Was 1925 Really the Greatest Year of Literature?

Last week the BBC Culture website declared 1925 as the “greatest year for books ever”. Ernest Hemingway published his first book, a collection of short stories called In Our Time. Virginia Woolf published Mrs. Dalloway. And F. Scott Fitzgerald released The Great Gatsby. There were a few more prominent titles released, but these three are the top of the class.

So now to answer the question as to whether or not 1925 was the greatest year of books ever. Well, I guess? I really have no idea. Partly because I don’t know publication years for hardly any books, but also because I think it might be close to impossible to get down to one year. Think of all the books released in 2014. Then think of the books that stand out above the rest either because of popularity or quality. Then do that every single year. I think it’s cool that they tried to decide this, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily true.

The other years said to be in contention were 1862, 1899, and 1950. You can read about 1925’s releases and also those from the other years here.

Do you think 1925 was “the greatest year for books ever”?

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14 thoughts on “Was 1925 Really the Greatest Year of Literature?

  1. I agree 1925 was a great year for books but determining the exact best year would be next to impossible. There is no way to judge the lasting impact of books published recently. Its possible and likely some books from this decade will become known as lasting classics.

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  2. Impossible to pick the perfect year, but you have read Gatsby. It is remarkable. And they pick this year, I’m guessing because of those three names you listed. They are considered Greats in the world of writing. While I can’t say as I totally agree, I totally understand why they do. Reading is like wine and chocolate and men…[or women for you] it’s all subjective.

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  3. To me this is a completely insane proposition. Literature is so varied, so multi-faceted, so contectually complex, and so damn numerous,,it’s the equivalent of saying 1925 was the best year for people.

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  4. I believe it’s not as much the books but about three of the most powerful authors of the 20th century. Probably nowhere else in history do you see this happening in one year. I believe that’s what this is about.

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  5. Fiff. There are too many factors concerning quality of literature to have any kind of accuracy in this type of forum. I do think all four of those years were benchmark years for literature, but was 1925 the best? I don’t think so.

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