Random House Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels

In 1998 the Modern Library, a division of Random House, New York, released this list of ‘the 100 best novels written in the English language and published since 1900.’ The jurors were Daniel J. Boorstin, A.S. Byatt, Christopher Cerf, Shelby Foote, Vartan Gregorian, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., William Styron, and Gore Vidal.

1. Ulysses by James Joyce

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce

4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

9. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

11. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

12. Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler

13. 1984 by George Orwell

14. Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 by Robert Graves

15. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

16. American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

17. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

18. Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children’s Crusade : A Duty-Dance With Death by Kurt Vonnegut

19. Invisible Man by Ralph Waldo Ellison

20. Native Son by Richard Wright

21. Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow

22. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara

23. U.S.A. (trilogy) The 42nd Parallel, 1919, the Big Money by John Dos Passos

24. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

25. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

26. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

27. The Ambassadors by Henry James

28. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

29. Studs Lonigan : A Trilogy Comprising Young Lonigan, the Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, and Judgement Day by James T. Farrell

30. The Good Soldier : A Tale of Passion by Ford Madox Ford

31. Animal Farm : A Fairy Story by George Orwell

32. The Golden Bowl by Henry James

33. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

34. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

35. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

36. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

37. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

38. Howards End by E.M. Forster

39. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

40. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

41. Lord of the Flies : A Novel by William Golding

42. Deliverance by James Dickey

43. A Dance to the Music of Time (series) by Anthony Powell

44. Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley

45. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

46. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

47. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

48. The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence

49. Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence

50. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

51. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

52. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

53. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

54. Light in August by William Faulkner

55. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

56. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

57. Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford

58. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

59. Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm

60. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

61. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

62. From Here to Eternity by James Jones

63. The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever

64. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

65. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

66. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

67. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

68. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

69. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

70. The Alexandria Quartet: Justine/Balthazar/Mountolive/Clea by Lawrence Durell

71. A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes

72. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

73. The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

74. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

75. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

76. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

77. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

78. Kim by Rudyard Kipling

79. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

80. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

81. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

82. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

83. A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul

84. The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

85. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

86. Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

87. The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett

88. Call of the Wild by Jack London

89. Loving by Henry Green

90. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

91. Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

92. Ironweed by William Kennedy

93. The Magus by John Fowles

94. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

95. Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

96. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

97. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

98. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

99. The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy

100. The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (Seen the Play)

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2 comments on “Random House Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels
  1. Gene Bricker says:

    I can’t believe the jurors did not include “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. Her prophetic novel was one of the most influential books ever written according to a Library of Congress survey in 1990?

  2. Steph says:

    The Random House list isn’t based on popular or even influential. It’s based on quality writing. Atlas Shrugged is anything but that. Rand is popular because of her political opinions. She only got the gig writing because she was Cecile B. DeMilles’ mistress. She didn’t exactly succeed on her own merits. Or at least, not on the merits of her writing, anyway.

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