Classic literature from every country, please


Journeyed there and back again
I'm looking to diversify my reading list. I'm looking into fiction and non fiction classics from various countries and I know I read a lot but most of what I read is English first. I want to correct that. I know we have a lot of different countries represented here in members so I hope for a good list.

So to broaden my results I will just say, what's the classic literature pieces from your country?


Journeyed there and back again
I am in the process of editing this post to give you a guide on what info has been provided and where in this thread it can be found
Spain Pg 1, 2​
Denmark Pg 1​
Ireland Pg 1​
Bosnia and Herzegovina Pg 1​
Sweden Pg 1​
Italy Pg 1​
Netherlands Pg 1​
Bulgaria Pg 2​
Austria Pg 2​
Czech Pg 2​
France Pg 2​
England Pg 2​
North America
Canada Pg 1, 2
United States Pg 2
Mexico Pg 2, 3
Central America/ Caribbean
South America

Argentina Pg 1
Columbia Pg 1
Asia/ Asia Minor/ India
Afghanisthan Pg 2
Iran Pg 3
Australia/ Oceana
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Journeyed there and back again
Most obvious one from mine is probably H.C. Andersen. Many are probably already familiar with him or maybe dismiss him as children's literature, but the harshness of some of his tales are better suited for adults. For instance "The Snow Queen" is still worth reading, I find.

Søren Kierkegaard, our premier philosopher, also wrote fiction. "Diary of a Seducer" explores existentialism through a protagonist, whose only interest in life is the seduction of women.

Johannes V. Jensen, one of our Nobel laureates, wrote "The Fall of the King". It's ostensibly a historical novel about the events during the reign of Christian 2., but once again it's existentialism in disguise.

Going further back into history, it's less literature in the modern sense and more sagas. "Gesta Danorum" is a medieval chronicle detailing the mythical history of the kingdom of Denmark and its actual (though still speculative) history until around 1200. It's full of crazy stories such as the king Oluf Hunger, who was either sacrificed or committed ritual suicide in order to end the famine that plagued the land. The saga of the Scyldinga tells the tale of the mythical Viking kings of Denmark, as entertaining as you would expect such sagas to be.

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
We are extremely fortunate in Spanish language. Here you have a tiny sample of Spanish and Iberoamerican authors. Enjoy it!

The Life of Lazarillo of Tormes (anonymous)

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

The Celestina by Fernando de Rojas

The Hive by C. J. Cela

One Hundred Years of Solitude by G G. Márquez

The Aleph, by J L Borges

Hopscotch by J Cortázar


Got in a fistfight with Dresden
From Spain I have to add The Dog in the Manger, by Lope de Vega.

Galician literature (from Galicia, one of Spain's regions) doesn't get translated a lot, but I know that this one is translated:

On a Bender, by Eduardo Blanco Amor.

And if you want to read an epic poem from Spain, here's a link for The Lay of The Cid, which I swear I'll finish reading one of these days, :D

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
Where to start with Ireland (and Northern Ireland?)

James Joyce, I supppose, although I struggle with him.

Brian Moore writes a lot of great, challenging stuff in the North.

Edna O'Brien.

More modern stuff - Flann O'Brien (surrealist humour),Roddy Doyle and David Park.

Samuel Beckett, on the other hand, I adore. Waiting For Godot is much better than it is often described

Synge's Playboy of the Western Workd (another play) is fabulous as is Brian Friel's Translations.

Poets - Yeats, of course, but also Heaney and Michael Longley from the North.


Journeyed there and back again
Fantastic. This is great.
I think beyond my own selfish reasons it also show cases our diversity.

So many new authors to add.


In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
From Bosnia & Herzegovina, I'll give you three books. There's a lot, but extremely low number of books has been translated to English.


My favorite poet Mak Dizdar and Stone Sleeper

He is pretty much an unknown outside of ex-Yugoslavia, but in Bosnia he's the most beloved poet. He was heavily inspired by writings on stećci (medieval tombstones which date from 12th century to 16th century. Wiki link if interested),
which made him develop a unique style.
Here's one poem that really illustrates that. Quick note Gorčin is an archaic name, but the root of the name comes from the word for bitter or bitterns.

Here lieth
Gorčin the soldier
In his own land
On an alien

I lived
But I summoned death
Night and day

I never hurt a fly
I went off
To be a soldier

I’ve been
In five and five campaigns
Without shield or armor
So that at last
These throes
Might cease

I perished of a strange pain

Not pierced by a spear
Not shot by an arrow
Not cut down
By a saber

I perished of a pain
That has no cure

I loved
My beloved was seized
In bondage

If you meet Kosara
On the paths
Of the Lord
I beseech you
To speak unto her
Of my
Truth (faithfulness)

I have Stone Sleeper in English, and although the translator really did a good job it's nowhere good as original, but even in English you can feel the Bosnian spirit in his writings.
Here's my favorite poem by him.


