List of longest novels

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This is a list of the longest novels over 500,000 words published through a mainstream publisher. The longest novel is Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus, originally published (1649–54) in 10 parts, each part in three volumes. Artamène is generally attributed to Madeleine de Scudéry.[1]

Composing a list of longest novels yields different results depending on whether pages, words or characters are counted. Length of a book is typically associated with its size—specifically page count—leading many to assume the largest and thickest book equates to its length. Word counts are a direct way to measure the length of a novel by a measure that is unaffected by variations of format and page size.

Comparison of methods[edit]

Three possible ways to determine length exist and each has its own method for determining length. Character counts are at best estimations of spaces, written characters and punctuation; Guinness World Records uses this criterion.[2] Word counts is another method that counts each word and omits punctuation, but still considered an estimation for length. Using computer software to count words is the currently preferred method for academia and publications.[3] An arbitrary way is to assume that a standard formatted page with 12 pt Courier font and double-spaced lines is 250 words.[4] Due to formatting, page counts are subject to change from font, style, formatting or paper size of the published work and cannot be considered a measure of length despite it being the easiest physical indicator of length. For the purposes of this list, word counts are ideal. Page counts are a relative indicator of length; for proper comparison the page size will be included.

Novel definitions[edit]

What counts as a novel is another variable. For the purposes of the list, a "novel" is defined as a "single work" in print or electronic form that has been published through a mainstream publisher, one that has acquired publishing rights from authors. A "single work" includes works thought of as one novel by the author, but published in multiple volumes for reasons of convenience.

Excluded are self-published, printed-on-demand, vanity works, unpublished novels like Henry Darger's, series like Chronicles of Barsetshire, novel cycles such as Harry Potter, and record-grabbing stunts.

List of longest novels[edit]

Book title Author Edition/Publisher Page count Page size Word count Language Special notes
Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus Georges and/or[5] Madeleine de Scudéry Augustin Courbé, 1649–53 13,095 pages, 10 volumes[6] unknown dimensions 2,100,000 French
À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel Proust Gallimard (Collection Folio edition, 1988–1990) 3,031 pages, 7 volumes[7] 7.0 inches (17.8 cm) x 5.0 inches (12.7 cm)[8] 1,267,069[9] French Guinness World Record Holder for Longest Novel. Uses estimated character count of 9,609,000 characters.[10]
Zettels Traum Arno Schmidt Suhrkamp Verlag (2010 edition) 1,536 pages 14.1 inches (35.8 cm) x 10.8 inches (27.4 cm)[11] 1,100,000 (estimated) German 6,800,000 characters;[12] longest novel published in one volume
Min Kamp (My Struggle) Karl Ove Knausgård Forlaget Oktober 3,600 pages, 6 volumes [13] 7.9 inches (20.1 cm) x 5.1 inches (13.0 cm)[14] 1,000,000 (estimated)[citation needed] Norwegian
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady Samuel Richardson Penguin Classics (1986) 1,534 pages, paperback 9.2 inches (23.4 cm) x 5.8 inches (14.7 cm)[15] 984,870 (1964 estimate by The New York Times[16]) English
کلیدر (Kelidar) Mahmoud Dowlatabadi Farhang Moaser (1984) 2,836 pages, 10 volumes 8.6 inches (21.8 cm) x 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) 950,000 (estimated) Persian
பொன்னியின் செல்வன் (The Son of Ponni) Kalki Krishnamurthy Kalki 2,600 pages, 5 volumes[citation needed] 8.6 inches (21.8 cm) x 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) 900,000 (estimated) Tamil
境界線上のホライゾン VII (Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere 7)[17] Minoru Kawakami Dengeki Bunko 2,648 pages, 3 volumes[18] 15 centimetres (5.9 in) x 10.6 centimetres (4.2 in) x 4.4 centimetres (1.7 in) for first two volumes, 14.6 centimetres (5.7 in) x 10.2 centimetres (4.0 in) x 5.4 centimetres (2.1 in) for the third[18] Maximum 1,890,672 Japanese characters[19] Japanese
Poor Fellow My Country Xavier Herbert HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) 1,466 pages, hardcover 8.1 inches (20.6 cm) x 5.6 inches (14.2 cm)[20] 852,000[21] English 1975 winner of the Miles Franklin Award[22]
Women and Men Joseph McElroy Knopf (1987) 1,192 pages, hardcover 9 inches (22.9 cm) x 6 inches (15.2 cm)[23] 850,000 (estimated[24])

700,000 (estimated[25])

