Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century

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The 100 Books of the Century (French: Les cent livres du siècle) is a list of the hundred most memorable books of the 20th century, regardless of language, according to a poll performed during the spring of 1999 by the French retailer Fnac and the Paris newspaper Le Monde.


Starting from a preliminary list of 200 titles created by bookshops and journalists, 17,000 French participants responded to the question, "Which books have stuck in your mind?" (Quels livres sont restés dans votre mémoire?) As Le Monde journalist Josyane Savigneau aptly clarified in her article, the list is not meant to encompass the 100 most distinguished French literary works of the 20th century, but rather to reflect the emotional connections of the French populace.[1]

The list includes both classic novels and genre fiction (Tolkien, Agatha Christie, A. C. Doyle), as well as poetry, drama and nonfiction literature (Freud's essays and the diary of Anne Frank). There are also comic books on the list, one album from each of these five Francophone or Italian series: Asterix, Tintin, Blake and Mortimer, Gaston and Corto Maltese. The large number of French novels of the list is due to the demographics of the surveyed group.[citation needed]

Likewise, comparable lists by English language sources—such as the two lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels published in 1998, one by the Board of the Modern Library and the other by readers who responded—disproportionately favour British and American authors. Non-English language works were not eligible for the two Modern Library lists.[citation needed]


No. Title Author Year Language
1 The Stranger
The Outsider
Albert Camus 1942 French
2 In Search of Lost Time
Remembrance of Things Past
Marcel Proust 191327 French
3 The Trial Franz Kafka 1925 German
4 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1943 French
5 Man's Fate André Malraux 1933 French
6 Journey to the End of the Night Louis-Ferdinand Céline 1932 French
7 The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck 1939 English
8 For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway 1940 English
9 Le Grand Meaulnes Alain-Fournier 1913 French
10 Froth on the Daydream Boris Vian 1947 French
11 The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir 1949 French
12 Waiting for Godot Samuel Beckett 1952 French
13 Being and Nothingness Jean-Paul Sartre 1943 French
14 The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco 1980 Italian
15 The Gulag Archipelago Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1973 Russian
16 Paroles Jacques Prévert 1946 French
17 Alcools Guillaume Apollinaire 1913 French
18 The Blue Lotus Hergé 1936 French
19 The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank 1947 Dutch
20 Tristes Tropiques Claude Lévi-Strauss 1955 French
21 Brave New World Aldous Huxley 1932 English
22 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 1949 English
23 Asterix the Gaul René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo 1959 French
24 The Bald Soprano Eugène Ionesco 1952 French
25 Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality Sigmund Freud 1905 German
26 The Abyss
Zeno of Bruges
Marguerite Yourcenar 1968 French
27 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov 1955 English
28 Ulysses James Joyce 1922 English
29 The Tartar Steppe Dino Buzzati 1940 Italian
30 The Counterfeiters André Gide 1925 French
31 The Horseman on the Roof Jean Giono 1951 French
32 Belle du Seigneur Albert Cohen 1968 French
33 One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez 1967 Spanish
34 The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner 1929 English
35 Thérèse Desqueyroux François Mauriac 1927 French
36 Zazie in the Metro Raymond Queneau 1959 French
37 Confusion of Feelings Stefan Zweig 1927 German
38 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell 1936 English
39 Lady Chatterley's Lover D.H. Lawrence 1928 English
40 The Magic Mountain Thomas Mann 1924 German
41 Bonjour Tristesse Françoise Sagan 1954 French
42 Le Silence de la mer Vercors 1942 French
43 Life: A User's Manual Georges Perec 1978 French
44 The Hound of the Baskervilles Arthur Conan Doyle 190102 English
45 Under the Sun of Satan Georges Bernanos 1926 French
46 The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925 English
47 The Joke Milan Kundera 1967 Czech
48 Contempt/A Ghost at Noon Alberto Moravia 1954 Italian
49 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Agatha Christie 1926 English
50 Nadja André Breton 1928 French
51 Aurélien Louis Aragon 1944 French
52 The Satin Slipper Paul Claudel 1929 French
53 Six Characters in Search of an Author Luigi Pirandello 1921 Italian
54 The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Bertolt Brecht 1941 German
55 Friday Michel Tournier 1967 French
56 The War of the Worlds H.G. Wells 1898[a] English
57 If This Is a Man
Se questo è un uomo, Survival in Auschwitz
Primo Levi 1947 Italian
58 The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien 195455 English
59 The Tendrils of the Vine Colette 1908 French
60 Capital of Pain Paul Éluard 1926 French
61 Martin Eden Jack London 1909 English
62 The Ballad of the Salty Sea Hugo Pratt 1967 Italian
63 Writing Degree Zero Roland Barthes 1953 French
64 The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum Heinrich Böll 1974 German
65 The Opposing Shore Julien Gracq 1951 French
66 The Order of Things Michel Foucault 1966 French
67 On the Road Jack Kerouac 1957 English
68 The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Selma Lagerlöf 190607 Swedish
69 A Room of One's Own Virginia Woolf 1929 English
70 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury 1950 English
71 The Ravishing of Lol Stein Marguerite Duras 1964 French
72 The Interrogation J.M.G. Le Clézio 1963 French
73 Tropisms Nathalie Sarraute 1939 French
74 Journal, 1887–1910 Jules Renard 1925 French
75 Lord Jim Joseph Conrad 1900 English
76 Écrits Jacques Lacan 1966 French
77 The Theatre and Its Double Antonin Artaud 1938 French
78 Manhattan Transfer John Dos Passos 1925 English
79 Ficciones Jorge Luis Borges 1944 Spanish
80 Moravagine Blaise Cendrars 1926 French
81 The General of the Dead Army Ismail Kadare 1963 Albanian
82 Sophie's Choice William Styron 1979 English
83 Gypsy Ballads Federico García Lorca 1928 Spanish
84 The Strange Case of Peter the Lett Georges Simenon 1931 French
85 Our Lady of the Flowers Jean Genet 1944 French
86 The Man Without Qualities Robert Musil 193042 German
87 Furor and Mystery René Char 1948 French
88 The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger 1951 English
89 No Orchids For Miss Blandish James Hadley Chase 1939 English
90 Blake and Mortimer Edgar P. Jacobs 1950 French
91 The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge Rainer Maria Rilke 1910 German
92 Second Thoughts Michel Butor 1957 French
93 The Origins of Totalitarianism
The Burden of Our Time
Hannah Arendt 1951 English
94 The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov 1967 Russian
95 The Rosy Crucifixion Henry Miller 194960 English
96 The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler 1939 English
97 Amers Saint-John Perse 1957 French
98 Gaston
Gomer Goof
André Franquin 1957 French
99 Under the Volcano Malcolm Lowry 1947 English
100 Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie 1981 English

Note: Classified by the language of the book's first publication, which might not be the author's principal language.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Included because it was not published in French until 1900.


  1. ^ Savigneau, Josyane (15 October 1999). "Écrivains et choix sentimentaux" [Authors and sentimental choices]. Le Monde (in French). Archived from the original on 27 May 2012.

External links[edit]