In both field and mountain the white lilies have bloomed

So in field and mountain the lily seems to speak
In mount and dale every lily
Seems to blaze

And when so pensive among the blooming flowers
You silently

Maybe like me you think of those
Who passed silently by here
Before you

Among the blooming white flowers

Wondering just as you do
What are these white

Are they someone’s rejoicings

The signs of those who once passed
In these pathless regions and

In search of white flowers
Lily is the symbol of Bosnia. We have an endemic lily Lilium bosniacum, and it was in our coat of arms for Bosnian medieval kings, so as you can see in this poem, as well as a lot of his others, there's often historical dimension among many others.


One of the most important B&H authors and one whos book has been most read outside of ex-Yugoslavia countries:
Meša Selimović and his Death and the Dervish

If you like Kafka (I also do) you'll like this novel.
As far as Bosnians are concerned we have all read this book at some point in our lives.


Our Nobel prize winner for 1961.
Interesting fact about him from wiki: Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, Andrić was arrested and imprisoned by the Austro-Hungarian police, who suspected his involvement in the plot. As the authorities were unable to build a strong case against him, he spent much of the war under house arrest, only being released following a general amnesty for such cases in July 1917.

Read The Bridge on Drina by him.


Journeyed there and back again
Thank you, I will be adding those books to my search list for my next book run (March 10th, when my my wife also can get autographs from Patricia Briggs and I can't remember)

Can we get some insight into Canadian literature? @rudyjuly2 , netherlands @Silvion Night , Italy @GiovanniDeFeo Sweden @ReguIa and @Hikerike

On a side note, we used to have several from Australia and New Zealand, where'd they all go?


Owns a Ring of Power
Oh i'm kinda embarrassed to say that i almost know nothing about swedish literature. I know like three swedish authors, Selma Lagerlöf (She is on our 20kr bill), Astrid Lindgren wrote tons of childrens tales and everyone in Sweden has read/heard atleast one. And Jan Guillou, he has several books but i've only read one , Ondskan which i thought was really great! To be honestly i've hardly stepped outside of anything fantasy and most of it in english so i hope @ReguIa can be of more help.


Journeyed there and back again
A Canadian writing Fantasy literature, using some Celtic and some Native American source material - see Charles De Lint.
I have no clue about Canadian fantasy outside Guy Gavriel Kay. Many like his work but I'm not a literature expert.
It doesn't have to be fantasy, in fact I prefer it not, any classic piece of literature is just perfect, fiction or non

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I'm not really into Dutch literature, but here are some suggestions.

Anything by 'The Big Three': Gerard Reve, Harry Mulisch and Willem Frederik Hermans. They are the post WW2 great Dutch writers.

Mulisch wrote 'de Ontdekking van de Hemel' (the Discovery of Heaven). This is often lauded as the greatest book ever written in the Dutch language. In it two angels debate current affairs in the world.
Reve's debut novel is 'de Avonden' (the Evenings). About the week in the life of a simple office clerk in the sixties. May sound boring, but it really isn't. Beautifully written.
Hermans best book is 'de Donkere Kamer van Damokles' (the Dark Room of Damokles). A book that takes place in the final months of WW2. It's an exciting war tale and a psuchological drama combined.

Then there is Kader Abdolah. An Iranian writer who fled to the Netherlands in the eighties. He wrote 'Het Huis van de Moskee' (the House of the Mosque). It's a book about the Iranian Revolution. Very gripping.

And of course there are the more classical writers. Multatuli, a book written by Eduard Douwes Dekker. It's a story about Indonesia when it was still a Dutch colony. Takes place around 1850. Books by Desidirius Erasmus and Spinoza are also worthwhile to read.


Has Danced with Dragons
Ok, for me the ones worth reading for real are:

XIV century
Boccaccio, Decameron (Chaucer's spiritual father, a joy to read).
Alighieri, The Divine Commedy (well, yeah).

XVII century
Basile, The Tale of Tales (just re-translated and published by Penguin, so no excuse: like Grimm bros, but 200 years earlier and with a wicked sense of humor).

XIX century
Giacomo Leopardi, the only true romantic poet we had, read I Canti.
Giovanni Verga, The House of the Medlar tree (translated by the Chatterly's lover guy): just read it.
Collodi, Pinocchio (a masterpiece, like Alice or Oz or Pan).

XX century
Dino Buzzati, Short stories (kafkesque at its best).
Italo Calvino, The Baron On Trees (a fantasy, in its own way), the Invisible Cities, Palomar.
Tommasi, The Leopard (also a film by Visconti, superb).
Eco, The Name of the Rose.
Pirandello, One, one thousand, none (but his short stories are even better).
Parise, Short stories.
Montale, poems (he is one of the finest, really).

That would be enough for now.