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The Greatest Literature of Easteern Europe

The selection of literature from specific countries or regions is based on the continuing research carried out for our flagship list, The Greatest Literature of All Time, and all our other Greatest lists. It is also informed by the additional literary assessments of local readers, writers, critics and scholars.

On this list are literary works of all types, genres, cultures and periods by authors primarily associated with the countries of present-day Eastern Europe and their preceding states.

For the purposes of this list we are following the United Nations Eastern European grouping. This includes Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belerus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine among others.

However, Russia, which straddles parts of Europe and Asia, is not included in this list. That country has its own page, The Greatest Literature of Russia.

This list focuses on major creative—mainly fictional—works, although some shorter or nonfiction writing of literary significance may also be included.

Latest update: January 27, 2024

The 88 Greatest Works of Eastern European Literature

1501
Judita
Marko Marulić
Croatia
Poem
1779
Fables and Parables
Ignacy Krasicki
Poland
Poems
1832
Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine
Stories
1834
Master Thaddeus
Adam Mickiewicz
Poland
Poem
1835
Taras Bulba
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine
Novella
1836
The Government Inspector
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine
Play
 
The Nose
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine
Story
 
Máj
Karel Hynek Mácha
Bohemia
Poem
1842
Dead Souls
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine
Novel
 
The Overcoat
Nikolai Gogol
Ukraine
Story
1848
Ashes and Diamonds
Jerzy Andrzejewski
Poland
Novel
1853–1862
Kalev's Son
Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald
Estonia
Poem
1884
With Fire and Sword
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Poland
Novel
1890
The Doll
Bolesław Prus
Poland
Novel
1894
Tevye Stories
Sholom Aleichem
Ukraine
Stories
 
The New Woman
Bolesław Prus
Poland
Novel
1895–1896
Quo Vadis
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Poland
Novel
1897
Pharoah
Bolesław Prus
Poland
Novel
1899
The Interpretation of Dreams
Sigmund Freud
Austria
Nonfiction
1899
Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
Geza Gardonyi
Hungary
Novel
1900
None but the Brave
Arthur Schnitzler
Austria
Novella
1901
The Wedding
Stanislaw Wyspianski
Poland
Play
1904–1909
The Peasants
Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont
Poland
Novel
1906
The Confusions of Young Törless
Robert Musil
Austria
Novel
1912
Professor Bernhardi
Arthur Schnitzler
Austria
Play
1913
The Judgment
Franz Kafka
Bohemia
Story
1916
The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka
Bohemia
Novella
1919
In the Penal Colony
Franz Kafka
Bohemia
Story
1920
R.U.R.
Karel Čapek
Czechoslovakia
Play
1920–1923
The Good Soldier Schweik
Jaroslav Hašek
Czechoslovakia
Novel
1925
The Trial
Franz Kafka
Bohemia
Novel
1926
The Castle
Franz Kafka
Bohemia
Novel
1927
Amerika
Franz Kafka
Bohemia
Novel
 
Confusion of Feelings
Stefan Zveig
Austria
Novella
1928
The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch
Ladislav Klima
Bohemia
Novel
1930
Insatiability
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
Poland
Novel
1930–1943
The Man Without Qualities
Robert Musil
Austria
Novel
1931
Marketa Lazarová
Vladislav Vančura
Czechoslovakia
Novel
1932
Radetzky March
Joseph Roth
Austria
Novel
1934
They Were Counted
Miklós Bánffy
Hungary
Novel
 
How the Steel Was Tempered
Nikolai Ostrovsky
Ukraine
Novel
1935
Auto-da-Fé
Elias Canetti
Austria
Novel
1936
War with the Newts
Witold Gombrowicz
Poland
Novel
1937
Ferdydurke
Karel Čapek
Czechoslovakia
Novel
1938
Alamut
Vladimir Bartol
Slovenia
Novel
1941
Chess Story
Stefan Zweig
Austria
Novella
1945
Bosnian Chronicle
Ivo Andric
Yugoslavia
Novel
1946
The Bridge on the Drina
Ivo Andrić
Yugoslavia
Novel
 
Man 's Search for Meaning
Victor Frankl
Austria
Nonfiction
1961
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem
Poland
Novel
1963
The Garden Party
Václav Havel
Czechoslovakia
Play
 
The General of the Dead Army
Ismail Kadare
Albania
Novel
1964
Time of Parting
Anton Donchev
Bulgaria
Novel
1966
Death and the Dervish
Meša Selimović
Yugoslavia
Novel
1968
The Cathedral
Oles Honchar
Ukraine
Novel
1969
The Case Worker
Gyorgy Konrad
Hungary
Novel
1973
The Winter of Great Solitude
Ismail Kadare
Albania
Novel
1974
The Port
Antun Soljan
Croatia
Novel
1975
Correction
Thomas Bernhard
Austria
Novel
1978
The Czar's Madman
Jaan Kross
Estonia
Novel
1980
Life and Fate
Vasily Grossman
Ukraine
Novel
1981
The Palace of Dreams
Ismail Kadare
Albania
Novel
1982
Wittgenstein's Nephew
Thomas Bernhard
Austria
Nonfiction
1983
I Served the King of England
Bohumil Hrabal
Czechia
Novel
 
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Milan Kundera
Czechoslovakia
Novel
 
Dictionary of the Khazars
Milorad Pavić
Serbia
Novel
 
The Engineer of Human Souls
Josef Skvorecky
Czechoslovakia
Novel
1985
Old Masters: A Comedy
Thomas Bernhard
Austria
Novel
1986
Extinction
Thomas Bernhard
Austria
Novel
1990
Judge on Trial
Ivan Klima
Czechoslovakia
Novel
1990–1999
The Witcher Saga
Andrzej Sapkowski
Poland
Novels and stories
1991
Rivers of Babylon
Peter Pišťanek
Czechoslovakia
Novel
1996
View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems
Wisława Szymborska
Poland
Poems
1996–2007
Binding
Mircea Cărtărescu
Roma nia
Novel
1997
Closely Watched Trains
Bohumil Hrabal
Czechia
Novella
 
Miracle Workers
Slavko Janevski
Macedonia
Novel
1999
Natural Novel
Georgi Gospodinov
Bulgaria
Novel
1999–
Inspector Mock series
Marek Krajewski
Bulgaria
Novels
2000
Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan
Paul Celan
Romania
Prose and poetry
 
Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
Ismail Kadare
Albania
Novel
2004
New and Collected Poems
ed. Czesław Miłosz
Poland
Poems
2007
Selected Poems
Zbigniew Herbert
Poland
Poems
 
Flights
Olga Tokarczuk
Poland
Novel
2009
Klotsvog
Margarita Khemlin
Ukraine
Novel
 
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
Olga Tokarczuk
Poland
Novel
2010
Voroshylovhrad
Serhiy Zhadan
Ukraine
Novel
2012
The Physics of Sorrow
Georgi Gospodinov
Bulgaria
Novel
2014
The Books of Jacob
Olga Tokarczuk
Poland
Novel

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