John Cowper Powys’ Best 100 Novels

This is a list of 100 best novels compiled by the novelist John Cowper Powys in 1916. The compiler himself admits its frank subjectivity. You can access the entire work (with commentary) at Project Gutenberg:

Artzibasheff – Sanine
Austen, Jane – Pride and Prejudice
Balzac, Honore de – Lost Illusions
Balzac, Honore de – Cousin Bette
Balzac, Honore de – Old Goriot
Bennett, Arnold – Clayhanger
Brontë, Emily – Wüthering Heights
Bourget, Paul – Le Disciple
Browne, Sir Thos – Religio Medici and Urn Burial
Cannan, Gilbert – Round the Corner
Catullus – Carmina
Cervantes – Don Quixote
Carroll, Lewis – Alice in Wonderland
Chesterton, G.K. – Orthodoxy
Conrad, Joseph – Chance
Conrad, Joseph – Lord Jim
Conrad, Joseph – Victory
Conrad, Joseph – Youth
Conrad, Joseph – Almayer’s Folly
Dante – Divine Comedy
D’Annunzio, G. -The Flame of Life
D’Annunzio, G. – The Triumph of Death
Dickens, Charles – Great Expectations
Dostoievsky, F. – Crime and Punishment
Dostoievsky, F – The Idiot
Dostoievsky, F – The Brothers Karamazov
Dostoievsky, F – The Insulted and Injured
Dostoievsky, F – The Possessed
Dreiser, Theodore – The Titan
Emerson, R.W – Essays
Euripides – The Bacchae
France, Anatole – The Elm Tree on the Mall
France, Anatole – The Opinions of Jerome
France, Anatole – My Friend’s Book
Galsworthy, John – The Country House
Galsworthy, John – The Man of Property
Galsworthy, John – Fraternity
Goethe – Faust
Goethe – Wilhelm Meister
Goethe – Goethe’s Conversations with Eckerman
Gourmont, Remy de – A Night in the Luxembourg
Gorki, Maxim – Foma Gordyeeff
Hardy, Thomas – Tess of the D’Urbevilles
Hardy, Thomas – The Return of the Native
Hardy, Thomas – The Mayor of Casterbridge
Hardy, Thomas – Far from the Madding Crowd
Hardy, Thomas – Wessex Poems
Hauptmann – The Fool in Christ
Heine – Prose works and “Confessions”
Horace – Odes
Hugo, Victor – The Toilers of the Sea
Homer – The Odyssey
Ibsen – The Wild Duck
James, Henry – The Ambassadors
James, Henry – The Tragic Muse
James, Henry – The Soft Side
James, Henry – The Better Sort
James, Henry – The Wings of a Dove
James, Henry – The Golden Bowl
Kipling, Rudyard – The Jungle Book
Lamb, Charles – Essays of Elia
Masters, Edgar Lee – Spoon River Anthology
Maugham, W. Somerset – Of Human Bondage
Maupassant, Guy de – Madame Tellier’s Establishment
Meredith, George – Harry Richmond
Milton – Poetry
Nietzsche, F – Zarathustra
Nietzsche, F – The Joyful Wisdom
Nietzsche, F. – Ecce Homo
Onions, Oliver – The Story of Louie
O’Sullivan, Vincent – The Good Girl
Oxford Book of English Verse
Pater, Walter – Marius the Epicurean
Pater, Walter – Studies in the Renaissance
Pater, Walter – Imaginary Portraits
Pater, Walter – Plato and Platonism
Pater, Walter – Gaston de Latour
Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel
Rolland, Romain – Jean Christophe
Scott, Sir Walter – Guy Mannering
Scott, Sir Walter – Bride of Lammermoor
Scott, Sir Walter – Heart of Midlothian
Shakespeare – Troilus and Cressida
Shaw, George Bernard – Man and Superman
Stendhal – The Red and the Black
Sterne, Laurence – Tristram Shandy
Strindberg, August – The Confessions of a Fool
Sudermann – Song of Songs
Swift, Jonathan – Tale of a Tub
Thackeray, W.M. – Henry Esmond
The Psalms of David
Turgeniev – Virgin Soil
Turgeniev – Sportsman’s Sketches
Turgeniev – Lisa
Tschekoff -The Sea Gull
Voltaire – Candide
Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar – Intentions
Wilde, Oscar – The Importance of Being Earnest
Wilde, Oscar – De Profundis


4 thoughts on “John Cowper Powys’ Best 100 Novels

  1. I like John Cowper Powys; irrelevant, I know, but there are so few 20th C British novelists of whom I can say such a thing.

  2. Some rather odd choices here. Galsworthy? Dreiser? I read An American Tragedy and Sister Carrie long ago. They weren’t bad but he wouldn’t make any top 100 list of mine. As for Scott, our friend freep posted this comment on my blog the other day:

    A propos of nothing: I am having to prepare a talk on Walter Scott (God help me), and I came across this first-rate quote from Carlyle, which might be usefully applied to any blockhead who makes a lot of money out of writing:

    ‘Scott writes daily, with the ardour of a steam-engine, that he might make £15,000 a year and buy upholstery with it.’

  3. I read about 2/3rds of Wolf Solent once and thought it was ok. – As for Galsworthy and Dreiser, there just seems to have been a craze for dull realism at the time. (Possibly there still is today too). – Scott’s fame is beyond my understanding.

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