Best Books of the 17th Century

The best books published during the 17th century (January 1st, 1601 through December 31st 1700).

See also
Most Rated Book By Year

Best Books By Century:
21st, 20th,
19th, 18th, 17th, 16th, 15th,14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 10th,
9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th

Lists for all books by Number of Ratings:
80,000 to 99,999 - 100,000 to 199,999 - 200,000 to 499,999 - 500,000 to 999,999
1,000,000 and more
1

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4.01 avg rating — 601,065 ratings
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2

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3.89 avg rating — 549,259 ratings
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3

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3.86 avg rating — 165,914 ratings
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4

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3.80 avg rating — 108,657 ratings
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5

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3.90 avg rating — 152,917 ratings
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6

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3.88 avg rating — 265,061 ratings
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7

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3.81 avg rating — 142,995 ratings
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8

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3.66 avg rating — 141,306 ratings
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9

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3.97 avg rating — 133,802 ratings
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10

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3.99 avg rating — 81,831 ratings
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11

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3.66 avg rating — 25,877 ratings
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12

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4.43 avg rating — 179,453 ratings
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13

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3.83 avg rating — 63,522 ratings
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14

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4.24 avg rating — 67,723 ratings
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15

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3.78 avg rating — 14,898 ratings
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16

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3.79 avg rating — 46,941 ratings
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17

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4.04 avg rating — 10,871 ratings
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18

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3.96 avg rating — 9,354 ratings
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19

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3.71 avg rating — 11,064 ratings
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20

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3.75 avg rating — 6,787 ratings
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21

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3.68 avg rating — 22,405 ratings
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22

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3.67 avg rating — 10,293 ratings
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23

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3.69 avg rating — 20,949 ratings
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24

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4.19 avg rating — 9,023 ratings
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25

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3.67 avg rating — 7,259 ratings
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26

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3.98 avg rating — 10,897 ratings
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27

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4.11 avg rating — 7,207 ratings
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28

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3.68 avg rating — 30,500 ratings
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29

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3.75 avg rating — 8,036 ratings
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30

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3.43 avg rating — 7,679 ratings
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31

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4.01 avg rating — 10,334 ratings
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32

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3.56 avg rating — 5,345 ratings
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33

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3.82 avg rating — 12,201 ratings
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34

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3.56 avg rating — 190 ratings
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35

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4.74 avg rating — 297 ratings
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36

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3.64 avg rating — 8,974 ratings
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37

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4.21 avg rating — 3,942 ratings
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38

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3.74 avg rating — 4,774 ratings
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39

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3.75 avg rating — 16,193 ratings
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40

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4.21 avg rating — 1,062 ratings
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41

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4.05 avg rating — 2,420 ratings
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42

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3.69 avg rating — 4,866 ratings
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43

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3.55 avg rating — 4,636 ratings
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44

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3.61 avg rating — 10,338 ratings
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45

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4.14 avg rating — 2,569 ratings
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46

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3.71 avg rating — 10,171 ratings
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47

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3.56 avg rating — 5,768 ratings
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48

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4.30 avg rating — 28,641 ratings
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49

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3.86 avg rating — 1,596 ratings
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50

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3.67 avg rating — 25,238 ratings
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51

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3.67 avg rating — 18,346 ratings
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52

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3.68 avg rating — 3,467 ratings
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53

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3.82 avg rating — 14,234 ratings
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54

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3.71 avg rating — 1,566 ratings
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55

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4.07 avg rating — 1,098 ratings
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56

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3.64 avg rating — 11,602 ratings
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57

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3.37 avg rating — 6,185 ratings
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58

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3.67 avg rating — 1,379 ratings
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59

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3.40 avg rating — 3,589 ratings
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60

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3.64 avg rating — 2,532 ratings
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61

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3.55 avg rating — 691 ratings
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62

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2.97 avg rating — 7,461 ratings
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63

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3.65 avg rating — 1,824 ratings
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64

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3.48 avg rating — 6,306 ratings
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65

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3.36 avg rating — 2,753 ratings
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66

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4.11 avg rating — 337 ratings
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67

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3.60 avg rating — 1,268 ratings
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68

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3.82 avg rating — 211 ratings
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69

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3.72 avg rating — 1,786 ratings
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70

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3.39 avg rating — 3,161 ratings
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71

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3.75 avg rating — 648 ratings
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72

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3.26 avg rating — 315 ratings
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73

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3.80 avg rating — 3,516 ratings
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74

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3.36 avg rating — 3,120 ratings
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75

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3.67 avg rating — 2,263 ratings
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76

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3.11 avg rating — 177 ratings
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77

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3.38 avg rating — 569 ratings
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78

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3.80 avg rating — 500 ratings
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78

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3.53 avg rating — 525 ratings
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80

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3.72 avg rating — 1,116 ratings
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81

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3.38 avg rating — 320 ratings
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82

