Friday, 22 May 2009

The Alessandro Gallenzi Century

I see with pleasure that the time-honoured tradition of making up lists of the One Hundred Most or Greatest Something is still alive and kicking. I remember reading, a few years ago, Prospero Mandosio's Centuriae (1682). More recently, I studied the BBC Big Read list, and today I came across that most edifying of roll-calls, The Bookseller's Century.

So I have decided to rock the world and declare the one hundred authors who have been most influential in creating that worldwide phenomenon, Alessandro Gallenzi. Not as a spoiler, but as a reality check, I will warn any Austen fan here that they are in for a surprise, as I am not including their pet author in my list.

Here we go, in alphabetical order:

Aretino
Ariosto
Aristotle
Balzac
Baudelaire
Boccaccio
Boiardo
Brontë (Charlotte)
Brontë (Emily)
Bruno
Bulgakov
Byron
Calvino
Catullus
Cavalcanti
Cecco Angiolieri
Céline
Cervantes
Chaucer
Chekhov
Dante
Defoe
Dickens
Dostoevsky
Dumas
Eliot (George)
Eliot (T.S)
Erasmus
Faulkner
Fielding
Fitzgerald
Flaubert
Foscolo
Freud
Goethe
Gogol
Goncharov
Hawthorne
Hegel
Hölderlin
Homer
Hugo
Jonson
Joyce
Jung
Kafka
Kant
Keats
Lawrence (DH)
Leopardi
Lermontov
Lucretius
Machiavelli
Mallarmé
Manzoni
Marlowe
Mayakovsky
Melville
Merimée
Michelangelo
Milton
Molière
Nietzsche
Orwell
Ovid
Pascal
Pavese
Petrarch
Petronius
Pirandello
Plato
Plautus
Poe
Pope (Alexander)
Prevost
Proust
Pulci
Pushkin
Rabelais
Rimbaud
Shakespeare
Shelley (Mary)
Shelley (Percy Bisshe)
St John the Evangelist
Stendhal
Sterne
Swift
Tasso
Thackeray
Thomas (Dylan)
Tolstoy
Turgenev
Verga
Verlaine
Villon
Virgil
Wilde
Woolf
Yeats
Zola

No surprises there. I have written down this list by memory, so I may have missed out some of the greatest writers of all time. Apologies if I have done that. I will only add that I have read one or more books by all of these authors, apart from Céline, whose works I have read only in bits – but that was enough to impress me, and I look forward to reading his novels from cover to cover.

I know that this list is going to divide critics for "centuries", so I will leave at this.

AG

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