04 April 2012

The Times Literary Supplement's 100 Most Influential Books Since the War

Someone posted a link on Facebook to a list of the most influential books since the Second World War.

The Times Literary Supplement's 100 Most Influential Books Since the War

I found it interesting to see how few I had read, yet I have probably seen the thought of many of them retailed by other writers. It doesn't say whether the influence was good or bad -- that's probably a "readerly" decision, as the postmodernists might say.

The ones I have read are:
  • Albert Camus: The Outsider
  • Arthur Koestler: Darkness at Noon
  • George Orwell: Animal Farm
  • George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-four
  • Norman Cohn: The Pursuit of the Millennium
  • Boris Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago

That's not much out of a list of 100, only 6%, but I suppose "influential" means that the thought of those books has also permeated other books. I have, for example, read many books that cite Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, though I haven't read Kuhn's book myself.

I also don't know how the list was compiled, or who compiled it, though perhaps it says that elsewhere on the site.


David Keen said...

Thanks for the link - looks like it was mostly put together by the politics and sociology faculty. It's interesting how few novels are cited here - Orwell and Solzenitskin, but no Kerouac, Heller, Coupland etc. There's also very little 'popular', mass-market stuff (e.g. the vast body of self-help literature)

I still reckon the Bible has influenced more people than any of these!

Steve Hayes said...

And if you're looking at mass-market stuff, wasn't James Bond hugely influential? Who didn't know about 007?

CherryPie said...

I have only read on that list...

James Higham said...

I should think Orwell will become even more influential as we go on.


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