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‘Masnavi’, ‘Bustan’ Among 100 Best Books

Monday, June 28, 2010

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‘Masnavi-ye Ma’navi’ and ‘Butsan’ (The Orchard) by eminent classical Persian poets Molana Jalaleddin Rumi and Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sa’di have been named among the top 100 books of all time in a major survey by the Norwegian Book Clubs.

The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs asked 100 prominent authors from 54 countries to each nominate ten books that are the best and most central works in world of literature.

They included Paul Auster, Yvonne Vera and John Irving, Orhan Pamuk and VS Naipaul.

‘Bustan’ and ‘Golestan’ (Flower Garden) are Sa’di’s masterpieces. ‘Bustan’ is entirely in verse (epic meter) and consists of stories aptly illustrating the standard virtues recommended to Muslims (justice, liberality, modesty, contentment) as well as of reflections on the behavior of dervishes and their ecstatic practices.

‘Masnavi’ is one of the most influential works of Persian literature. It is a series of six books of poetry that amount to about 25,000 verses or 50,000 lines. It is a spiritual writing that teaches Sufis how to reach their goal of being in union with God.

“These are books that have had a decisive impact on the cultural history of the world and also left an individual mark on the authors’ thinking and imagination,” the Norwegian Book Clubs explained in a statement.

The clear winner of the vote was the 17th century classic story of ‘Don Quixote’ by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, which claimed 50 percent more votes than any other single title.

The 100 titles claiming the most votes from the prestigious jury will be placed in a “Library of World Literature” and among them is the popular Swedish children’s book Pippi Longstocking, which made Astrid Lindgren’s name as a major author worldwide.

The list of 100 works appears alphabetically by author.

• Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
• Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales and Stories
• Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
• Honore de Balzac, Old Father Goriot
• Samuel Beckett, Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
• Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron
• Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions
• Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
• Albert Camus, The Stranger
• Paul Celan, Poems
• Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Journey to the End of the Night
• Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
• Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
• Anton Chekhov, Selected Stories; Thousand and One Nights
• Joseph Conrad, Nostromo
• Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
• Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
• Denis Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
• Alfred Doblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz
• Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
• George Eliot, Middlemarch
• Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
• Euripides, Medea
• William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
• Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
• Federico Garcia Lorca, Gypsy Ballads
• Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera
• Anon, The Epic of Gilgamesh
• Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust
• Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls
• Günter Grass, The Tin Drum
• Joao Guimaraes Rosa, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
• Knut Hamsun, Hunger
• Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
• Homer, The Iliad; The Odyssey
• Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House
• Anon, The Book of Job
• James Joyce, Ulysses
• Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle
• Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala
• Yasunari Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain
• Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek  • D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers
• Halldor K. Laxness, Independent People
• Giacomo Leopardi, Complete Poems
• Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
• Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
• Lu Xun, Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
• Anon, Mahabharata
• Naguib Mahfouz, Children of Gebelawi
• Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks; The Magic Mountain
• Herman Melville, Moby Dick
• Michel de Montaigne, Essays
• Elsa Morante, History
• Toni Morrison, Beloved
• Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
• Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities
• Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Njal's Saga
• George Orwell, 1984
• Ovid, Metamorphoses
• Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
• Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Tales
• Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
• Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
• Juan Rulfo, Pedro Paramo
• Jalalu'l-Din Rumi, The Mathnawi
• Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
• Sheikh Saadi of Shiraz, The Bostan of Saadi (The Orchard)
• Tayeb Salih, A Season of Migration to the North
• Jose Saramago, Blindness
• William Shakespeare, Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
• Sophocles, Oedipus the King
• Stendhal, The Red and the Black
• Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
• Italo Svevo, Confessions of Zeno
• Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
• Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
• Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
• Valmiki, Ramayana
• Virgil, The Aeneid
• Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
• Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway; To the Lighthouse
• Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

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