Modern Library's 100 Best Novels

List the 100 greatest English language novels of the 20th Century, according to Modern Library.
Quiz by malgybalgy
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Last updated: August 19, 2016
First submittedAugust 2, 2012
Times taken7,397
Rating3.90
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Author
Book
James Joyce
Ulysses
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby
James Joyce
A Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man
Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita
Aldous Huxley
Brave New World
William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury
Joseph Heller
Catch-22
Arthur Koestler
Darkness at Noon
D. H. Lawrence
Sons and Lovers
John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath
Malcolm Lowry
Under the Volcano
Samuel Butler
The Way of all Flesh
George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Robert Graves
I, Claudius
Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse
Theodore Dreiser
An American Tragedy
Carson McCullers
The Heart
is a Lonely Hunter
Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five
Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man
Richard Wright
Native Son
Saul Bellow
Henderson the Rain King
John O'Hara
Appointment In Samarra
John Dos Passos
U.S.A. Trilogy
Sherwood Anderson
Winesburg, Ohio
E. M. Forster
A Passage to India
Henry James
The Wings of the Dove
Henry James
The Ambassadors
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tender is the Night
James T. Farrell
Studs Lonigan
Ford Madox Ford
The Good Soldier
George Orwell
Animal Farm
Henry James
The Golden Bowl
Theodore Dreiser
Sister Carrie
Evelyn Waugh
A Handful of Dust
William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying
Robert Penn Warren
All The King's Men
Thornton Wilder
The Bridge
of San Luis Rey
E. M. Forster
Howards End
James Baldwin
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Graham Greene
The Heart of the Matter
William Golding
Lord of the Flies
James Dickey
Deliverance
Anthony Powell
A Question of Upbringing
Aldous Huxley
Point Counter Point
Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises
Joseph Conrad
The Secret Agent
Joseph Conrad
Nostromo
D. H. Lawrence
The Rainbow
D. H. Lawrence
Women in Love
Henry Miller
Tropic of Cancer
Author
Book
Norman Mailer
The Naked and the Dead
Philip Roth
Portnoy's Complaint
Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire
William Faulkner
Light in August
Jack Kerouac
On the Road
Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon
Ford Madox Ford
Parade's End
Edith Wharton
The Age of Innocence
Max Beerbohm
Zuleika Dobson
Walker Percy
The Moviegoer
Willa Cather
Death Comes
for the Archbishop
James Jones
From Here to Eternity
John Cheever
The Wapshot Chronicle
J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange
W. Somerset Maugham
Of Human Bondage
Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness
Sinclair Lewis
Main Street
Edith Wharton
The House of Mirth
Lawrence Durrell
The Alexandria Quartet
Richard Hughes
A High Wind In Jamaica
V. S. Naipaul
A House For Mr. Biswas
Nathanael West
The Day of the Locust
Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms
Evelyn Waugh
Scoop
Muriel Spark
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
James Joyce
Finnegans Wake
Rudyard Kipling
Kim
E. M. Forster
A Room with a View
Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited
Saul Bellow
The Adventures of
Augie March
Wallace Stegner
Angle of Repose
V. S. Naipaul
A Bend in the River
Elizabeth Bowen
The Death of the Heart
Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim
E. L. Doctorow
Ragtime
Arnold Bennett
The Old Wives' Tale
Jack London
The Call of the Wild
Henry Green
Loving
Salman Rushdie
Midnight's Children
Erskine Caldwell
Tobacco Road
William Kennedy
Ironweed
John Fowles
The Magus
Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea
Iris Murdoch
Under the Net
William Styron
Sophie's Choice
Paul Bowles
The Sheltering Sky
James M. Cain
The Postman Always
Rings Twice
J. P. Donleavy
The Ginger Man
Booth Tarkington
The Magnificent Ambersons
+2
Level 70
Jul 18, 2013
Good quiz. Much harder thinking of the novels as opposed to the authors. Only got 25 right - another 20 I should have got and loads I've never heard of.
+1
Level 66
Jul 18, 2013
Great quiz, thanks!
+1
Level 71
Jul 18, 2013
No Cukoo's Nest or Farenheit 451? Very surprising.
+7
Level 66
Jul 18, 2013
Seriously? No Harper Lee and one of the greatest books ever, "To Kill a Mockingbird"? I would take that any day over ANY Ernest Hemingway.
+1
Level 72
Jul 18, 2013
I quite don't understand this: Nabokov is Russian, but all the other authors are native English speakers - so is this list only about authors writing in English or don't they regard any other author worthy to appear on the list?
+5
Level 45
Oct 9, 2013
Joseph Conrad (one of my favorite authors) was Polish and although he wrote beautifully in English it was not his first language. Four of his books are listed here - for good reason!
+1
Level 20
May 24, 2014
Just 1...
+4
Level 67
Oct 25, 2014
Modern Library has terrible taste in novels.
+6
Level ∞
Aug 19, 2016
I think it's the fate of every top 100 list to be hated. In this case, I think it's somewhat deserved, but I doubt any list would escape criticism.
+4
Level 67
Dec 29, 2016
True, but this list is horribly biased against modern works. The vast majority are 50+ years old. Is it any wonder a lot of people come out of school thinking that they don't like reading when we tell them these are the best books?
+2
Level 76
Jul 30, 2018
^ It is however extremely hard to pick out true classics until the dust has settled.
+3
Level 75
Apr 29, 2015
Where in the world is To Kill a Mockingbird?
+2
Level 83
Nov 20, 2015
I find it very limited in the choice of authors. For example: James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, V.S. Naipaul -- 4 authors = 12 of the novels. One less of each and they could've included a wider spread. And probably even better books too.
+2
Level 35
Sep 25, 2016
Powell's *A Question of Upbringing*? A good novel, but not the best in the series (I'd say *At Lady Molly's*); more objectively, the other multi-volume novels are in the list as such: *the Alexandria Quartet*, *the USA trilogy*, so why not *A Dance to the Music of Time*? Wasted lots of time on my smartphone retyping. And thought *Wings of A dove* for the James :-(
+1
Level 77
Nov 22, 2016
Hmmm, 15/100 and 3 points.
+4
Level 54
Jul 24, 2017
Er, Lord of the Rings? Fahrenheit-451? To Kill a Mockingbird? This list is quite unrepresentative of some of the best books ever, let alone of the twentieth century.
+2
Level 67
Sep 26, 2017
Yeah, this list is atrocious.
+1
Level 77
Jan 26, 2018
Lord of the rings? Behave, this is a serious list. Can't comment on its quality, having only read 5 or 6 of the featured books though.
+1
Level 75
Sep 11, 2018
Yer - LOTR sucks
+1
Level 64
Apr 27, 2020
The Lord of the Rings is not only one of the most iconic series of books ever but also one of the best. It's far greater than half the books on this least easily.
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