The Radcliffe Publishing Course's "100 Best Novels of the 20th Century"
On July 21, 1998, the Radcliffe Publishing Course compiled and released its own list of the century’s top 100 novels to counter the "Modern Library’s own top 100 novels" list.
(As a student at RPC in the Summer of 1997, I participated in the creation of this list. In case anyone is curious, here is the method by which the list was created: all of the students in the course that year – reasonably intelligent kids who’d just finished undergrad degrees, primarily English majors, but there were a couple of older students and a few from other disciplines – were asked to submit a list of their 10 favorite works of fiction. These were all compiled and the 100 which appeared most often among the submitted favorites ended up on this list. And I think some of the books may have shown up if they received even 2 or 3 votes, because there were simply not that many students. So, basically, it’s a reflection of the top-of-mind tastes (and sometimes the elitist bravado) of fresh-out-of-college English majors heading into the publishing industry. There was no discussion or debate about the merits of including any of the books over others. It was just a compilation of the favorites we submitted. I still think it’s an interesting list, but I do think it’s relevant to take into consideration how it came to be.)
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