Stuff to Read: The Best Authors and Novels of the 1700s

By Andreas Ramos. Updated September, 2023

The top novels of the 1700s. As you read these, you'll see that the concept of novel wasn't yet clearly defined. Robinson Crusoe is a mix of adventure fiction, autobiography, travelogue, along with theories of education, government, and the relations of humans. This is similar to the web today: it's not yet clear what the web will be.

If you have novels for this list, let me know. It has to have been written in the 1700s in any language.

See also the list of top novels for the 1800s.

  • A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift
  • A Sentimental Journey, by Laurence Sterne
  • Amelia, by Henry Fielding
  • Caleb Williams, by William Godwin
  • Camilla, by Fanny Burney
  • Candide, by Voltaire
  • Cecilia, by Fanny Burney
  • Charlotte Temple, by Susanna Rowson
  • Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady, by Samuel Richardson
  • Confessions, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Edgar Huntly or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker, by Charles Brockden Brown
  • Emile: Or On Education, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Evelina, by Fanny Burney
  • Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland
  • Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift
  • Jacques the Fatalist, by Denis Diderot
  • Joseph Andrews/Shamela, by Henry Fielding
  • Julie, or the New Heloise, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Justine, by Marquis de Sade
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  • Love in Excess, by Eliza Haywood
  • Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe
  • Ormond, by Charles Brockden Brown
  • Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson
  • Rameau's Nephew and D'Alembert's Dream, by Denis Diderot
  • Reveries of the Solitary Walker, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
  • Roxana, by Daniel Defoe
  • The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings, by Marquis de Sade
  • The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, by Tobias Smollett
  • The Adventures of Roderick Random, by Tobias Smollett
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin
  • The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole
  • The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, by Tobias Smollett
  • The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton
  • The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, by Samuel Johnson
  • The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, by Henry Fielding
  • The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, by Olaudah Equiano
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne
  • The Man of Feeling, by Henry MacKenzie
  • The Monk, by Matthew Gregory Lewis
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe
  • The Nun, by Denis Diderot
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • The Vicar of Wakefield, by Oliver Goldsmith
  • Vathek, by William Beckford
  • Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist, by Charles Brockden Brown
  • Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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