They are called classics for a reason, as I discovered after reading about 400 novels for my new book, The Novel, An Alternative History: 1600-1800 (Bloomsbury). Thousands of novels were published around the world during these two centuries as it gradually overcame poetry and the drama to become the dominant literary genre. Writers found the novel to be a convenient vehicle not only for spinning romances and adventures, but for extolling religious virtues, for telling bawdy tales, for envisioning utopias, for exploring philosophical views, for teaching manners, and even for criticizing novels. Minor classics and oddball experiments abound during this period (and are the focus of my book), but what we now call the major classics stand out for their superior artistry and intelligence. Everyone's heard of, if not read, the most famous of them (Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones, Dangerous Liaisons, etc.), but here are 10 others from this period that shouldn't be forgotten.
BEFORE YOU GO
Forgotten Classics You Need To Read