Thanks to Open Culture for sharing this fascinating list. F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly wrote this list and shared it with Dorothy Richardson, his nurse at the time, who was helping him convalesce from a shoulder injury. Written in 1936, it’s interesting to consider how many of these texts are still widely read and vitally important to us today. Few have fallen from the critical landscape, and many, like Proust’s work or Faulkner or Tolstoy seem more canonical today than they perhaps did to F. Scott at the time. Of course, it’s interesting to see not a single work of Hemingway’s on the list!
Here are all the links if you’re interested in doing a little literary homework of your own:
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
The Life of Jesus by Ernest Renan
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennet.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
The Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant
Outline of Abnormal Psychology, edited by J. Gardner Murphy
The Best American Humorous Short Stories, edited by Alexander Jessup
Victory by Joseph Conrad
The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France
The plays of Oscar Wilde
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust
The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
South Wind by Norman Douglas. [FYI this one has a free Kindle download!]
The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield.
War and Peace, Tolstoy.