The greatest literature of all time

See Editor Eric's famous list of the 1,000 greatest literary works in the world—from 2100 BCE to 2010 CE—from Gilgamesh to...well, to whatever the latest great work is. Select the "1,000 Greatest Works" button above for the greatest-ever novels, stories, plays and other literary works—it's a long list—or select by years.

Plus, check the lists of the 650 greatest novels of time, the 200 greatest short stories ever, and the 200 greatest science fiction works. And others.

On all lists, you can click links to the more than 500 commentaries on individual authors, books, translations and adaptations of great literature. Or go directly to selected author commentaries and work commentaries now.


Flatland original coverCurious and less curiouser
Flatland is a curiosity. This novella, fable, allegory, satire or math lesson—whatever it's supposed to be—is often counted as a classic science fiction work. From a bare description of Flatland, I could see why. A hypothetical world of only two dimensions is described within which all things, including the inhabitants.... Flatland

Jane Austen graphicThis lady writer's not for beating
Mark Twain famously defined the ideal library as one with no Jane Austen books. He seemed to enjoy ridiculing Austen's work, reading which made him "feel like a barkeeper entering the Kingdom of Heaven". At least some of his detestation of Austen may have been an act, but I see his point.... Jane Austen

Monkey's Paw original coverThe horror of unintended consequences
"The Monkey's Paw" is a story so well known for its plot that its writing and style are sometimes forgotten. In fact, it seems not to have been written by anyone at all, but has filtered down to us through the ages as folk tale or fable. Which is unfair to accomplished short story author W.W. Jacobs who wrote and published.... The Monkey's Paw

missing graphicAuthor provocateur
A case could be made for Wilkie Collins as one of the most influential writers of his era, his impact still being felt today in every kind of popular fiction. As much as, or more than, the iconic mid-Victorian figures of Dickens, Thackeray and Eliot. The argument would go something like this: First, look at his most.... Wilkie Collins

See full list of Recent Commentaries >>

Features of note
How the Greatest Literature of All Time list was created

How works were selected

The story of science fiction

What counts as SF?

Much of what you read in English was not written in English. Does it matter?

Finding the best translations

Much ado about Shakespeare
Shakespeare's eyes
What was he really about?

William Shakespeare

Was it Shakespeare who wrote Shakespeare's plays?

The controversy

What he wrote—and what really happened

The histories

Not all other writers think Shakespeare's the best

What they've said

The plays are the thing:


Henry IV, Part 1

Julius Caesar

King Lear



The Merchant of

Romeo and Juliet

The Tempest


The greatest SF works of all time

Editor Eric's list of the 200 greatest works of speculative and science fiction—the greatest SF stories and novels published on the planet.

Movies for people who love great books

Guide to over 200 films, film series and television productions—from the silly to the authentic—based on the greatest works of literature reviewed on these pages.

The Greatest Canadian Literature

The 150 best novels, drama and poetry from writers in the Great White North, plus commentaries on selected books and Canadian authors.

Toronto Reads

Eric's reviews of Toronto-related books, as published in the Town Crier community newspapers.
Recent reviews in Toronto Reads:
The Girl in a Coma graphic Take Us to Your Chief graphic The Mousehouse Years graphic The Hungry Ghosts graphic Writing gordon Lightfoot graphic The Girl in a Coma
Take Us to Your Chief
The Mousehouse Years
The Hungry Ghosts
Writing Gordon Lightfoot

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Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
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Selected Authors

Selected Works

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Romeo and Juliet
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The Odyssey
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On the Road
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Oliver Twist
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My Ántonia
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