Greatest 20th century novels
Will they, won’t they? Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1993 film of The Age of Innocence. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Columbia
Compiling a list of the 100 classic reads of the 20th century to digest is an arbitrary task. As it is more rewarding to parody books with which people are familiar, my own selection has been conservative, reflecting the consensual view of the western literary canon rather than trying to reshape it.
I limited every author to a single book and each decade to 10 books. Inevitably there will have been omissions. Here I edited the list still further. But surely no one would quibble with Swann's Way, The Age of Innocence, Brave New World, Lolita and Midnight's Children, would they? Would they?
Marcel Proust (1913)
For a long time, I went to bed early. For a very short time, I fooled people into believing I wrote in short sentences, yet then as I hovered in that indeterminate space between sleeping and waking, as after metempsychosis thoughts of an earlier existence are unintelligible, the memory of my bedroom in Combray came flooding back, which is more than the servants did, whose absence seemed to emanate from a Merovingian past, leaving me to wonder whether Mama would come to kiss me goodnight before M Swann, whose prolonged absences with M de Charlus you might have chosen for yourself before embarking on this book, arrived for dinner, a dinner of madeleine cakes from which still clearer memories of my childhood, though refracted through a very adult voice, came racing back.
Combray is no location for a writer steeped in the semiotics of Bergotte, whose desire to recreate through a memory that informs our comprehension of ourselves and yet somehow obscures it, creating an epic, some say endless stream of consciousness that reminds me, as the fragment of the Vinteuil sonata I caught through the very window that some years later I was to overhear the violinist's daughter and her woman lover, while walking along the way by Swann to observe the church's steeple, of the devotion of Françoise to Aunt Léonie, whose frailty more than matched my own, for it was her very hypochondria, not that one would ordinarily stoop to such a term, for the illnesses in our memory were of the gravest nature, hastened her passing and at whose funeral I was shocked to notice that the Duchesse de Guermantes was not quite so radiant as I had first imagined, and yet less time had passed between the imagination and the memory than I had thought, though that may not be how it feels to you.next magic set to come out maxi magic till salu magiquest magic zendikar rising magic zach magic yung gravy lyrics magic yung gravy magic your way tickets magic xxl magic x factoring magic wok magic without props magic village views magic up weight magic under the stars 2021 magic tv magic trick thru text magic to gathering magic to do pippin lyrics magic to do karaoke magic tiles magic through time medora magic the gathering arena magic shop near me magic quiz magic quadrant gartner magic proteccion contra criaturas magic poser magic past verb magic over zoom magic online magic on youtube magic on jordan card magic on 70 magic of lights vail magic of lights milwaukee magic of belle isle magic noodle magic needle magic mike magic lyrics magic kingdom tickets magic keyboard till ipad pro 12 9 magic key magic inside of you quotes magic in latin magic from the vault magic deck builder magic dance magic city atlanta magic carpet made of steel magic cafe thru magic by america magic beyond words full movie magic behind our steam trains magic before christmas magic before and after magic at mcd magic as programming magic around you happy planner magic around meaning magic around every corner magic archer deck magic about trick magic about trick kabab magic near me into magic shop book imagicle imagical