1898 C.K. Shorter List of Best 100 Novels

In 1898, an editor named Clement K. Shorter made a list of the 100 best novels (with a limit of one book per author).
Updated September 19, 2022
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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister...
Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë's moving masterpiece - the novel that has been "teaching true strength of character for generations" (The Guardian). Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read A novel of intense power and...
Wuthering Heights (Norton Critical Editions)
Emily Brontë
For the Fourth Edition, the editor collated the 1847 text with the two modern texts (Norton's William J. Sale collation and the Clarendon), and found a great number of variants, including accidentals. This discovery led to changes in the body of the Norton Critical Edition text that are explained...
The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins
'The most popular novel of the nineteenth century, and still one of the best plots in English literature' Sarah Waters The original 'sensation novel', The Woman in White opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter with a strange, solitary woman on a moonlit London road....
Frankenstein (Norton Critical Editions)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Contemporary perspectives of the text are provided in two sections: Contexts helps place the novel in relation to the mind of its creator through writings by Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and John William Polidori; Nineteenth-Century Responses collects six reactions to the book...
David Copperfield
Charles Dickens
When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which will lead him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak and friendship and betrayal. Over the course of his adventure, David meets an array of eccentric characters and learns...
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The novel that changed the course of American history Published in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel was a powerful indictment of slavery in America. Describing the many trials and eventual escape to freedom of the long-suffering, good-hearted slave Uncle Tom, it aimed to show...
Witty and caustic, Candide has ranked as one of the world's great satires since its first publication in 1759. In the story of the trials and travails of the youthful Candide, his mentor Dr. Pangloss, and a host of other characters, Voltaire mercilessly satirizes and exposes romance, science,...
Les Misérables
Victor Hugo
Few novels ever swept across the world with such overpowering impact as Les Misérables. Within 24 hours, the first Paris edition was sold out. In other great cities of the world it was devoured with equal relish. Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and...
Vanity Fair
William Makepeace Thackeray
A panoramic satire of English society during the Napoleonic Wars, Vanity Fair is William Makepeace Thackeray's masterpiece. At its center is one of the most unforgettable characters in nineteenth-century literature: the enthralling Becky Sharp, a charmingly ruthless social climber who is...
Don Quixote: Abridged Edition
Miguel de Cervantes
Este texto, cima de la literatura en lengua castellana, se divide en dos partes que relatan las aventuras de un loco - cuerdo que trata de hacer revivir las mágicas historias de los libros de caballerías. En la primera parte don Alonso Quijano es un humilde hacendado que invierte todo su capital en...
Silas Marner
George Eliot
Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the...
The Three Musketeers
Alexandre Dumas père
We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story," reflected Clifton Fadiman. "In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise--an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes...
Tom Jones
Henry Fielding
The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
Cooper's most enduringly popular novel combines heroism and romance with powerful criticism of the destruction of nature and tradition. Set against the French and Indian siege of Fort William Henry in 1757,The Last of the Mohicansrecounts the story of two sisters, Cora and...
The Castle of Otranto
Horace Walpole
'Look, my lord! See heaven itself declares against your impious intentions!' The Castle of Otranto (1764) is the first supernatural English novel and one of the most influential works of Gothic fiction. It inaugurated a literary genre that will be forever associated with the effects that Walpole...
The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ann Radcliffe
This was the most popular novel of Radcliffe's time and Radcliffe's portrayal of her heroine's inner life raised the Gothic romance to a new level. The atmosphere of fear and the gripping plot continue to thrill today. This is the story of the orphaned Emily St Aubert who finds herself separated...
Old Goriot
Honoré de Balzac
This is the tragic story of a father whose obsessive love for his two daughters leads to his financial and personal ruin. It is set against the background of a whole society driven by social ambition and lust for money. The detailed descriptions of both affluence and squalor in the Paris of1819 are...
Fathers and Sons
Ivan Turgenev
When Fathers and Sons was first published in Russia, in 1862, it was met with a blaze of controversy about where Turgenev stood in relation to his account of generational misunderstanding. Was he criticizing the worldview of the conservative aesthete, Pavel Kirsanov, and the older...
The Vicar of Wakefield
Oliver Goldsmith
The Vicar of Wakefield follows the life of a wealthy vicar and his family who lie an idyllic life in their country parish thanks to the vicar's clever investments. The evening that his son is to marry an heiress, the vicar discovers that his merchant investor has lost all his money in bankruptcy....
