Best British and Irish Literature

Best fiction by British and Irish authors.
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30

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32

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45

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50

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51

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52

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60

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61

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 76,565 ratings
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68

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69

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70

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71

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81

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82

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86

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88

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89

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98

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1,056 books · 1,065 voters · list created January 11th, 2009 by Melinda.
308 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Greyweather 2650 books
72 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3129 books
821 friends
Bettie 15336 books
119 friends
Choya 860 books
54 friends
Furqan 950 books
125 friends
Ricki 4038 books
1474 friends
Lazarus 3554 books
422 friends
Ashley 4550 books
530 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 65 (65 new)


message 1: by Abi (new)

Abi Neither Shakespeare nor Chaucer was British. Britain was founded in 1707 with the union between Scotland and England.


message 2: by John (new)

John Burns Hmmm, splitting hairs perhaps?


message 3: by Hazel (new)

Hazel I tend to think of Henry James as an American author. Is it just me?


message 4: by John (last edited Jul 17, 2009 12:42PM) (new)

John Burns he lived in england i think. Thats enough. I think he's eligible for English and american status really.

This list is weak.


message 5: by Hazel (new)

Hazel But his writing was American wasn't it(I guess I mean in style.)? And his leading characters were often if not always American, weren't they? Wasn't he usually thinking about an American viewpoint? Or am I perhaps not remembering all his books?


message 6: by John (new)

John Burns What about the turn of the screw?

Anyway, it's besides the point. The list says "best fiction by british authors". it doesnt mention anything about "best fiction written in a british idiom".


message 7: by Hazel (new)

Hazel You misunderstand my point. I was commenting on my perception of James as an American author, and considering why I might have perceived him that way.


message 8: by John (last edited Aug 01, 2009 06:59AM) (new)

John Burns We can't have the complete novels of Jane Austen AND pride and prejudice. I'll remove the complete novels.

God, this list is awful.


message 9: by Hayes (last edited Aug 01, 2009 01:02PM) (new)

Hayes whatsa matter with it? too horizontal? (authors grouped in single time period), too many dead white authors? what are you driving at?

I can't figure out how to add books to the list... it looks like I have to vote on the ones that are already there, which may be part of the problem.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Henry James, I believe, was American, but took British citizenship at some point. Can't remember when, offhand.


message 11: by John (last edited Aug 01, 2009 02:15PM) (new)

John Burns Hayes wrote: "whatsa matter with it? too horizontal? (authors grouped in single time period), too many dead white authors? what are you driving at?

I can't figure out how to add books to the list... it looks li..."


I can't believe the number of listopia users who can't figure out how to add books. Half the lists I've ever seen feature copmplaints about not being able to add books.
There's a search box in the upper right hand corner with "find/add books to list" written above it.

There definitely is too much of an emphasis here on stuffy, dead authors. British Lit isn't just about suitable boys and social faux pas.
Also there haven't been enough votes generally so it's a bit random attm.

Weirdly, until now the irish lit list had about 3 times as many votes as this list.


message 12: by Hayes (new)

Hayes If you don't like the way people are voting you can accept it or not accept it, but I think, frankly, that you should a) stop taking it personally, b) stop whingeing, and c) stop being so hypercritical.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) Susanna wrote: "Henry James, I believe, was American, but took British citizenship at some point. Can't remember when, offhand."

Susanna, Henry James became a British citizen in 1915. However, when he died of pneumonia in 1916, following a stroke, he was buried in Massachusetts. You had the right of it. Cheers! Chris


message 14: by John (new)

John Burns Deleted animal farm/1984 because the separate volumes appeared higher up.


message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary What?? No Kingsley Amis?? No George MacDonald Fraser? For that matter, no Ruth Rendell? Surely there are others here who suspect that some halfway decent literature might've leaked out of the UK since about, oh, 1960?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Then why don't you vote for them yourself?


message 17: by Travis (new)

Travis It saddens me to see Anne Bronte so poorly represented when she's every bit as good as her sisters.


message 18: by John (new)

John Burns Travis wrote: "It saddens me to see Anne Bronte so poorly represented when she's every bit as good as her sisters."

