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Classic Literature book


Most valuable Classic Literature books

Curious what the most valuable and expensive classic literature books are? Below is a small sample of some of the most expensive books that have sold on Biblio.com:


Recent Arrivals in Classic Literature

Classic Literature

From To Kill a Mockingbird to Ulysses, from Great Expectations to The Roman History - From the Building Of Rome To the Ruin Of the Commonwealth, we can help you find the classic literature books you are looking for. As the world's largest independent marketplace for new, used and rare books, you always get the best in service and value when you buy from Biblio.com, and all of your purchases are backed by our return guarantee.


Top Sellers in Classic Literature

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was instantly successful and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with serious issues of rape and racial inequality.


    The Catcher In the Rye by J D Salinger

    Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye has become a common part of high school and college curricula throughout the English-speaking world and has been translated into all major languages. Since its publication with a $3.00 sticker, it has reportedly sold more than 65 million copies. The novel's antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become a cultural icon for teenage rebellion. Due to its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst, it has frequently been met with censorship challenges in the United States making it one of the most challenged books of the 20th century.


    The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

    Written in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be one of the author’s greatest works. Set in New York City and Long Island during the Roaring Twenties, the focus of the story is (of course) its title character, Jay Gatsby, and his unswerving desire to be reunited with Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. However, Nick Carraway, who happens to be both Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin, narrates Gatsby's journey from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death. The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly one of the greatest American literary documents of the 1920s, the decade for which Fitzgerald himself coined the term “Jazz Age.” However, in writing the book, Fitzgerald was in fact holding up a mirror to the society of which he was a part. In true Modernist fashion, The Great Gatsby addresses the social issues of the period — namely materialism and displaced spirituality — that ultimately led the decline of the era. The novel’s initial sales situation was less than impressive; fewer than 25,000 copies were sold by Fitzgerald’s death in 1940. But The Great Gatsby gained great popularity during WWII as the critical mainstream began to embrace the author’s work. The Armed Services Editions circulated 150,000 copies to troops alone. Today, The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide, sells an additional 500,000 copies annually, and is Scribner's most popular title. Ranked #2 on the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century, the novel is also listed on their Top 100 Novels as well as The Observer’s All-Time 100 Best Novels and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Modern Novels. The Great Gatsby has resulted in a number of adaptations, including Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. 


    The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath stands as a pivotal piece of American literature. The story follows the Joad family (and thousands of others) as they are driven from the Oklahoma farm where they are sharecroppers during the Great Depression. The drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries send them searching for dignity and honest work in the bountiful state of California. The novel earned Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1940, and inspired the classic film of the same name the same year. The film starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, and Steinbeck's words and ideas shine through that medium. In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for the body of his work, and The Grapes of Wrath stands as his most recognized and esteemed book. -


    The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

    This novella, only 140 pages, was first printed in it's entirety in Life Magazine Sept 1st 1952, inspiring a buying frenzy selling over 5 million copies of the magazine in just 2 days. The story about an aging Cuban fisherman wrangling a large marlin in the gulf stream was written in 1951 in Cuba and published in 1952. In 1953 it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and led to Hemingway's nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Man's struggle against nature is the resounding theme throughout the book as Hemingway portrays Santiago's travails as an experienced fisherman facing a dry-spell of 85 days before finally wrangling a prized marlin. Hemingway also highlights the indomitable spirit of man while illustrating his ideal of manliness and character in the strong and determined fisherman facing danger and discomfort without complaint and with resolution, both in the days it takes Santiago to kill the marlin, and as he fights off the sharks that end up destroying his prized catch before he reaches the coast. Some say that Hemingway's tale is a reflection of his own determination to prove his writing career was not over, and the portrayal of the sharks may echo the critics who had been claiming for the ten years that his writing career, after the successful release of For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1940, was over. The book is dedicated "To Charlie Scribner And To Max Perkins," friends of Hemingway's that had passed away before the book came out. Max Perkins, who also edited F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, died in 1947 and Scribner, who was president of the publisher Charles Scribner's Sons, died in 1952. The last work published by Hemingway during his lifetime, signed first editions can sell upwards of $15,000 - $17,000.


    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. This was Rand's fourth, longest and last novel, and she considered it her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. As indicated by its working title The Strike, the book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society.


    Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

    Tuesdays with Morrie is a 1997 non-fiction book by American writer Mitch Albom. The story was later adapted by Thomas Rickman into a TV movie of the same name directed by Mick Jackson, which aired on 5 December 1999 and starred Hank Azaria. It tells the true story of sociologist Morrie Schwartz and his relationship with his students. Both the film and the book chronicle the lessons about life that Mitch learns from his professor, who is dying. After five years in hardcover, it was released as a trade paperback in October 2002. It was re-released as a mass-market paperback by Anchor Books in January 2006. According to this edition, 11 million copies of Tuesdays with Morrie are in print worldwide.


    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen. First published on 28 January 1813, it was her second published novel. Its manuscript was initially written between 1796 and 1797 in Steventon, Hampshire, where Austen lived in the rectory. Originally called First Impressions, it was never published under that title, and in following revisions it was retitled Pride and Prejudice.


    Night by Elie Wiesel

    Original German Title: Un di Velt Hot Geshvign In Elie Wiesel's memoir Night , a pious teenager is guilt-ridden because he survived the Nzai death camps, and yet his family was killed. He questions his faith, the loss of his innocense, and the nature of evil that can allow such genocide to occur. Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. “For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.”


    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

    Margaret Mitchell only published one complete novel, but it was quite the book - Gone With the Wind earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and National Book Award for 1936. The epic romance tale set in and around Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil War has remained a bestseller, even before the equally popular film starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh was made in 1939.


    Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    Based on real events and acquaintances of Hemingway, Sun Also Rises is about American and English expats in Pamplona.


    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

    Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California.


    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    Things Fall Apart is a 1958 English-language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming".


    Lord Of the Flies by William Golding

      Even though Lord of the Flies is a frequent submission on any banned books list, many high school students are first introduced to this classic piece of literature in their freshman English class. Using very young protagonists set in a harsh, wild environment, author William Golding's disturbing and engaging novel addresses the themes of human nature and personal welfare, often resulting in violence and murder. Despite its controversial subject matter, it is often considered one of the best novels of the 20th Century. Lord of the Flies turned Golding into a household name, and although Lord of the Flies was his most popular book, he remained a successful author long after its publication. In fact, Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983, where he remarked that he sought to “...illuminate the human condition in the world of today” through his novels. Published in 1954 in London by Faber and Faber,  Lord of the Flies  has sold over millions of copies worldwide. It has been translated into many languages, including Basque and Catalan. Evidently, even though the book focuses on the trials and tribulations of twelve young boys, the themes and archetypes resonate with all readers. 


    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    Jane Eyre is a famous and influential novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published in London, England in 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. with the title Jane Eyre. An Autobiography under the pen name "Currer Bell". (Harper & Brothers of New York came out with the American edition in 1848.)


    Animal Farm by George Orwell

    Animal Farm is a dystopian novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democratic socialist and a member of the Independent Labour Party for many years, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and was suspicious of Moscow-directed Stalinism after his experiences with the NKVD during the Spanish Civil War.


    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    Fahrenheit 451 (Ballantine Books, 1953) by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian novel that presents a future American society in which the masses are hedonistic and critical thought through reading is outlawed. Written in the early years of the Cold War, the novel is a critique of what Bradbury saw as issues in American society of the era. Bradbury combined two of his early short stories, "The Pedestrian" and  "Bright Phoenix," into The Fireman, a novella published in the February 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. Bradbury's publisher at Ballantine Books then suggested that he expand the work to make into a novel—Fahrenheit 451.


    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

    In Cold Blood is a 1966 book by American author Truman Capote. The book details the brutal 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a wealthy farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, and his wife and two of their children. When Capote learned of the quadruple murder before the killers were captured, he decided to travel to Kansas and write about the crime.


