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The Greatest Books of the 20th Century

The following list was inspired by the list of the "100 Greatest English Language Novels" that was compiled and released in 1998 by the editors of the Modern Library. I say "inspired," although I deplored the specific contents of the Modern Library list, which struck me as being way, way out of touch with the nature and significance of 20th century fiction. Just to cite the most obvious way to determine just how far apart my own evaluations are from those of the Modern Library editors, I'll note here that my own list includes five "Top 10" works that were not included in the Modern Library list at all–i.e., GRAVITY'S RAINBOW, THE PUBLIC BURNING, Beckett's TRILOGY, Stein's THE MAKING OF AMERICANS, and Burrough's NOVA TRILOGY. But let's dispense with any further remarks about the ludicrousness of the Modern Library List, or self-congratulatory remarks my own list is, and cut to the chase:
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1
Pale Fire
Pale Fire
2
Ulysses
Ulysses
3
Gravity's Rainbow
Gravity's Rainbow
4
The Public Burning
The Public Burning
5
The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury
6
Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, the Unnamable (Samuel Beckett)
Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, the Unnamable (Samuel Beckett)
7
The Making of Americans (Gertrude Stein)
The Making of Americans (Gertrude Stein)
8
The Nova Trilogy (William Burroughs)
The Nova Trilogy (William Burroughs)
9
Lolita
Lolita
10
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
11
Take It or Leave It (Raymond Federman)
Take It or Leave It (Raymond Federman)
12
Beloved (Toni Morrison)
Beloved (Toni Morrison)
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13
Going Native
Going Native
14
Under the Volcano
Under the Volcano
15
To the Lighthouse (Mrs. Ramsay)
To the Lighthouse (Mrs. Ramsay)
16
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
17
JR
JR
18
Invisible Man
Invisible Man
19
Underworld (Don Delillo)
Underworld (Don Delillo)
20
The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway)
21
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
22
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
23
The Ambassadors
The Ambassadors
24
Women in Love
Women in Love
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25
60 Stories (Donald Barthelme)
60 Stories (Donald Barthelme)
26
The Rifles (William T. Vollmann)
The Rifles (William T. Vollmann)
27
The Recognitions
The Recognitions
28
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
29
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
30
1984 (George Orwell)
1984 (George Orwell)
31
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
32
Absalom, Absalom! (William Faulkner)
Absalom, Absalom! (William Faulkner)
33
Dhalgren (Samuel R Delany)
Dhalgren (Samuel R Delany)
34
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
35
Stain (Book 1 of the Four Elements Tetralogy) (Rikki Ducornet)
Stain (Book 1 of the Four Elements Tetralogy) (Rikki Ducornet)
36
Sprawl Trilogy (William Gibson)
Sprawl Trilogy (William Gibson)
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37
Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller)
Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller)
38
On the Road
On the Road
39
Lookout Cartridge (Joseph Mcelroy)
Lookout Cartridge (Joseph Mcelroy)
40
Crash
Crash
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