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:

Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1Julius CaesarKing LearMacbethOthello The Merchant of Venice Romeo and JulietThe Tempest

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 today. Select entire list of "1,000 Greatest Works" above—for the greatest-ever novels, stories, plays and other literary works—or select by years.

Plus, check the lists of the 666 greatest novels of time, the 200 greatest short stories ever, the 200 greatest science fiction works, and the 200 greatest crime and mystery works. On all lists, you can click links to the more than 500 commentaries on authors, books, translations and adaptations of great literature.

Latest Commentaries

Quiet American first edition

The romance to end all romanticism

Partway through The Sorrows of Young Werther you might wonder if this is actually a parody of romantic stories of the sturm und drang era. Werther's attachment to his beloved Charlotte, Lotte for short, can come across as a ridiculously over-the-top passion. Or so it may appear to a modern reader. What Werther calls.... The Sorrows of Young Werther

Quiet American first edition

The unquiet Brit and the Americans

The biggest obstacle to properly appreciating The Quiet American is getting past Graham Greene's uncanny political prescience. In the 1950s, when Vietnam wasn't yet on the radar for most Western readers, when U.S. foreign policy and military power were still widely seen as forces to make the world safe for democracy.... The Quiet American

Caves of Steel first edition

Murder in the middle

You could say Isaac Asimov always was a mystery writer. His early science fiction works were often light on action as his brainy, talkative characters sought answers to practical questions. Why did that robot act contrary to its programming? Where is that foundation hidden in the galaxy? But the young writer.... The Caves of Steel

Oroonoko first edition

First great story of slavery

Aphra Behn's most famous work might disappoint a reader who has heard it's a staunchly anti-slavery, anti-colonialist or feminist work. One may find Oroonoko is none of those things, at least by modern standards. Behn was a writer in the latter seventeenth-century period known in England as the Restoration, when.... Oroonoko

Coming Race first edition

The vril of it all

It's an irony of sorts that Edward Bulwer-Lytton's most influential book may be his last, one of his shortest, written in a genre different from everything else he had done to that point, and not even published under his own name. Yet it was greatly admired and popular in its time. But don't let any of that make you think.... The Coming Race

Regeneration first edition

The war which is never over

It may seem odd an acclaimed series of novels near the end of the twentieth century should feature characters from the period of the First World War. Or that issues from that war time should continue to so resonate with the reading public. At least part of the popularity of the Regeneration novels can be explained by.... The Regeneration Trilogy

See full list of Recent Commentaries >


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.

The greatest crime works of all time

Editor Eric's list of the 200 greatest works of crime, mystery and detective fiction—the greatest stories and novels ever published in this popular genre.

Movies for people who love great books

Faithful adaptations or completely different art form? A guide to over 200 films, film series and television productions—from the authentic to the silly—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 Streeter and Town Crier community newspapers.
Recent reviews:
Writing Gordon Lightfoot graphic The Hungry Ghosts graphic The Mousehouse Years graphic Take Us to Your Chief graphic The Girl in a Coma graphic No Time to Bury Them graphic DifficultP graphic
Difficult People
No Time to Bury Them
The Girl in a Coma
Take Us to Your Chief
The Mousehouse Years
The Hungry Ghosts
Writing Gordon Lightfoot