What Are the Longest Novels?

From the Wikipedia page here.

Interesting discussion on the Talk Pages. Here is their criteria:

From the article: 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 and 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Excluded are self-published, printed-on-demand, and vanity works, unpublished novels like Henry Darger’s, novel sequences like the Chronicles of Barsetshire, novel cycles such as those set in the James Bond universe, and record-grabbing stunts written solely for the title of the longest work.

In addition, there is no bottom limit for page count, but anything over 1,300 pages is bound to get on the list and many above 1,100 pages will make it on. Instead, the criteria is word count, and a novel needs a word count of over 500,000 words to get on the list. Which rules out a lot of doorstops like Pynchon’s novels.

Problem here is that they have allowed many novel sequences and novel cycles on their list while saying novel sequences are banned. Well, which is it?

For instance, the list includes the following novel sequences of novel cycles:

James Fenimore Cooper “Leatherstocking Tales.”Probably the first novel sequence from the 1820’s.

Thomas Mann “Joseph and His Brothers.”

Anthony Powell “A Dance to the Music of Time.” His masterpiece.

Henry Williamson “Chronicles of Ancient Sunlight.”

Marcel Proust, “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu or Remembrance of Things Past.”A roman-fleueve. his masterpiece, in fact, he wrote little else.

Jules Romains, “Les Hommes de Vonne Volonté or Mean of Good Humor.” A roman-fleueve. His masterpiece.

Roland Romain, “Jean-Chistophe”. A roman-fleuve. His masterpiece.

All of these are listed on the Wikipedia page about novel sequences, novel cycles, and roman-fleuves. Roman-fleuve was coined by Romains about his novel, “Men of Good Will.” It means “river-novel.” Proust’s work is considered a classic example of a roman-fleuve.

I think they need to make up their minds. Either allow all novel sequences or ban all novel sequences. Right now they are allowing novel sequences, except in cases where you are disallowing them! You can’t do that.

So I set about thinking up all of the novel sequences, novel cycles, roman-fleueve, and long standalone novels I could think of and this is what I came up with. Of course I had to look up how many pages (to see if they should be included, or if so, the number of pages) or in a few cases how many words they had.

If they are going to allow the seven novel sequences above, the works below ought to be considered as additions to the list if the word count is high enough.

List follows. Let me know if you can think of any more.

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Novel series, novel cycles, and roman-fleuves:

Mervyn Peake, “The Gormenghast Novels” (1,173 pages). Fantasy.

John Galsworthy “The Forsyte Saga” (1,200 pages). Classic, listed as a family saga, the predecessor to the roman-fleuves

Eirik Gumeny, “The End of Everything Forever” (1,233 pages).

Doris Lessing “Canopus in Argos: Archives” (1,288 pages). Science fiction.

A. N. Wilson “Lampitt Papers” (1,300 pages).

Naguib Mahfouz “The Cairo Trilogy” (1,313 pages). Classic set in Egypt.

David Eddings “The Malloreon” (1,346 pages). Fantasy epic considered one work.

Lawrence Durrell, “Avignon Quintet” (1,350 pages). A classic.

Georges Dahumal, “Chronique des Pasquier” (1,400 pages in French). Listed as a roman-fleuve.

Yukio Mishima “The Sea of Fertility” (1,400 pages). Another classic.

Ford Madox Ford “Parade’s End” (1,500 pages). A classic, written 100 years ago.

Grant Morrison, “The Invisibles” (1,536 pages).

Jan Kjærstad “Jonas Wergeland trilogy” (1,536 pages). Modern Norwegian work.

Olivia Manning “The Fortunes of War” (1,611 pages). Classic, often referred to as a single work, her masterpiece.

David Eddings “The Belgariad” (1,635 pages). Wiki describes it as a “a five-book fantasy epic,” which implies a single work.

John Updike “Rabbit Angstrom” (1,650 pages). Classic.

John Crowley “Ægypt Cycle” (1,700 pages).

Arnold Bennett “The Clayhanger Family” (1,703 pages). Listed as a family saga – the precursor to the roman-fleuves. Famous series from 100 years ago.

Roger du Gard “The Thibaults” (1,879 pages). The Thibault books were not meant to be read as standalones and the series is listed as a roman-fleuve. Very famous classic, his masterpiece.

Henryk Sienkiewicz “The Trilogy” (1,913 words). Classic Polish work, his masterpiece.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer “The Buru Quartet” (1,995 page). A novel cycle, not a novel series. Indonesian.

