Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century

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The Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century is a list of books compiled in 1999 by Literaturhaus München and Bertelsmann, in which 99 prominent German authors, literary critics, and scholars of German ranked the most significant German-language novels of the twentieth century.[1]

The group brought together 33 experts from each of the three categories.[2] Each was allowed to name three books as having been the most important of the century. Cited by the group were five titles by both Franz Kafka and Arno Schmidt, four by Robert Walser, and three by Thomas Mann, Hermann Broch, Anna Seghers and Joseph Roth.[1]

The 10 books[edit]

Ranked in order, starting with the greatest according to the expert group:

  1. Robert Musil: The Man Without Qualities
  2. Franz Kafka: The Trial
  3. Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain
  4. Alfred Döblin: Berlin Alexanderplatz
  5. Günter Grass: The Tin Drum
  6. Uwe Johnson: Anniversaries. From the Life of Gesine Cresspahl
  7. Thomas Mann: Buddenbrooks
  8. Joseph Roth: Radetzky March
  9. Franz Kafka: The Castle
  10. Thomas Mann: Doctor Faustus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Musils "Mann ohne Eigenschaften" ist "wichtigster Roman des Jahrhunderts"" (in German). LiteraturHaus. 1999. Archived from the original on June 7, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Wolfgang Riedel, "Robert Musil: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften" in Lektüren für das 21. Jahrhundert: Schlüsseltexte der deutschen Literatur von 1200 bis 1900, ed. Dorothea Klein and Sabine M. Schneider, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2000, ISBN 3-8260-1948-2, p. 265 (German)

External links[edit]

  • Der Kanon – article on the novels of the German literary canon (German)