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Thread: Ten Greatest American Novels or Novellas

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    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    Ten Greatest American Novels or Novellas

    I'm sure this list is on this site somewhere but I wasn't able to find it, so I'll make a new list

    I think the following are the ten best American novels or novellas:

    1. Moby Dick
    2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    3. The Scarlet Letter
    4. Sancutary
    5. The Old Man and the Sea
    6. Look Homeward Angel
    7. The Great Gatsby
    8. The Turn of the Screw
    9. Gravity's Rainbow
    10. The Grapes of Wrath
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I could get behind most of these.

    I'd substitute Old Man and the Sea with For Whom the Bell Tolls, get rid of Scarlet Letter, and add in The Recognitions

    It's hard to think of Henry James as an American writer, though technically he is.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Perhaps On The Road belongs somewhere on that list? Just a thought.

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    Wild is the Wind Silas Thorne's Avatar
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    I'd put 'The Big Sleep' and 'Slaughterhouse Five' on my list.

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    I'm not sure how I'd compile my list (I am really not a fan of making them). All I know is that Moby Dick would be #1.

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    Cool Lists, even those made by those knowlegable in literature, . are never agreed upon ..

    One could never leave out The Scarlet Letter. The best Faukner novel is Absolem, Absolem! You've left out Sinclair Lewis, an American Nobel Prize winner. His Main Street is deserving. Steinbeck's East of Eden is better written than Grapes of Wrath. Hemingway's the Sun Also Rises rises above his other novels. And no women authors such as Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. And on and on and on.

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    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
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    There are still a few books on my shelf that I'd like to finish before I could make a personally satisfying top 10 list.

    However, I'm certain that I'd include these:
    The Sound and the Fury
    A Farewell to Arms
    The Recognitions
    The Great Gatsby


    And, I would possibly include some of these:
    On the Road
    The Awakening
    Nightwood
    The Bell Jar
    White Noise
    Slaughterhouse-Five

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    Better call Saul Anymodal's Avatar
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    I liked better 'The catcher in the rye" than 'The turn of the screw'.
    There is shadow under this red rock,
    (Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
    And I will show you something different from either
    Your shadow at morning striding behind you
    Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
    I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

    The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot

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    Registered User RetsixArp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lykren View Post
    Perhaps On The Road belongs somewhere on that list? Just a thought.
    You know what Truman Capote said of On the Road: that's not writing; that's typing.

    & To add another Delillo to White Noise, I'd replace On the Road w/ Underworld. Kerouac for me was a passing college fancy: the titles (Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels) were always more attractive than the stories beyond them.

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    A 40 Bag To Freedom E.A Rumfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetsixArp View Post
    You know what Truman Capote said of On the Road: that's not writing; that's typing.

    & To add another Delillo to White Noise, I'd replace On the Road w/ Underworld. Kerouac for me was a passing college fancy: the titles (Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels) were always more attractive than the stories beyond them.
    Capote sucks. William S. Burroughs was better than Kerouac.

    How about 1919 or Big Money by John Dos Passos. I think it's a better read than Ulysses in a similar more interesting style.
    Last edited by E.A Rumfield; 08-31-2012 at 12:41 AM.
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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Jassy, I can find no real fault with your list. Every last book is worthy of its reputation. Of course I could think of other that I would wish to include...

    William Faulkner- As I Lay Dying
    Edith Wharton- The Age of Innocence
    Nathanael West- Miss Lonelyhearts
    Saul Bellow- The Adventures of Augie March
    Vladimir Nabokov- Lolita
    Gore Vidal- Myra Breckenridge
    Cormac McCarthy- Blood Meridian
    Philip Roth- Zuckerman Bound: A Trilogy and Epilogue

    My personal reading focuses more upon poetry, short story, and non-fiction... and American writers are perhaps even more impressive in at least the first two of these genre.
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    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    If 8. Turn of the Screw - a James' potboiler - is on the list, why not his exquisite The Golden Bowl or his seamless novella The Aspern Papers?
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    Lost in the Fog PabloQ's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with The Recognitions. Who wrote it?
    I can't speak to the works on the OP's list that I haven't read (Hawthorne, Wolfe, this specific Faulkner, this James). I'll leave Hawthorne and Wolfe alone. I'd drop James. He only qualifies as an American in that he was born here. Beyond that his novels aren't that American and, at times not that great. I'd replace him with something by Willa Cather, probably My Antonia. I'd replace Sanctuary (only because I haven't read it) with As I Lay Dying.
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    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PabloQ View Post
    I'm not familiar with The Recognitions. Who wrote it?
    William Gaddis...Easily one of the most under-appreciated 20th Century American novelists.

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    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    I guess everyone has their own list, and they all seem to differ in some respect. I wonder if there are two Americans who have the same list?
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

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