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An objective analysis resulting in a list of the most recognized novels published in the English language from 1918 - 1990, a starting-point for readers to approach a well-read status.

Myjak Novel Analysis
Description & Result

APPROACH

Multiple Sources
Novels were considered for the list based on recognition by credible sources. Multiple sources were used to limit the subjectivity of individual sources. There is no source for novel recommendations that is not limited by its criteria for consideration or by its biased voting population and sales numbers for individual titles is privileged information and not made available. Although, all sources utilized have limitations, it is logical that the novels recognized by the largest number of credible sources are the most respected.

Time Restraint
Inclusion in the list is restricted to novels published in the English language from 1918 -1990. The time restraint is necessary because all sources utilized do not include novels outside of this time frame. Unfortunately, the time period restraint requires the exclusion of many great American novels including Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to name a few. The time restraint also excludes many of the most respected novelists of all time that wrote prior to the 20 th century including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and many more. Although this restraint required the exclusion of many classics, the approach is the most objective as this time frame is within the scope of all sources.

LIMITATIONS

Please consider that the list derived from the analysis is subject to limitations and obviously does not provide a perfect solution to becoming well read. As noted above, the necessary time restraint requires the exclusion of many great novels. Additionally, the result of the analysis is only as reliable as the sources utilized. To best interpret the conclusion of this analysis, gain an understanding of the sources utilized, described in detail at the sources link. Selection for the list is based on strict logic, but if you object to the selection or grouping approach, consider the reliability of sources for yourself to determine which novels you view as the most respected. Although, the results of the analysis are subject to limitations, true to the mission of the analysis, the final list serves the purpose of providing a practical STARTING-POINT to approach a well-read status.


RESULT

The final result is a list containing 61 novels published in the English language from 1918 – 1990 that are the most recognized by the sources utilized in the analysis. To ease interpretation, the list is split into 8 groupings based on each novel’s recognition relative to the other novels in the list.

  Novel Year Novelist Nobel Prize Pulitzer Prize Publisher's Weekly Bestsellers The American Booksellers Association and National Book Critics Circle Modern Library - The Board Modern Library Reader's Survey Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study Harvard
1 The Grapes of Wrath 1939 John Steinbeck 1962 1940 #1 - 1939 & #8 - 1940 Y Y Y Y
 
2 Gone With the Wind 1936 Margaret Mitchell   1937 #1 - 1936 & #1 - 1937     Y Y
2 To Kill a Mockingbird 1960 Harper Lee   1961 #3 - 1961 Y   Y Y
 
3 The Age of Innocence 1920 Edith Wharton   1921 #4 - 1921   Y   Y
3 The Old Man and The Sea 1952 Ernest Hemingway 1954 1953 #7 - 1952 Y     Y
 
4 Advise and Consent 1959 Allen Drury   1960 #1 - 1960 & #4 - 1961        
4 Arrowsmith 1925 Sinclair Lewis 1930 1926 #7 - 1925     Y  
4 Lolita 1955 Vladimir Nabokov     #3 - 1958 & #8 - 1959 Y Y Y Y
4 The Bridge of San Luis Rey 1927 Thornton Wilder   1928 #1 - 1928   Y    
4 The Caine Mutiny 1951 Herman Wouk   1952 #2 - 1951 & #2 - 1952        
4 The Catcher in the Rye 1951 J.D. Salinger     #11 - 1952 Y Y Y Y
4 The Good Earth 1931 Pearl S. Buck 1938 1932 #1 - 1931 & #1 - 1932        
4 The Yearling 1938 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings   1939 #1 - 1938 & #7 - 1939        
 
5 A Bell For Adano 1944 John Hersey   1945 #9 - 1944        
5 A Farewell to Arms 1929 Ernest Hemingway 1954     Y Y Y Y
5 As I Lay Dying 1930 William Faulkner 1949     Y Y Y Y
5 Atlas Shrugged 1957 Ayn Rand     #10 - 1957 Y   Y Y
5 Catch-22 1961 Joseph Heller       Y Y Y Y
5 Humboldt's Gift 1975 Saul bellow 1976 1976 #10 - 1975        
5 Invisible Man 1952 Ralph Ellison       Y Y Y Y
5 Scarlet Sister Mary 1928 Julia Peterkin   1929 #9 - 1929        
5 Slaughterhouse-Five 1969 Kurt Vonnegut       Y Y Y Y
5 So Big 1924 Edna Ferber   1925 #1 - 1924        
5 The Confessions of Nat Turner 1967 William Styron   1968 #1 - 1967        
5 The Edge of Sadness 1961 Edwin O'Connor   1962 #9 - 1961        
5 The Fixer 1966 Bernard Malamud   1967 #6 - 1966        
5 The Great Gatsby 1925 Scott Fitzgerald       Y Y Y Y
5 The Reivers 1962 William Faulkner 1949 1963 #10 - 1962        
5 The Sound and the Fury 1929 William Faulkner 1949     Y Y Y Y
5 The Sun Also Rises 1926 Ernest Hemingway 1954     Y Y Y Y
5 Tropic of Cancer 1934 Henry Miller     #6 - 1961   Y Y Y
 
6 All the King's Men 1946 Robert Penn Warren   1947     Y   Y
6 Angle of Repose 1971 Wallace Stegner   1972   Y Y    
6 Babbitt 1922 Sinclair Lewis 1930   #10 - 1922 & #4 - 1932       Y
6 Beloved 1987 Toni Morrison 1993 1988       Y Y
6 Main Street 1920 Sinclair Lewis 1930   #1 - 1921   Y   Y
6 Sophie's Choice 1979 William Styron     #2 - 1979   Y   Y
6 The Color Purple 1982 Alice Walker   1983   Y     Y
6 The French Lieutenant's Woman 1969 John Fowles     #2 - 1970     Y Y
6 The Naked and the Dead 1948 Norman Mailer     #2 - 1948   Y   Y
6 The Satanic Verses 1988 Salman Rushdie     #6 - 1989     Y Y
 
7 1984 1949 George Orwell         Y Y Y
7 A Clockwork Orange 1962 Anthony Burgess         Y Y Y
7 Animal Farm 1945 George Orwell         Y Y Y
7 Brave New World 1932 Aldous Huxley         Y Y Y
7 Brideshead Revisited 1945 Evelyn Waugh         Y Y Y
7 Death Comes for the Archbishop 1927 Willa Cather       Y Y   Y
7 Light in August 1932 William Faulkner 1949       Y Y Y
7 My Antonia 1918 Willa Cather       Y   Y Y
7 Of Mice and Men 1937 John Steinbeck 1962   #8 - 1937       Y
7 On The Road 1957 Jack Kerouac         Y Y Y
7 The Fountainhead 1943 Ayn Rand       Y   Y Y
7 The Lord of the Flies 1954 William Golding 1983       Y Y Y
7 The World According to Garp 1978 John Irving       Y   Y Y
7 To the Lighthouse 1927 Virginia Wolf         Y Y Y
7 Ulysses 1922 James Joyce         Y Y Y
 
8 A Fable 1954 William Faulkner 1949 1955          
8 Dodsworth 1929 Sinclair Lewis 1930   #2 - 1929        
8 Elmer Gantry 1927 Sinclair Lewis 1930   #1 - 1927        
8 For Whome the Bell Tolls 1940 Ernest Hemingway 1954   #4 - 1940 & #5 - 1941        
8 The Moon Is Down 1942 John Steinbeck 1962   #2 - 1942