    A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

    Set during World War 1, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is the story of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American serving as an ambulance driver in the Italian army, and his love affair with an English nurse named Catherine Barkley. The novel is semi-autobiographical, based on Hemingway's own experiences serving in the Italian campaigns during the war. While some assume the title of the work to be taken from a poem by 16th century English dramatist George Peele, others believe it to be a simple pun of the word “arms.” A Farewell to Arms was first serialized in the May-October issues Scribner's Magazine 1929. It was published in book form in September of that year. As the work became available to the public just over ten years after the November 1918 armistice, Hemingway assumed his audience would recognize many of the references. In fact, certain basic information isn't alluded to in the book at all, as it was common knowledge around the time of publication. The result of this immediacy? Arguably one of the best novels written about World War I… ever. A Farewell to Arms was Hemingway's first bestseller, affording him financial independence and cementing his stature as a modern American writer. More specifically, the novel and its content helped to established the author as a key member of the “Lost Generation,” a subset of Modernist artists namely defined by their post-war disillusionment. A Farewell to Arms is ranked 74th on Modern Library’s “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century. 


    The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    Commonly named among the Great American novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, is generally regarded as the sequel to his earlier novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; however, in Huckleberry Finn, Twain focused increasingly on the institution of slavery and the South. Narrated by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn in Southern antebellum vernacular, the novel gives vivid descriptions of people and daily life along the Mississippi River while following the adventure of Huck and a runaway slave, Jim, rafting their way to freedom.


    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel. It was first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, and a posthumous second edition was edited by her sister Charlotte. The name of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centers (as an adjective, Wuthering is a Yorkshire word referring to turbulent weather).


    For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

    Many consider  For Whom the Bell Tolls  to be author Ernest Hemingway’s finest work. Inspired by Hemingway’s time as a war correspondent for The North American Newspaper Alliance during the Spanish Civil War,  For Whom the Bell Tolls  is a stark and brutal commentary on the nature of war, sacrifice, and death. In fact, many believe his work is among the best depictions of the Spanish Civil War written. As with some of Hemingway’s other work, many of the characters, experiences, and events were based off real people and battles Hemingway saw.  One of the most interesting qualities of  For Whom the Bell Tolls  is the use and restraint of profanity. Even though Hemingway had already written much about war and tribulations and had never seemed inclined to limit the use of vulgar language, For Whom the Bell Tolls is a clear exemption. When writing dialogue, Hemingway would insert the word “obscenity” instead of writing the exact word or phrase. There has been a lot of discussion about the reason for such omissions, and while some believe Hemingway was worried about the book being banned and thus wanted to make the book as reader-friendly as possible for a brutally violent war novel, others believe the omissions of profanity was due to transliteration problems and the author’s attempt to be as honest to the dialogue he heard as possible.  There is no arguing with the legacy and influence Hemingway had not only on American culture, but also on generations of future writers. The Beatnik generation referred to Hemingway as “Papa” with a quite reverence, and Hemingway inspired countless journalists with his in-depth profiles and wartime articles. Even the cities where he wrote his books are now places for pilgrimage among his most devoted fans. Hemingway first started writing  For Whom the Bell Tolls  in Cuba and later finished it in Sun Valley, Idaho. In fact, both hotel rooms are now popular tourist destinations.


    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    Their Eyes Were Watching God is a 1937 novel and the best-known work by African American writer Zora Neale Hurston. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel garnered attention and controversy at the time of its publication, and has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African American literature and women's literature. Time included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.


    Ulysses by James Joyce

    Ulysses is a modernist novel by James Joyce. It was first serialized in The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and later published by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. Originally, Joyce conceived of Ulysses as a short story to be included in Dubliners, but decided instead to publish it as a long novel, situated as a sort of sequel to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, picking up Stephen Dedalus’s life over a year later. Ulysses takes place on a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin. Within the massive text of 265,000 words (not so “short” anymore, eh?), divided in 18 episodes, Joyce radically shifts narrative style with each new episode, completely abandoning the previously accepted notions of plot, setting, and characters. The presentation of a fragmented reality through interior perception in Ulysses, often through stream-of-consciousness, is one of many reasons it is a paramount of Modernist literature.  Ulysses presents a series of parellels with Homer’s epic poem Odyssey (Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus.) Not only can correspondences be drawn between the main characters of each text — Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus, Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, and Molly Bloom to Penelope, but each of the 18 episodes of Ulysses reflects an adventure from the Odyssey.  In 1998, the American publishing firm Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.


Classic Literature Books & Ephemera


    Great Expectations by Dickens, Charles

    Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens first serialised in All the Year Round from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. It is regarded as one of his greatest and most sophisticated novels, and is one of his most enduringly popular novels; having been adapted for stage and screen over 250 times.