Sironia, Texas Madison Cooper Houghton Mifflin (1952) 1,731 pages, 2 volumes Unknown dimensions[26] 840,000 (estimated[27][28]) English
三國演義 (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) Luo Guanzhong Foreign Languages Press (1995) 2,340 pages, 4 volumes 7.2 inches (18.3 cm) x 4.5 inches (11.4 cm)[29] 800,000 (estimate[30]) Chinese to English translation
Miss MacIntosh, My Darling Marguerite Young Scribners (1965) 1,198 pages Unknown dimensions 750,000 (estimated[31]) 576,000 (estimated[32]) English
Varney the Vampire James Malcolm Rymer or Thomas Preskett Prest Edward Lloyd (1845–47) 866 pages Unknown dimensions 667,000[33] English Originally published anonymously, in serial "penny dreadful" pamphlets. Present-day editions are divided regarding authorship.
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand Signet Books (1996 edition) 1,088 pages, paperback 6.9 inches (17.5 cm) x 4.1 inches (10.4 cm)[34] 645,000 (estimate by the publisher and by The NY Times)[35] and by the author herself quoting printer's word count[36] English
Jean-Christophe Romain Rolland Henry Holt (1910,1911,1913) 1,666 pages, 3 volumes Unknown dimensions 610,000 (estimated) French to English translation 1915 Nobel prize winning author/novel
Párhuzamos történetek (Parallel Stories) Péter Nádas Picador 1,133 pages, paperback 8.9 inches (22.6 cm) x 6 inches (15.2 cm)[37]  ? Hungarian to English translation
“... And Ladies of the Club” Helen Hooven Santmyer Ohio State University Press (1982) 1,344 pages Unknown dimensions 600,000 (newspaper estimate)[38] 1984 surprise bestseller
A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth Penguin Books 1,368 pages, paperback 8 inches (20.3 cm) x 5.5 inches (14 cm)[39] 593,674[39] English Word count obtained from Amazon digitization (eBook) word count.
F. L. Věk Alois Jirásek Československý spisovatel (last printed edition, 1976–1977) 1,870 pages (1972 ed.) Unknown dimensions 571,350 Czech Word count obtained from 2011 eBook.[40]
Война и мир (War and Peace) Leo Tolstoy Oxford World's Classics 1,440 pages, paperback 7.6 inches (19.3 cm) x 5.1 inches (13.0 cm)[41] 587,287 New American Library Version[42] and 561,093 Oxford World's Classics[43] Russian to English translation Edition and translation largely account for differences in word count.
Il mulino del Po Riccardo Bacchelli Arnoldo Mondadori Editore 2,113 pages, paperback 8 inches (20 cm) x 5.4 inches (14 cm)[44] 559,830[citation needed] Italian
Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace Back Bay Books 1,104 pages, paperback 9.2 inches (23.4 cm) x 6 inches (15.2 cm)[45] 543,709 English
Remembrance Rock Carl Sandburg Mariner Books 1,088 pages, paperback 9 inches (22.9 cm) x 6 inches (15.2 cm)[46] 532,030[46] and 673,000[47] English Word counts obtained from Amazon digitization (eBook) word count, and author's own count.
Les Misérables Victor Hugo Signet Classics 1,488 pages, paperback 6.9 inches (17.5 cm) x 4.2 inches (10.7 cm)[48] 530,982[49] French to English translation
To Green Angel Tower Tad Williams DAW Books 1,083 pages, hardcover 520,000[50] English Word counts obtained from Amazon digitization (eBook) word count
Horcynus Orca Stefano D'Arrigo Arnoldo Mondadori Editore 1,257 pages, hardcover 8.2 inches (21 cm) x 5.6 inches (14.2 cm)[51] 508,751[52][citation needed] Italian

