Discworld dishes Moby-Dick: BBC unveils 100 ‘novels that shaped our world’

Alison Flood in The Guardian:

There’s no Wuthering Heights, no Moby-Dick, no Ulysses, but there is Half of a Yellow Sun, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Discworld: so announced the panel of experts assembled by the BBC to draw up a list of 100 novels that shaped their world.

The choices were made by Stig Abell, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Syima Aslam, founder of the Bradford literature festival, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith and journalist Mariella Frostrup. The list is intended to mark the 200th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, widely seen as the progenitor of the English-language novel. The books chosen by the panel are those that have made a personal impact on them, and are divided into 10 categories. These include “love, sex and romance”, which features titles ranging from Jilly Cooper’s Rivals to Judy Blume’s Forever; “identity”, which moves from Toni Morrison’s Beloved to Zadie Smith’s White Teeth; and “adventure”, which includes Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe and Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. “So many amazing novels are not on the list,” said Dawson. “As this panel of judges, we’re not qualified to say this is the definitive list, but we are qualified to say these are our favourites. We knew right from the beginning that the role of these lists, almost, is for people to disagree with them … and we could only pick 100 books.”

So while there’s no Wuthering Heights, the Brontë sisters do feature on the list with Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. And while Moby-Dick doesn’t appear, Herman Melville does – with Bartleby, the Scrivener.

More here.