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marco asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

Epic Novels i.e. War and Peace?

although I know this isn't the proper term, I'm looking for epic novels

so far I've read The Magic Mountain, Les Miserables, Don Quijote, War and Peace, The Illiad, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, and Brothers Karamazov

I've also tried Ulysses and Remembrance of Things Past, but I can't beat them....

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here are a few. I tried to follow a looser definition of "epic" as exemplified by, say, The Magic Mountain.

    The 1,001 Nights (aka The Arabian Nights) -- various translations

    The Tale of Genji -- Murasaki Shikibu (aka Lady Murasaki)

    The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (aka Three Kingdoms) -- Luo Guanzhong

    The Satyricon -- Petronius

    Simplicius Simplicissimus -- Grimmelshausen

    Tristram Shandy -- Laurence Sterne (mock-epic, and really mock-everything-else!)

    Mardi -- Herman Melville

    Uncle Tom's Cabin -- Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Lost Illusions -- Balzac

    La Regenta -- Clarin

    Buddenbrooks -- Thomas Mann (Be sure to get most recent translations.)

    Joseph and His Brothers -- ditto

    Parade's End -- Ford Madox Ford

    The Master of Hestviken (tetralogy) -- Sigrid Undset

    The Forsyte Saga -- John Galsworthy

    An American Tragedy -- Theodore Dreiser

    Les Thibaults -- Roger Martin du Gard (in two volumes, Les Thibaults and Summer 1914)

    Petersburg (aka St. Petersburg) -- Andrei Bely (last name might be spelled differently)

    Finnegans Wake -- James Joyce (You might as well try a few pages. It can be awfully fun.)

    Magister Ludi (aka The Glass Bead Game) -- Hermann Hesse

    The Man Without Qualities -- Robert Musil

    "War Trilogy" -- J. G. Farrell


    *The Siege of Krishnapur

    *The Singapore Grip

    A Dance to the Music of Time -- Anthony Powell

    Absalom! Absalom! -- William Faulkner

    The Alexandria Quartet -- Lawrence Durrell

    Memoirs of Hadrian -- Marguerite Yourcenar

    The Tin Drum -- Gunter Grass

    The Dune series (sci-fi) -- Frank Herbert (Read at least Dune.)

    The Foundation series (sci-fi) -- Isaac Asimov (Read at least the 1st three.)

    Midnight's Children -- Salman Rushdie

    Gravity's Rainbow -- Thomas Pynchon

    The Recognitions -- William Gaddis

    The Golden Notebook -- Doris Lessing

    Canopus in Argos: Archives -- Doris Lessing

    100 Years of Solitude -- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    The Master and Margarita -- Mikhail Bulgakov

    almost anything by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

    Regeneration Trilogy -- Pat Barker

    Underworld -- Don DeLillo

    Infinite Jest -- David Foster Wallace

    The Atlas -- William Vollmann

    Haiti Trilogy:

    *All Souls' Rising -- Madison Smartt Bell

    *Master of the Crossroads -- ditto

    *The Stone that the Builder Refused -- ditto

    You might enjoy these as well, even though non-fiction:

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich -- William Shirer

    The Anatomy of Melancholy -- Robert Burton

    John Maynard Keynes -- Robert Skidelsky

    James Joyce -- Richard Ellmann (might help with Ulysses---and Finnegans Wake---later on)

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra -- Friedrich Nietzsche

    BTW, if you decide to tackle Proust again, if you read the first two, that would be just fine. The second novel really is the best, but it's only that good because of what it builds on in the first.

    (And I presume you know all about the tons of nice fat Victorian English novels out there. Don't forget Trollope and Thackeray!)

    Have fun!

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  • 4 years ago

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy? I devour books, any sort, any time, any place. I also love the Lord of the Rings films and have read the Hobbit several times since being a child. But I've still not finished this book... So it must be pretty epic in one way or another! I also think Tolkiens style is interesting. The fact that he invented a whole set of new races, because as a linguist first, author second, he wanted a new language. He then needed a race to have this language, and that race needed a history, which needed other races, which needed countries, etc. Fascinating.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The other two answerers have written great ones.

    I would like to add that you can read many classics online for free and legally, and given your reading appetite (from what you have described) it should be a good thing for you to have.

    So I thought I would recommend you WebLiterature.Net - a place where you get a great set of classics for free reading. In fact, all the ones you mentioned there (no exception) are available in WebLiterature, and of course many more of similar levels.

    Here is WebLiterature for you:

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  • 1 decade ago

    Oh my, the poster above me beated me with the number of novels listed.

    He didn't list, however, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.


    And Dante's Divine Comedy. Or the Grapes of Wrath, or East of Eden.

    Good luck!

    Try reading some of Gogol's stuff.

    I wish I could read those book that you've read and the poster above me posted, but I don't feel ready yet.

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