True. You hear tht there were 3 bronte sisters and most readers could probably name them but "the tenant of wildfell hall?" wth is that? I've honestly never heard of it before. I think Anne's poems are reasonably well known though...

Anyway, IMO, Wuthering heights sucked. Its not exactly a high watermark anne has to aspire to.


message 19: by John (new)

John Burns Mary wrote: "What?? No Kingsley Amis?? No George MacDonald Fraser? For that matter, no Ruth Rendell? Surely there are others here who suspect that some halfway decent literature might've leaked out of the UK s..."

1. Theres actually quite a few post 1960 books in this list. You just have to scroll down a bit. You can't expect relatively modern novels to compete with old classics in a popularity contest.

2. Why don't you add some books yourself?

3. Lucky jim is at #73


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) Travis wrote: "It saddens me to see Anne Bronte so poorly represented when she's every bit as good as her sisters."

Travis, I agree; and that's why I added The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to the list. I loved that book so much! Cheers! Chris


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Harry Potter (#13) is most certainly post-1960, but probably not what you were thinking about!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed The Jungle - Upton Sinclair was American.


message 23: by Doris (new)

Doris And the Pratchett books are post-1960. And the Ian McEwan books...


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

V for Vendetta is ranked higher than King Lear? Honestly!


message 25: by Lisa (last edited Mar 26, 2010 09:17PM) (new)

Lisa I notice that this list doesn't include any 'British' writers writing about the Indian subcontinent or the Caribbean even though some of them have lived in Britain for a very long time e.g. V.S. Naipaul (In a Free State) or were born in Britain e.g. Andrea (Small Island) Levy. I wonder if this is because we are reluctant to claim these authors as British - perhaps because we're not sure if that's how expats or people whose heritage is from these places identify themselves? What a confused concept nationality has become!


message 26: by John (last edited Apr 21, 2010 05:57AM) (new)

John Burns Logan wrote: "V for Vendetta is ranked higher than King Lear? Honestly!"

Shakespeares works are voted for collectively rather than singularly here. The collected works of shakespeare are #4 on this list. Besides, nothing wrong with V. It is a superb work of literature.


message 27: by John (new)

John Burns Lisa wrote: "I notice that this list doesn't include any 'British' writers writing about the Indian subcontinent or the Caribbean even though some of them have lived in Britain for a very long time e.g. V.S. Na..."

Perhaps ppl arent sure wether those writers are actually british or not.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

I like V for Vendetta, but, as far as I'm concerned, Shakespeare should rank as first, and blow all other literature out of the water.


message 29: by Marion (new)

Marion Um...Oscar Wilde was Irish...he was born in Dublin...he lived in England but he was indeed Irish. This list is definitely out of control...I love it...


message 30: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 09, 2010 10:57AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The "British Isles" are an inclusive term for the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, etc. For the entire archipelago. There are currently two nations splitting control of these islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, and the Republic of Ireland.


message 31: by Marion (new)

Marion Sigh...Oscar Wilde was born in Ireland...that means he's Irish.

http://www.online-literature.com/wilde/

It says he's an "Irish dramatist, poet, and author."


message 32: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 09, 2010 01:03PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Then don't vote for him.

At any rate, Mr. Wilde lived and died a subject of Queen Victoria.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Also, you must remember that Wilde was not part of the so-called Irish Renaissance. He, like James Joyce and G.B. Shaw, became a man of Britain and the wider world. Wilde wrote for Britain, not for Ireland.


message 34: by Azhar7n (last edited Jun 15, 2010 11:09AM) (new)

Azhar7n Both Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde are Irish authors, not British ones


message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 16, 2010 05:59AM) (new)

Azhar7n wrote: "Both Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde are Irish authors, not British ones"

Did you not just read the post I posted directly above this complaint? Anyway, a lot of you are putting too much emphasis on birth. I should consider T.S. Eliot a British writer.


message 36: by Joe (new)