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The name of her brother Georges appeared on the title page, and he is sometimes credited as a co-author.
  2. ^ "Longest novel". 1912-01-01. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  3. ^ "Find the Agent Who Will Find You a Publisher". AgentQuery. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  4. ^ "Hitting the Target Word Count in Your College Admission Essay - For Dummies". 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  5. ^ Scholarly consensus does not exist: Georges' name is on the original editions, it is commonly believed his sister Madeleine was the true author, yet no close textual analysis has been attempted. See the summary at "œuvre". Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  6. ^ "accueil". Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  7. ^ fr:Éditions_d'À_la_recherche_du_temps_perdu#Tableau_de_correspondance
  8. ^ Bibliothéque Nationale de France catalogue. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  9. ^ Christophe Vignat. "Sur le Vocabulaire dans La Recherche". Université Paris-Est, Laboratoire d'Informatique de l'Institut Gaspard Monge, Equipe Signal et Communications. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  10. ^ "Longest novel". 1912-01-01. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  11. ^ "Zettel's Traum : Arno Schmidt : 9783518803103". ASIN 3518803107. 
  12. ^ Günter Jürgensmeier (2013), "Das verfluchte Buch. Über das gefahrvolle Wagnis, Zettel's Traum zu setzen" (in German), Zettelkasten 27. Aufsätze und Arbeiten zum Werk Arno Schmidts (Wiesenbach: Bangert & Metzler): pp. 42, ISBN 978-3-924147-64-8
  13. ^ "Review: A Man in Love". The Independent. 2013-05-26. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  14. ^ "Min Kamp : Kai Ove Knausgård : 9788249506866". Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  15. ^ "Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (Penguin Classics): Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross: 9780140432152". ASIN 0140432159. 
  16. ^ Hal Boyle Genius isn't all thumbs, writer Boyle confides Florence, Alabama:Times Daily 23 April 1962 (via Google news archive)
  17. ^ 7th arc, volumes 16–18
  18. ^ a b [1] [2] [3]
  19. ^ Volume 16 have 808 pages, Volume 17 have 824 pages, Volume 18 have 1016 pages according to Amazon Japan, and the label the novel publishing, namely Dengeki Bunko, use a format of 42 characters per lines and 17 lines per page according to this site, and according to this site which stated that usually every 2.2 Japanese characters would translate into 1 Englilsh word, the novel would have roughly 859,000 words in English.
  20. ^ "Poor Fellow My Country: Xavier Herbert: 9780006160298: Books". ASIN 0006160298. 
  21. ^ Poor fellow my ears The Age 29 December 1987 (via Google news archive)
  22. ^ Top award to Xavier Herbert Sydney Morning Herald 28 April 1976 (via Google news archive)
  23. ^ "Women and Men: Joseph McElroy: 9781564780232". ASIN 1564780236. 
  24. ^ Karl, Frederick (Spring 1990). "Women and Men: More than a novel". Review of Contemporary Fiction. p. 181. 
  25. ^ Garth Risk Hallberg (2009-07-07). "The lost postmodernist: Joseph McElroy". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  26. ^ Nichols, Lewis (1952-11-09). "Talk with Madison Cooper - Review". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  27. ^ "Author a bachelor; so he has time to write longest novel". Chicago Tribune. 1952-11-16. Retrieved 2012-10-31.  (via
  28. ^ Author of 1,800 page novel in New York looking after plans for publication of big book The Times-News 27 October 1952 (via Google news archive)
  29. ^ "Three Kingdoms (Chinese Classics, Classic Novel in 4-Volumes): Luo Guanzhong, Moss Roberts: 9787119005904". ASIN 7119005901. 
  30. ^ "Movie Review: Red Cliff". 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  31. ^ Robert McG. Thomas Jr (1995-11-20). "Marguerite Young, 87, author and icon, dies". Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  32. ^ Walters, Raymond, Jr (12 September 1965). "In and out of books". The New York Times. p. BR8. 
  33. ^ Calculated from "Varney the Vampire". Internet Archive, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library.  the complete text at the University of Virginia. Note that some on-line editions are incomplete.
  34. ^ "Atlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand: 9780451191144". ASIN 0451191145. 
  35. ^ Nichols, Lewis (1957-10-13). "Talk With Ayn Rand - Author's Query". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  36. ^ Rand, Ayn. "The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  37. ^ Péter Nádas. "Parallel Stories". ASIN 1250013909. 
  38. ^ Schott, Webster (19840-07-01). "An Epic of Hometown, U.S.A.". Washington Post Book World. p. 5.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  39. ^ a b "A Suitable Boy: Vikram Seth: 9780060925000". ASIN 0060925000. 
  40. ^ Prague Public Library catalogue: F. L. Věk (in five volumes)"Search: Jirásek, Alois F. L. Věk". Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  41. ^ "War and Peace (Oxford World's Classics): Leo Tolstoy, Louise and Aylmer Maude, Amy Mandelker: 9780199232765". ASIN 0199232768. 
  42. ^ Tolstoy, Leo; Dunnigan, Ann. "War and Peace". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  43. ^ "War and Peace (Oxford World's Classics): Leo Tolstoy, Henry Gifford, Louise Maude, Aylmer Maude: 9780192833983". ASIN 0192833987. 
  44. ^ OPAC Archive
  45. ^ "Infinite Jest: David Foster Wallace: 9780316066525". Amazon. ASIN 0316066524. 
  46. ^ a b "Remembrance Rock: Carl Sandburg: 9780156763905". Amazon. ASIN 0156763907. 
  47. ^ author, quoted in Corwin, Norman (1961). The World of Carl Sandburg. Harcourt, Brace & World. p. 8. 
  48. ^ "Les Miserables - Books by Victor Hugo". Penguin. 1987-03-03. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  49. ^ "Les Miserables: Hugo, Victor; Fahnestock, Lee; MacAfee, Norman". Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  50. ^ Walsh, Alex (2014-04-04). "Tad Williams to release sequel to Memory, Sorrow & Thorn". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  51. ^ "HORCYNUS Orca di D'Arrigo, Stefano " Rete bibliotecaria della Provincia di Padova". bibliotecaria della Provincia di Padova. 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  52. ^ "TNTforum -> Stefano D'Arrigo - Horcynus Orca". Retrieved 2012-10-31.