Paul Scott “Raj Quartet” (2,000 pages).

Dorothy Richardson “Pilgrimage” (2,002 pages). Well-known British classic from 100 years ago.

Doris Lessing “Children of Violence” (2,200 pages).

Meg Cabot “The Princess Diaries” (2,400 pages). Children’s book.

Sergei Lukyanenko “Watch Series” (2,457 pages). Fantasy novel cycle, all part of a single story.

Larry McMurty “The Lonesome Dove Series” (2,624 pages). Classic Westerns, possibly seen as a single book, follows the same characters through the series.

Neal Stephenson “The Baroque Cycle” (2,628 pages and 1.1 million words). Modern and well-known science fiction, conceived of beforehand as a single work.

Compton MacKenzie “The Four Winds of Love” (2,836 pages and 1 million words). A forgotten classic from ~1940. A masterpiece considered be a fictional chronicle meant to be taken together and seen as a whole, compared to Proust’s book;

David Eddings “Belgariad and Malloreon” (3,000 pages). Considered two parts of a single work. A modern fantasy cycle.

Peter F. Hamilton “The Night’s Dawn Trilogy” (3,000 pages and 1.2 million words). Modern fantasy epic.

C. P. Snow “Strangers and Brothers” (3,040 pages). Arguably a single work, narrated by a single character. His most famous work.

Ken Follett “Pillars of the Earth” (3,049 pages). Historical novel.

Gore Vidal, “Narratives of Empire” (3,320 pages). Historical novel, considered to be a single work. Follows two families through time

Anthony Trollope “Chronicles of Barsetshire” (3,403 pages). Very famous classic from the late 1800’s.

Tad Williams “Otherland” (3,500 pages). Fantasy.

Louis Aragon “Le Monde Reel” (3,900 pages). Roman-fleuve, considered a single work.

Anthony Trollope “Palliser novels” (4,184 pages). Also famous work from the 1800’s.

Steven King “Dark Tower (4,250 pages and 1,278,088 words). Horror, can be seen as a single work.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “The Red Wheel” (4,769 pages for 7/8 of the series, mostly in English, one volume in Russian). Very famous, not completely translated yet, arguably intended by the author to be a single work. His masterpiece.

George R. R. Martin “A Song of Ice and Fire” (5,600 pages and 1,736,054 words). Modern fantasy classic, very famous, conceived as a single work. It was only broken up into sections to make it easier to read;

Patrick O’Brien “The Aubrey-Martin Series” (7,000 pages). Very famous and well-loved books about seamen, roman-fleuve along the lines of Proust, also generally seen as a single work.

Emile Zola “Les Rougon-Macquart” (7,717 pages). Extremely famous French classic from 150 years ago, a family saga or novel cycle, the precursor to the roman-fleuve.

Benito Pérez Galdós “Episodios Nacionales” (8,560 pages in Spanish).  Generally considered to be a single work and listed as a single work in five volumes by Wikipedia.

Robert Jordan “The Wheel of Time” (9,685 pages and 3,430,682 words) Very well-known modern fantasy, arguably a single work.

*******

For standalone novels, it should be a lot easier. These ought to be considered for the list if the word count is high enough.

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Standalone novels:

Colleen McCullough, “The October Horse” (1,110 pages).

Edward Bulwer-Lytton “My Novel; Or, Varieties in English Life” (1,115 pages).

Peter F. Hamilton “The Reality Dysfunction” (1,120 pages).

Roberto Bolaño, “2666” (1,128 pages). Modern classic.

Geir Angell Øygarden, “Baghdad Indigo” (1,132 pages).

Leon Forrest, “Divine Days” (1,135 pages).

Tom Clancy “The Bear and the Dragon” (1,137 pages).

Steven King “It” (1,138 pages). Well-known modern horror novel.

Margaret George, “The Memoirs of Cleopatra” (1,139 pages).

M. M. Kaye “The Far Pavilions” (1,139 pages). Famous historical novel.

Roman McClay, Sanction III, (1,143 pages).

Neal Stephenson “Cryptonomicon” – part of the Baroque Cycle (1,152 pages).

Steven King “The Stand” (1,152 pages). Famous horror novel.

James Clavell, “Shōgun” (1,152 pages). Very famous work.

Edward Rutherford, “London” (1,152 pages).