Joe J K Rowling is better than Golding, Dickens, and Eliot? Than both Kingsley and Martin Amis, Anne Bronte, Anthony Powell, Evelyn Waugh, A. S. Byatt, Doris Lessing, V. S. Naiupal, P G Wodehouse, Muriel Spark, Salman Rushdie, Iris Murdoch, John Galsworthy, Alduous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, J. G. Ballard, Agatha Christie, D H Lawrence, HEnry Fielding, John Fowles, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Joseph Conrad, Jerome K. Jerome, Christopher Marlowe, Grahame Green, Arthur Conan Doyle, Douglas Adams, Richard Adams, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Malory, Zadie Smith, E. M. Forster, Tom Stoppard, Peter Shaffer, Julian Barnes, Geoffrey Chaucer, Lewis Carroll, R. L. Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Milton, and Elizabeth Gaskell . And if Irish authors count, which they appear to, is Rowling really better than JAMES JOYCE? Oscar Wilde? Samuel Beckett? Jonathan Swift?

I love Harry Potter, it's a good story, and it's pretty well written, but if people really think HP is the tenth greatest British novel ever, then i have lost faith in the intelligence of mankind.


message 37: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 19, 2010 11:04AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Well, Harry Potter is certainly more widely read, which is what this list really measures. Also it is below Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, George Orwell, the Brontes, and Oscar Wilde, who were all pretty good writers.

And hey, no Twilight!


message 38: by Susan (new)

Susan Killthepopular wrote: "We can't have the complete novels of Jane Austen AND pride and prejudice. I'll remove the complete novels.

God, this list is awful."


There's an "Add books to this list" tab at the top of the list. Click it and you can add books with the 'Add books from: my books or a search' links.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed:

Mary Poppins (P.L. Travers was Australian)


message 40: by Pauline (new)

Pauline Killthepopular wrote: "Logan wrote: "V for Vendetta is ranked higher than King Lear? Honestly!"

Shakespeares works are voted for collectively rather than singularly here. The collected works of shakespeare are #4 on thi..."


I am surprised how often 'Complete Works' by prolific authors are listed on Goodreads. I don't add 'Complete Works' to the books I have read unless I really have read the COMPLETE works. Still missing 8 plays and some poetry till I can honestly rate Shakespeare's 'Complete Works' --- I wonder if all the 102 who have voted have indeed read the full canon? To be honest I think that some Shakespeare is unmatched genius and some is less impressive, although the remaining works would have to be pretty poor for me to drop an overall rating to lower than 5. It would be more consistent if we rated the plays singly rather than as a group, since this list seems to be rating books rather than authors (cf. 'Pride and Prejudice' rather than 'The Complete Works of Jane Austen' at the head of the list)


message 41: by Pauline (new)

Pauline McGonagle Susanna wrote: "The "British Isles" are an inclusive term for the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, etc. For the entire archipelago. There are currently two nations splitting control of these i..."
O dear I will have to redo my list then- left all the Irish authors off. To be honest- the more I look at these lists the dafter they are


message 42: by Duncan (new)

Duncan Pauline wrote: "Susanna wrote: "The "British Isles" are an inclusive term for the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, etc. For the entire archipelago. There are currently two nations splitting co..."

i'll choose to list by authors who originally wrote in english .... i suppose that would include all the colonies inc. USA etc. after all aren't they all "British" anyway ;)


message 43: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Epps hello, i am a senior in high school and my english teacher wants me to put a list together of books that our class should read. does anyone have suggestions?


message 44: by Yasmin (new)

Yasmin Oscar Wilde was actually Irish, but it was under British rule when he was alive.


message 45: by Oji (new)

Oji Jare How the way to download the book..?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a British novelist???


message 47: by Laura (new)

Laura Susanna wrote: "Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a British novelist???"

Not a chance!!!!


message 48: by Yasmin (new)

Yasmin Oji wrote: "How the way to download the book..?"

What book do you want to download?


message 49: by Oji (new)

Oji Jare I want all that I want, I've been joined with this site a few month ago, actually I like this site, But, I feel no use to join if I can read the book only without download. I've no much time to online or sit in front of computer.


message 50: by Yasmin (new)

Yasmin Well if you don't have much time on the computer than you can read a book the traditional way, with it in your hands.


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