Barchester Towers
Anthony Trollope
After the death of old Dr Grantly, a bitter struggle begins over who will succeed him as Bishop of Barchester. And when the decision is finally made to appoint the evangelical Dr Proudie, rather than the son of the old bishop, Archdeacon Grantly, resentment and suspicion threaten to cause deep...
The Betrothed
Alessandro Manzoni
Italy's greatest novel and a masterpiece of world literature, The Betrothed chronicles the unforgettable romance of Renzo and Lucia, who endure tyranny, war, famine, and plague to be together. Published in 1827 but set two centuries earlier, against the tumultuous backdrop of...
Frances Burney
'Lord Orville did me the honour to hand me to the coach, talking all the way of the honour I had done him! O these fashionable people!'Frances Burney's first and most enduringly popular novel is a vivid, satirical, and seductive account of the pleasures and dangers of fashionable life in late...
Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady
Samuel Richardson
"Oh thou savage-hearted monster! What work hast thou made in one guilty hour, for a whole age of repentance!" Pressured by her unscrupulous family to marry a wealthy man she detests, the young Clarissa Harlowe is tricked into fleeing with the witty and debonair Robert Lovelace...
Elizabeth Gaskell
Ruth Hilton is an orphaned young seamstress who catches the eye of a gentleman, Henry Bellingham, who is captivated by her simplicity and beauty. When she loses her job and home, he offers her comfort and shelter, only to cruelly desert her soon after. Nearly dead with grief and shame, Ruth is...
Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The most popular novel by Gothic mystery and thriller writer Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas is one of the first of the "locked room" mystery genre, and served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's The Firm of Girdlestone. Teenage heiress Maud Ruthyn lives in a mansion with her withdrawn father....
Tom Brown's School Days
Thomas Hughes
The Master of Ballantrae
Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson's brooding historical romance about two feuding brothers features remarkably vivid characterization and beautiful sketches of the Scottish countryside. This edition features a reading group guide and commentary. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
Westward Ho!
Charles Kingsley
From the coral reefs of the Barbados to the jungles and fabled cities of the Orinoco and on to the great sea battle with the Spanish Armada, this vibrant novel captures the daring spirit of Elizabethan adventurers who sailed with Sir Francis Drake.
Gustave Flaubert
With his masterwork Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert blazed new trails in literary realism with a gripping tale of a disenchanted wife entangled in an extramarital affair. After that, Flaubert took a completely different tack and dove into the extensive historical research that would form the basis...
Sir Walter Scott
In the court of Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, is favoured above all the noblemen of England. It is rumoured that the Queen may chose him for her husband, but Leicester has secretly married the beautiful Amy Robsart. Fearing ruin if this were known, he keeps his lovely young wife a...
William Beckford
Vathek is one of the earliest and most influential Gothic novels. Its hero is the Caliph Vathek who renounces Islam in a hedonistic quest for supernatural powers, which leads to his downfall. Beckford's genius was in marrying Orientalism with the Gothic, both sources of fascination and delight to...
News from Nowhere
William Morris
Gil Blas
Alain René Le Sage
The holy war, made by Shaddai upon Diabolus, for the regaining of the metropolis of the world; or, The losing and taking again of the town of Mansoul
John Bunyan
Roderick Random
Tobias Smollett
The Absentee
Maria Edgeworth
Headlong Hall
Thomas Love Peacock
Susan Ferrier
Susan Ferrier sold more copies of her novels than her contemporary, Jane Austen. Sir Walter Scott declared her his equal. Why, then has she been lost to history? On the 200th anniversary of this sharply observed, comic novel, it is time to rediscover her brilliance. 'Edinburgh is...
Richelieu: A Tale of France
G. P. R. James
Tom Cringle's Log
Michael Scott
Sybil, or The Two Nations
Benjamin Disraeli
Sybil, or The Two Nations is one of the finest novels to depict the social problems of class-ridden Victorian England. The book's publication in 1845 created a sensation, for its immediacy and readability brought the plight of the working classes sharply to the attention of the reading public. The...
Reuben Sachs
Amy Levy
Set is the Anglo-Jewish community in Bayswater, this novel is about a couple who love each other, but his political ambitions demand money and she is poor.

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