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3.16 avg rating — 1,776 ratings
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83

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3.54 avg rating — 28 ratings
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84

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3.64 avg rating — 1,556 ratings
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85

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3.46 avg rating — 72 ratings
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86

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3.44 avg rating — 357 ratings
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87

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3.24 avg rating — 96 ratings
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88

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3.60 avg rating — 2,487 ratings
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89

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4.09 avg rating — 1,979 ratings
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90

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3.52 avg rating — 897 ratings
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91

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4.13 avg rating — 223 ratings
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92

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3.93 avg rating — 148 ratings
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93

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3.77 avg rating — 980 ratings
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94

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3.47 avg rating — 674 ratings
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95

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3.52 avg rating — 25 ratings
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96

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3.86 avg rating — 2,069 ratings
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97

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3.18 avg rating — 74 ratings
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98

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2.55 avg rating — 386 ratings
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98

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2.81 avg rating — 274 ratings
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100

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3.27 avg rating — 526 ratings
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flag this list (?)
155 books · 579 voters · list created June 23rd, 2008 by deleted user.
161 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Jami 2116 books
57 friends
Michelle 7684 books
466 friends
Liz 2464 books
44 friends
Antoine 949 books
164 friends
Edith 1762 books
52 friends
abcdefg 108896 books
266 friends
jeanie 628 books
9 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 2971 books
737 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-43 of 43) (43 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Antoine (new)

Antoine moliere is excluded!


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Not anymore -- but plenty of books still are (Ben Jonson's plays, for one). Whenever a given book page says that the book was "first published" in a year other than that of its REAL initial publication (e.g., because the text edition in question was first published in the year stated), you can't put that book on the list. And it gets worse the further back you go in history ...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I think most of Ben Jonson is now kosher.

Anyone else?


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Just about every Jacobean playwright of note. Middleton, Fletcher, Beaumont, Webster, Ford ... the lot. (Same goes for the Restoration poets and dramatists: Davenant, Wycherly, and most of Congreve; to name just some of them.)

Don't rush to do this, though -- I'm sure there are plenty of better things to keep you busy. Not that those who care about this aren't profoundly grateful for your labors! (Well, I am, anyway ...)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads John Webster, check.

(And there seem to be about 5 authors named "John Webster" all lumped together! This one, a theologian, a guy who writes about fungi and dairy cows, etc.)


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Ugh -- what a mess. All the more: ThankYouThankYouThankYou!!


message 7: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 30, 2009 11:39AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Beaumont and Fletcher, check.

Half of Fletcher's listing is a guy who's an expert on Samuel Beckett. And a novelist, and a guy who reviews cars.


message 8: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks Isn't 1633 the seventeenth century? I've been trying to add The Temple by George Herbert and am told it was not published during the seventeenth century.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "Beaumont and Fletcher, check.

Half of Fletcher's listing is a guy who's an expert on Samuel Beckett. And a novelist, and a guy who reviews cars."


Susanna, you deserve a medal for this ...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yeah, somehow it thought The Temple was first published in 1927.

Fixed.


message 11: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Shakespeare's First Folio, 1623, 2nd 1632, 3rd 1664, 4th 1687 all published during 17th (obviously) and all available for viewing (look but don't touch) in the States especially at he Widener in Harvard and he Folger in Wash, D.C. I'm steamed and frustrated.....If Goodreads can't sell it, seems they don't want to acknowledge its existence


message 12: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn LONG OVERDUE THANKS TO LOBSTERGIRL and UNKNOWN. Thanks for fighting the good fight. "Goodreads doesn't care about Antiquarians" (bumper sticker).


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Uh, the individual plays of Shakespeare should be eligible. A number of them are on this list, in fact. (Others are on the 16th Century List.)

Also, I changed the original publication date of The Anatomy of Melancholy to 1621.


message 14: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn If Goodreads is an example of "viral marketting", maybe what we have in this thread of comments is ......a "retrovirus" ?


message 15: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Thom wrote: "If Goodreads is an example of "viral marketting", maybe what we have in this thread of comments is ......a "retrovirus" ?"

Oh, now that was just terrible...


message 16: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Stuart wrote: "Thom wrote: "If Goodreads is an example of "viral marketting", maybe what we have in this thread of comments is ......a "retrovirus" ?"

Oh, now that was just terrible..."


Many have told me my humor is something less than....infectious.

(Sorry all around, and God bless are there, Thom)


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Thom wrote: "If Goodreads is an example of "viral marketting", maybe what we have in this thread of comments is ......a "retrovirus" ?"

LOL! I like it. ;-)




Susanna - Censored by GoodReads John Ford, check.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "John Ford, check."

