Best English Novels To Read
1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
A story of a man in search of truth told with the simple clarity and beauty of Bunyan’s prose make this the ultimate English classics.
2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
By the end of the 19th century, no book in English literary history had enjoyed more editions, spin-offs and translations. Crusoe’s world-famous novel is a complex literary confection, and it’s irresistible.
3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
A satirical masterpiece that’s never been out of print, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels comes third in our list of the best novels written in English
4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Clarissa is a tragic heroine, pressured by her unscrupulous nouveau-riche family to marry a wealthy man she detests, in the book that Samuel Johnson described as “the first book in the world for the knowledge it displays of the human heart.”
5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Tom Jones is a classic English novel that captures the spirit of its age and whose famous characters have come to represent Augustan society in all its loquacious, turbulent, comic variety.
6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
Laurence Sterne’s vivid novel caused delight and consternation when it first appeared and has lost little of its original bite.
7. Emma by Jane Austen
Jane Austen’s Emma is her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility.
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley’s first novel has been hailed as a masterpiece of horror and the macabre.
9. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
The great pleasure of Nightmare Abbey, which was inspired by Thomas Love Peacock’s friendship with Shelley, lies in the delight the author takes in poking fun at the romantic movement.
10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel a classic adventure story with supernatural elements – has fascinated and influenced generations of writers.
11. Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli
The future prime minister displayed flashes of brilliance that equalled the greatest Victorian novelists.
12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Brontë’s erotic, gothic masterpiece became the sensation of Victorian England. Its great breakthrough was its intimate dialogue with the reader.
13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Emily Brontë’s windswept masterpiece is notable not just for its wild beauty but for its daring reinvention of the novel form itself.
14. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
William Thackeray’s masterpiece, set in Regency England, is a bravura performance by a writer at the top of his game.
15. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield marked the point at which Dickens became the great entertainer and also laid the foundations for his later, darker masterpieces.
16. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s astounding book is full of intense symbolism and as haunting as anything by Edgar Allan Poe.
17. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Wise, funny and gripping, Melville’s epic work continues to cast a long shadow over American literature.
18. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll’s brilliant nonsense tale is one of the most influential and best loved in the English canon.
19. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Wilkie Collins’s masterpiece, hailed by many as the greatest English detective novel, is a brilliant marriage of the sensational and the realistic.
20. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott’s highly original tale aimed at a young female market has iconic status in America and never been out of print.