revolves around a large, valuable yellow diamond that was stolen from an Indian temple and is now in England. The diamond is bequeathed to a young woman on her eighteenth birthday, but is stolen that same night. The novel follows the investigation of the theft, which is complicated by a series of confusing events and false leads. The resolution involves the unraveling of a tangled web of deception, crime, and colonial guilt.

  7. 7. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

    This classic novel explores the lives of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they navigate love, heartbreak, and societal expectations in 18th-century England. The two sisters, one characterized by practicality and restraint (sense) and the other by emotional intensity and romanticism (sensibility), must negotiate their paths through a world where marriage often has more to do with wealth and social status than with love. The story is a sharp critique of the limitations placed on women in a rigidly patriarchal society.

  8. 8. The Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse

    In this comedic British novel, a wealthy and idle young man and his valet navigate a series of mishaps and misunderstandings involving a cow-creamer, an antique book, a policeman's helmet, and a pair of star-crossed lovers. Throughout the story, the young man's valet employs his intelligence and cunning to rescue his employer from various predicaments, often involving troublesome relatives and romantic entanglements. The story is a classic example of 20th-century humor and satire, filled with witty dialogue and absurd situations.

  9. 9. The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

    The book follows the ambitious and cunning Undine Spragg, a beautiful Midwestern girl who marries her way into New York high society. Undine's insatiable desire for wealth, status, and comfort leads her through a series of marriages and divorces, each time climbing higher on the social ladder. However, her ruthless pursuit of success and disregard for social norms ultimately leave her feeling empty and dissatisfied. The novel offers a critique of American society and its values during the early 20th century.

  10. 10. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

    "The Razor's Edge" is a novel that explores the life of a young American, Larry Darrell, who rejects conventional society to search for spiritual enlightenment in the aftermath of World War I. His journey takes him from Illinois to Paris, and eventually to India. The story is narrated by an unnamed author who encounters Larry at various stages of his life, and through his eyes, we see Larry's transformation and the impact it has on the people around him. The novel is a profound exploration of self-discovery, spirituality, and the quest for meaning.

  11. 11. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

    Set in the 1930s, the novel revolves around the lives of British aristocracy, focusing on the love lives of young women in high society. The protagonist's cousin, Polly, shocks her family by choosing to marry a middle-aged, socially inferior man instead of a wealthy aristocrat. Meanwhile, the protagonist herself navigates her own romantic relationships amidst a backdrop of lavish parties, eccentric relatives, and societal expectations. The story offers a humorous and satirical look at the British upper class, highlighting their idiosyncrasies and the pressures they face.

  12. 12. The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford

    The Pursuit of Love is a semi-autobiographical novel that follows the romantic escapades of the eccentric and aristocratic Radlett family, primarily through the eyes of cousin Fanny. The story centers on Linda, the most beautiful and free-spirited of the Radlett daughters, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery through her various relationships and marriages. The novel explores themes of love, marriage, and the societal expectations of women during the interwar period in England.

  13. 13. A Legacy by Sybille Bedford

    "A Legacy" is a historical novel that captures the social and political turmoil of early 20th century Germany through the eyes of its protagonist. The story follows a young woman who hails from two distinct families, one being a wealthy Jewish family from Berlin and the other, an aristocratic Catholic family from rural Germany. The narrative provides a detailed account of the protagonist's life, her family's eccentricities, and the eventual downfall of her families amidst the backdrop of the First World War and the Weimar Republic.

  14. 14. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

    "Vile Bodies" is a satirical novel that explores the lives of young, rich, and often aimless people in England during the interwar period. The narrative follows the protagonist, a struggling writer, who is engaged to be married but is constantly thwarted by lack of funds. The book is filled with eccentric characters, wild parties, and scandalous behavior, providing a humorous yet critical commentary on the moral decline of a society obsessed with wealth and status.

  15. 15. The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West

    "The Thinking Reed" is a novel that explores the complexities of human relationships and societal norms through the eyes of a young American widow living in France. The protagonist navigates the intricacies of French high society while grappling with her own feelings of love and desire for two very different men. The story delves deep into the human psyche, questioning morality, the nature of love, and the struggle for personal freedom.

  16. 16. The Last Bouquet by Marjorie Bowen

    "The Last Bouquet" by Marjorie Bowen is a captivating historical novel set in 18th-century France. The story follows a young woman named Genevieve, who finds herself caught in the midst of the French Revolution. As chaos and violence engulf the nation, Genevieve's life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes entangled with a group of revolutionaries. Faced with difficult choices and dangerous secrets, she must navigate a treacherous path to protect her loved ones and find her own freedom. Bowen's vivid storytelling and rich historical detail bring this tumultuous period to life, offering a compelling tale of love, sacrifice, and resilience.

  17. 17. Bad News by Edward St Aubyn

    "Bad News" is the second novel in a series that follows the life of Patrick Melrose, a man from a wealthy but deeply troubled family. In this installment, Patrick, now 22, must travel to New York to collect his father's ashes. As he navigates the city, he struggles with his addiction to drugs and alcohol, and grapples with the traumatic memories of his abusive father. The narrative provides a darkly comic and deeply poignant exploration of addiction, trauma, and the struggle for redemption.

  18. 18. A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce Echenique

    "A World for Julius" follows the life of Julius, a young boy from a wealthy, aristocratic family in Peru. The novel is a biting social critique of the Peruvian upper classes, as seen through the eyes of Julius, who is often at odds with his family's values and lifestyle. The narrative explores themes of class, privilege, and the struggle for identity in a world dominated by wealth and social status.

  19. 19. The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills

    "The Power Elite" is a sociological study that explores the relationships and interconnections among the political, military, and economic elite in the United States, suggesting that they form a distinct, centralized ruling power structure. The author argues that this group operates outside of the democratic process and has significant influence over the nation's policies and decisions. The book also discusses the implications of this power concentration on American democracy and society.

Reading Statistics

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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