S. Yizhar, “Days of Ziklag” (1,156 pages in Hebrew, hopefully soon to be translated into English).

Pak Kyongni, “Land” (1,172 pages).

George R.R. Martin, “A Storm of Swords” part of the Song of the Fire and Ice cycle (1,177 pages).

Rebecca West, “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon” (1,181 pages).

Peter Weiss “The Aesthetics of Resistance” (1,195 pages in German, not fully translated into English).

Steven Erikson, “The Bonehunters” – part of Mazalan Land of the Fallen series (1,203 pages).

Anne Rice, “The Witching Hour” (1,207 pages).

Péter Nádas, “Világló Részletek” (1,212 pages in Hungarian).

Julia Navarro, “You Shall Not Kill” (1,212 pages).

Charles Palliser “The Quincunx” (1,221 pages).

James Clavell “Whirlwind” (1,231 pages).

James A. Michener, “The Covenant” (1,240 pages).

Edmund Spenser, “The Faerie Queene” (1,248 pages). Famous classic work from centuries ago.

Brandon Sanderson, “Oathbringer” (1,248 pages). Fantasy.

Jiang Zilong, “Empires of Dust”, (1,256 pages). Chinese epic.

Roger Zelazny, “The Great Book of Amber” (1,258 pages). Science fiction.

Javier Pedro Zabala, “The Mad Patagonian” (1,268 pages). Recent work, well-regarded, a friend of Bolano’s.

Steven Erikson, “Dust of Dreams” – part of the “Mazalan Land of the Fallen” series (1,280 pages).

Norman Mailer “Harlot’s Ghost” (1,282 pages).

Alberto Laiseca, “Los Sorias” (1,328 pages in Spanish). Modern work.

Frank Schätzing, “Limit” (1,328 pages in German). Modern thriller.

Heimito von Doderer “The Demons” (1,340 pages). Classic.

William T. Vollmann, “The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War” (1,356 pages). Modern historical novel.

Peter F. Hamilton “The Naked God” (1,360 pages).

Evelyn Scott, “A Calendar of Sin” (1,367 pages).

Alberto Arbasino, “Fratelli d’Italia” (1,371 pages in Italian).

James Clavell, “Noble House” (1,376 pages). Historical novel set in Japan.

W. Paul Anderson, “Hunger’s Brides: A Novel of the Baroque” (1,376 pages).

Herman Wouk, “War and Remembrance” (1,382 pages). Famous.

Marija Jurić Zagorka, “Plameni Inkvizitori or The Flaming Inquisitors” (1,396 pages in Croatian). Classic Croatian novel.

Anna Lee Waldo “Sacajawea” (1,420 pages and 597,270 words). Recent and well-regarded historical novel.

Mikhail Sholokhov, “And Quiet Flows the Don” (1,428 pages). Very famous classic.

William Safire, “Freedom: A Novel of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War” (1,437 pages).

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (1,443 pages).

James A. Michener, “Texas” (1,472 pages).

Louis Aragon, “Les Communistes” (1,500 pages in French).

Ben Ames Williams, “House Divided” (1,514 pages).

Péter Nádas “Párhuzamos Történetek or Parallel Stories” (1,520 pages and 600,000 words).

Ken Follett “World without End” (1,840 pages). Well-known.

Kirk Allen, Lustmord: Anatomy of a Serial Butcher (1,926 pages). Possibly not notable.

Brandon Sanderson “Final volume of The Wheel of Time” (2,555 pages and 978,460 words).

Châteaubriand “Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe or Memories from Beyond the Grave” (3,300 pages) – Memoir but largely falsified and works like a novel. Famous, his masterpiece.

Javier Marias “Your Face Tomorrow” (3,500 pages). Modern work, already a classic.

Marija Jurić Zagorka, “Grička Vještica or The Witch of Grič” (4,040 pages in Croatian). Croatian classic.

Honore d’Orfe “L’Astrée” (5,399 pages in French). His masterpiece from the 1600’s.

Marianne Fritz, “Naturgemäß or Naturally” (6,900 pages in German). Regarded as her masterpiece. Little known.

*****

The last 16 surely qualify as 500,000 words on length alone.

Madeleine de Scudéry’s “Artamène” is one of the longest novels on the list. It has an incredible 13,000 pages!

However, Madeleine de Scudéry wrote a number of other novels exactly like “Artamène.” “Cliele” was about as long as “Artamène.” Two others were shorter but would clearly make it on the list; one of those was 4,000 pages.

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