In order to give an outsider perspective on the best in British literature, we need to establish what the rest of the world sees. The British novel has influenced the world, so we’ve decided that we were going to give out an ultimate list of the greatest British novels. Throughout history, UK artists such as Charles Dickens or George Orwell have left a meaningful impact by shaping, in a way, the idea, values, and apprehensions of modern literature.
If you want to indulge or explore the greatest British novels, take a look at the list below. These are the authors who had been writing lines and imagined characters that still challenge our beliefs of society. Ranking them so, the titles have inspired the readers over a great period of time.
The classic novels are a non-exhaustive selection of books for the ones who wish for a better understanding of literature that spans over a thousand years. You’ll find some great classics that were written in the 19th century and we suggest you added these books to your reading list, in case you haven’t read them to the date.
- Middlemarch (George Eliot)
Winning a BBC Culture poll because of its quality of the writing, this novel certainly has got the ability to move, while highlighting a social change. It is perhaps the greatest psychological novel written in English, combining a solid structure with great characters. It’s all about ideas and human foibles, and each is creative and genial.
- Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens’s novel follows the life course of orphan Pip Pirrip’s who receives a mysterious inheritance and encounters an escaped convict, decrepit Miss Havisham but also her cold-hearted Estella. The sudden generosity changes the orphaned life by giving him the premises to begin a new life as a gentleman. This haunting novel is about Pip’s development as he discovers the nature of his expectations and thus the readers get to take a glimpse into the mind of the novelist.
- To the lighthouse (Virginia Wolf)
Set in a family’s summer home, the novel shifts perspectives, even mid-sentence, by recalling childhood emotions, just like the rotating beam of the lighthouse. A landmark of modernism, Woolf’s work features the maternal Mrs. Ramsay, absurd Mr. Ramsay, and their assorted guests, constructing an examination of the lurking tensions throughout the family and the marriage conflicts.
- Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)
This one is a love or hate, a classic tale of isolation, perhaps the first incarnation of the modern novel. Its impact is incontrovertible.
- White Teeth (Zadie Smith)
As it plays out its bounding course in a hair salon, an Irish poolroom, a science institute, a liberal public school and an Indian restaurant, Zadie Smith’s first novel talks mainly about race and history.
- Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)
The tumultuous life in a farmhouse is a set text for A-level English study that has plenty of drama between the characters whose inability to control their emotions seems to be leading to revenge. This novel is extremely interesting and captivating.