Eleven Encyclopedic Books, Overstuffed with References, That Compel Compulsive Reading
2. Finnegans Wake, James Joyce
3. Expelled from Eden, A WilliamVollmann Reader
4. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, Georges Perec
5. Wittgenstein’s Mistress, David Markson
6. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
7. Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco
8. The Rings of Saturn, W.G. Sebald
9. The Recognitions, William Gaddis
10. Between Parentheses, Roberto Bolaño
11. The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, Donald Harrington
6 thoughts on “Eleven Encyclopedic Books, Overstuffed with References, That Compel Compulsive Reading”
No Pynchon? Gravity’s Rainbow doesn’t make the cut?
GR would fit fine on this list. I can probably think of a dozen other books that would fit on here fine. It’s not meant to be “definitive” — it’s just a list I brainstormed (for fun) on 11/11/11. I’m happy for readers to add their suggestions.
Nice list, but the absolute no-doubt number one in this category, although it’s not a novel, has to be ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ by Robert Burton.
The Divine Comedy by Dante
Ulysses by James Joyce
Don Quixote by Cervantes
Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolaño (nobody said the references had to be real)
À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust
Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (I don’t know if this one would qualify as encyclopedic, but it’s surely overstuffed with references, real and imagined.)
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais (Raffel translation)
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay
The Education of Henry Adams (preferably the centennial edition published by the MHS)
The Man without Qualities by Robert Musil
Sorry if I came off as a tool, not my intention. You do fine work.
LOL. No. No tool at all. Thanks.
Love to see Bolaño’s name and not 2666, and in response to Hopscotch, I say, maybe, Cloud Atlas?