Did I already mention that you deserve a medal for this?


message 20: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl In defense of the people who first entered data on GR, it was probably unclear that the "first published" field actually meant first ever publication of the work, rather than first publication of a particular edition. I think the fields are now clearer, but many incorrect dates remain.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads And a lot of it's Amazons' fault, I think, on the ones brought over by ISBN.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thomas Middleton, check.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna, you're a star.

(And both you and Lobstergirl are probably right on how this mess came about in the first place.)


message 24: by Alessandra (new)

Alessandra Glad to see some favorite restoration dramas here. I've added a 1637 Chinese book on technology, if nonfiction is okay. I, too, had to deal with the "originally published" field, which had the date of Dover's first printing of it. But I figure unless it had to have been translated into English in the 17th century, it should be okay. Besides, it's just neat.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Alessandra wrote: "Glad to see some favorite restoration dramas here. I've added a 1637 Chinese book on technology, if nonfiction is okay. I, too, had to deal with the "originally published" field, which had the da..."

Chinese technology in the 17th century -- now THAT sounds intriguing indeed!!


message 26: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo I honestly believe that this is seriously biassed list. But I also think that it is only natural. Should such a list have been proposen in Germany, France, Italy or my country, Spain, the result would have been correspondingly different, with a biass of their own. But, thank you nonetheless. It is very useful to me. I'll try adding some Spanish ones, which in my opinion are worthy of being in this list.


message 27: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Ricardo, you should add whatever works you want. There's no intended bias; people add the works they're familiar with.


message 28: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo I apologize if it did sound a bit bitter. Of course the bias was not intended. I just wrote that comment because when I read the list (which, I admit, I found because I was looking for something similar) I wondered if such a thing as the title proposes, a ranking of the best books written in the 17th century, is possible. I will add my own favourites (and there will be a bias in that list too), but I struggle with the concept of ranking for books. Their sales can be measured, but that is no measure for quality. And, how is quality measured once we go beyond good and bad? Where is the line thrown for a 100% good, or just 99% good? How do we do or do not take into account our own cultural influences? I apologize again if my previous comment sounded as negative, because that was not my intention. It was more than anything a simple thought about the matter, and briefly expressed. Once again, thank you for the list, because it did in fact help me.


message 29: by Bu (new)

Bu Where is Don Quixote by Cervantes?????


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads At #2, currently. Right behind Hamlet.


message 31: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Page Doctor Faustus and Richard III are on both this list and the best books of the 16th century... Hmmmm... Something's gone wrong there.


message 32: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Marlowe's Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, according to wiki, although first performed c. 1592. I think it should be left on the list, definitely.

I removed Richard III.


message 33: by Mel (new)

Mel Foster William Bradford's On Plymouth Plantation(includes Mayflower Compact & First Thanksgiving), anything by John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, almost anything by Roger Williams is unavailable because of mislisting of first publication dates. Thanks!


message 34: by Mel (new)

Mel Foster Also the Reina-Valera was published in 1602. Significant translation of the Bible


message 35: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Mel wrote: "William Bradford's On Plymouth Plantation(includes Mayflower Compact & First Thanksgiving), anything by John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, almost anything by Roger Williams is unavailable because of m..."

If you go over to the Librarians Group and link to each book in question, they can correct that for you.


message 36: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I got "Of Plymouth Plantation."


message 37: by Mel (new)

Mel Foster Thanks Lobstergirl! I added an edition to John Woolman's Journal, but I don't know if that will do it.


message 38: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I see that one was published posthumously in 1774, so it wouldn't be eligible for this list.

Best thing to do is post in Librarians Group. You don't have to be a GR librarian to post there but you do have to be a group member.


message 39: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Hill The King James Version of the Bible was based on William Tyndale's English translation in the 1500's from [what he knew of] ancient Hebrew and Greek (not all the copies were burned!). Much of Tyndale's beautiful language is retained. The King James' committee massaged it, making it (primarily) politically correct for its time. I don't think "Anonymous" is the appropriate author.


message 40: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Hill I don't understand why Shakespeare is in this century. His plays were reproduced and produced for public consumption during his lifetime. One of the things I love about these lists "per century" is being able to absorb the flavor of discourse and leisure from century to century. Shakespeare just doesn't belong here.


message 41: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Lyn wrote: "I don't understand why Shakespeare is in this century. His plays were reproduced and produced for public consumption during his lifetime. One of the things I love about these lists "per century" is..."

Some of his works are on this list, some of them are on Best Books of the 16th century.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/52


message 42: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Lyn wrote: "The King James Version of the Bible was based on William Tyndale's English translation in the 1500's from [what he knew of] ancient Hebrew and Greek (not all the copies were burned!). Much of Tynda..."

Undoubtedly you are right, but it is a Goodreads convention for sacred texts like the Bible to have Anonymous as author. There were long discussions about this in the Librarian Group, beginning years ago. You can go there and search for them and read them.


message 43: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Hill Ah. Thank you for clarifying that. It sounds like a good compromise.


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