Modern Library 100 Best Novels
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Modern Library's 100 Best Novels is a list of the best English-language novels〔Arthur Koestler's ''Darkness at Noon'' was originally written in German, but since the original German text was lost, and German versions, published under the title ''Sonnenfinsternis'' (literally "solar eclipse") are back-translations from English, it is reasonable to consider the English version the canonical text.〕 of the 20th century as selected by the Modern Library, an American publishing company owned by Random House.
==Editors' list (20th Century Great Novels)==
In early 1998, the Modern Library polled its editorial board to find the best 100 novels of the 20th century. The board consisted of Daniel J. Boorstin, A. S. Byatt, Christopher Cerf, Shelby Foote, Vartan Gregorian, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., William Styron and Gore Vidal.
''Ulysses'' by James Joyce topped the list, followed by F. Scott Fitzgerald's ''The Great Gatsby'' and Joyce's ''A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man''. The most recent novel in the list is ''Ironweed'' (1983) by William Kennedy, and the oldest is ''Heart of Darkness'' by Joseph Conrad, which was first published in 1899. Conrad has four novels on the list, the most of any author. William Faulkner, E. M. Forster, Henry James, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and Evelyn Waugh each have three novels. There are ten other authors with two novels.
Others criticise its focus on North America and Europe.〔("The Top 100? 100 best novels list draws heavy dose of criticism" ), via CNN. By Jamie Allen, May 6, 1999〕 In addition, some contend it was a "sales gimmick," since most of the titles in the list are also sold by Modern Library.〔("Sound and Fury Over Top Novel List N.Y. publisher's selections signify little, critics say" ), ''SFGate, Steve Rubenstein, Tuesday, July 21, 1998〕 Others note that both Modern Library and Random House USA, the parent company, are US companies. Critics have argued that this is responsible for a very American view of the greatest novels. British, Canadian and Australian academics, and even Random House UK, have differing lists of "greatest novels."
The following table shows the top ten novels from the editors' list:〔
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