There’s no denying that a single man with good fortune is in need of a wife. At only 3,000 words, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of the shortest books on this list.
Which classic book is the longest? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most well-known classic works of literature, both novels, and non-fiction, to see which book takes the longest to read. So settle in with a cup of tea and get ready for a long journey ahead.
Table of Contents
In Search of Lost Time (3408 page count)
Many readers wonder which classic book is the longest, and while there are many contenders, the clear winner is Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”.
Over 4,000 pages of its English translation follow the life of its protagonist, Marcel, from childhood to adulthood.
Proust’s novel is considered to be one of the most important works of fiction ever written, and its length only adds to its impact.
Readers who commit to reading classic literature like “In Search of Lost Time” are in for a true literary adventure, and they will be rewarded with a deep understanding of human nature and an unforgettable story.
The Story of the Stone (2576 page count)
“The Story of the Stone”, also known as “The Dream of the Red Chamber”, is a classic Chinese novel written in the 18th century. The novel is set in the imperial palace during the Qing dynasty and follows the lives of various aristocratic families.
The story centers around Baoyu, a young boy from a noble family who is destined to be the next emperor. However, his destiny is changed when he falls in love with a girl named Daiyu. The novel chronicles their forbidden love and the struggles they face against a rigid social hierarchy.
Among the greatest works of Chinese literature is “The Story of the Stone”. It is praised for its complex characters and its realistic portrayal of palace life during the Qing dynasty.
The Man Without Qualities (1744 page count)
“The Man Without Qualities” is a novel by Robert Musil that has been praised as one of the most important works of twentieth-century literature.
The book is a portrait of a society caught in an existential crisis, and its protagonist, Ulrich, is a man who embodies this crisis. He is a man without qualities: he is intelligent and withdrawn, and he lacks any real passion or commitment. This makes him both an observer and a critic of the society around him, and he is eventually driven to commit suicide.
Les Misérables (1456 page count)
“Les Misérables” is one of the longest of these classic books, clocking in at 1,463 pages. The story follows the lives of a number of characters during and after the French Revolution, most notably ex-convict Jean Valjean. “Les Misérables” is widely considered one of the greatest novels of all time, and its length ensures that readers are fully immersed in its world.
War and Peace (1440 page count)
There are a few different contenders for the title of the longest classic book, but it depends on how you define “classic”.
If we’re including all works of fiction that are over 100 years old, then the longest book is probably Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”, which clocks in at around 3,408 pages in most editions.
However, if we’re only considering novels that are commonly considered to be classics, then the longest book is probably Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which is around 1,440 pages in most editions.
Interestingly, both of these books deal with similar themes of time and memory, although they approach them from very different angles.
“In Search of Lost Time” is a highly introspective work that explores the inner workings of the human mind, while “War and Peace” is a sweeping historical epic that chronicles the events of the Napoleonic Wars.
Despite their different approaches, both books have been highly praised by literary critics and have had a lasting impact on Western literature.
The Mysteries of Paris (1392 page count)
There is much classic literature that is set in Paris, and each one has its own unique mysteries. For example, in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, Quasimodo is a mystery to everyone who meets him.
“In The Count of Monte Cristo”, Edmund Dantes is able to transform himself from a prisoner into a wealthy count by uncovering buried treasure. And in “Les Miserables”, Jean Valjean is pursued by the determined Inspector Javert for years after he escapes prison.
Which of these classic books is the longest? It depends on how you measure it! If you go by word count, then “Les Miserables” is the longest book on this list.
However, if you measure by page count, then “The Count of Monte Cristo” is actually the longest book. So it really just depends on your perspective!
Clarissa, Samuel Richardson (1356 page count)
Richardson’s “Clarissa” is widely regarded as one of the longest novels in the English language.
The novel tells the story of a young woman who is seduced and then imprisoned by a man who intends to rape her. Clarissa manages to escape her captor, but she is pursued by him and his associates. The novel culminates in a highly suspenseful and violent finale.
At over 1356 pages, “Clarissa” is one of the longest novels in the English language. Through lengthy letters, Richardson develops his characters extensively, resulting in a complex and moving work. While the novel can be challenging to read, it is ultimately rewarding and unforgettable.
The Count of Monte Cristo (1312 page count)
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is a French historical novel by Alexandre Dumas, first published in 1844.
The story takes place in the years after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. It tells the story of Edmond Dantès, a young man who is betrayed by his enemies and sent to prison. He escapes from prison and returns to take revenge on those who have wronged him.
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is one of Dumas’ most popular novels, and it has been adapted for film and television numerous times. The novel is over 1400 pages long in its original French edition, making it one of the longest classic novels.
The Tale of Genji (1216 page count)
“The Tale of Genji” is a classic book that has been praised for its detailed and intricate story. The book tells the tale of a young man named Genji, who is born into a wealthy family in Japan. As he grows up, Genji becomes a skilled politician and diplomat and is eventually appointed as the head of the imperial court.
“The Tale of Genji” is one of the longest classic books, with over 1216 pages in some editions. The book has been praised for its complex and detailed story, as well as its beautiful prose.
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1181 page count)
“The Black Lamb and Grey Falcon” is a novel by Rebecca West, first published in 1941. The book is set in the Balkans and follows the lives of several characters from various ethnic groups.
The novel was well-received by critics and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Also, the book was adapted into a film in 1957, directed by Michael Powell and starring Deborah Kerr.
What Is The Best Way To Navigate The Longest Classic Books?
If you’re looking for a challenge, why not try reading one of the longest classic books? Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way through these lengthy works:
1. Start by breaking the book down into manageable chunks. This could mean reading a certain number of pages each day or setting aside a certain amount of time each week to devote to reading.
2. Make use of resources such as study guides and online discussions. These can help you better understand the text and make your reading experience more enjoyable.
3. Improve your reading speed. It may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning. The faster you can read, the less time you’ll spend slogging through a long book.
4. Take breaks as needed. If you find yourself getting bogged down or frustrated, take a break! Get up and stretch, take a walk, or do something else to take your mind off of the book for a little while.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re really struggling with a particular book, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or family member for help. Sometimes another set of eyes can make all the difference.
6. Have patience! It may take some time to get through these hefty classics if your reading speed is low, but it’s important to stick with it. The rewards will be worth it in the end!