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20th Century's Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction

The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction is a popular "best of" list compiled by Larry McCaffery largely in response to the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list (1999), which McCaffery considered out of touch with 20th-century fiction. McCaffery wrote that he saw his list "as a means of sharing with readers my own views about what books are going to be read 100 or 1000 years from now".[1] The list includes many books not included in the Modern Library list, including five of his top ten, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, Robert Coover's The Public Burning, Samuel Beckett’s Trilogy (Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable), Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans, and William S. Burrough's The Nova Trilogy.

Topping the list is Vladimir Nabokov's 1962 novel Pale Fire, which McCaffery called the "most audaciously conceived novel of the century." Not counting the tetralogies of Rikki Ducornet (#35) and Gene Wolfe (#78), the most cited author is James Joyce, whose four works, Ulysses (#2), Finnegans Wake (#10), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (#21), and Dubliners (#63), all made the list. Robert Coover and William H. Gass each have three works on the list, while Samuel Delany, Don DeLillo, William Faulkner, Raymond Federman, William Gaddis, Vladimir Nabokov, and William Vollmann have two apiece.[2]


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  1. ^ Top 100 List with comments at Spineless Books' Larry McCaffery archive
  2. ^

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