    A Tale Of Two Cities by Dickens, Charles

    A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With 200 million copies sold, it is the most printed original English book, the most printed and among the most famous works of fiction.


    Moby Dick by Melville, Herman

    Melville's classic was first published in England as three volumes titled The Whale in October 1851. Slow sales of Melville's previously books convinced Publisher L. Richard Bentley to reduce the printing to only 500 copies, and of that, only 300 sold in the first 4 months. The remaining unbound sheets were bound in a cheaper casing in 1852, and in 1853 there were still enough remaining sheets to again bind into an even cheaper edition. Melville changed the title to Moby Dick a month later, November 1851, when the American Version was published in one volume by Harper & Brothers in NY. Of the 2,951 copies printed, 125 were review copies. About 1,500 sold in 11 days, but then sales slowed to less than 300 the next year. After two years copies of the first edition were still available, and almost 300 were destroyed in the 1853 fire of Harper's warehouse. Most of the first editions have orange end-papers, although there are 2 known volumes with rare white-endpapers. Because of Nineteenth century printing practices, and the time lapse between when the first-editions were published and Melville became collectable, oxidized paper, bumped and chipped spines, and brittle wrappers are all common for even the most expensive and collectable of these books, which can sell from $35,000 to $100,000. Also expect heavy wear and maybe even minor repair. Another collectable edition is the 1930 first edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent, a three volume set published by the Lakeside Press with acetate dust jackets in an aluminum slipcase. These range in value from $9,000 to $11,000. A total of 3,215 copies of Moby-Dick were sold during Melville's life (he died in 1891). Today, Moby-Dick is considered one of the greatest American novels. -


    Gulliver's Travels by Swift, Jonathan

    Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships, is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature. The book became tremendously popular as soon as it was published.


    Oliver Twist by Dickens, Charles

    Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress (commonly known as Oliver Twist) (1838) is Charles Dickens's second novel.


    Treasure Island by Stevenson, Robert Louis

    Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story was originally serialised in the children's magazine Young Folks under the title The Sea Cook over a period of several months from 1881-82. Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, Treasure Island is the classic pirate tale, known for its superb atmosphere, character and action. It is one of the most frequently dramatised of all novels. The influence of Treasure Island on popular perception of pirates is vast, including treasure maps with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen with parrots on their shoulders. 


    David Copperfield by Dickens, Charles

    "The most perfect of all the Dickens novels' Virginia WoolfWhen David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which will lead him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak and friendship and betrayal. Over the course of his adventures, David meets an array of eccentric characters and learns hard lessons about the world before he finally discovers true happiness.


    The Odyssey by Homer

      Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters presents us with Homer's best-loved and most accessible poem in a stunning new modern-verse translation. "Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy." So begins Robert Fagles' magnificent translation of the Odyssey , which Jasper Griffin in The New York Times Review of Books hails as "a distinguished achievement." If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey through life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces, during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, is at once the timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance. In the myths and legends that are retold here, Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom, and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox's superb Introduction and textual commentary provide new insights and background information for the general reader and scholar alike, intensifying the strength of Fagles' translation. This is an Odyssey to delight both the classicist and the public at large, and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students.        


    The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer by Twain, Mark

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is a popular 1876 novel about a young boy growing up in the antebellum South on the Mississippi River in the town of St. Petersberg, based on the town of Hannibal, Missouri.


    A Christmas Carol by Dickens, Charles

    The full title of Charles Dickens' most famous work is technically A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas. This novella was published on December 19, 1843, and the first edition run of 6000 copies were sold out by Christmas Eve of that year. The publication of the first edition was fraught with complications, and even though the book was received to positive reviews, profits of the book fell far below Dickens' expectations, and the financial strain caused rifts between Dickens and the original publisher, Chapman & Hall.


    Kidnapped by Stevenson, Robert Louis

    Considered one of Robert Louis Stevensn's best works,  Kidnapped  is a historical fiction adventure novel, first published in Young Folks magazine from May to July 1886. The novel is considered a companion to Stevenson's  Treasure Island.  A Sequel,  Catriona , was published in 1893. The full title of the book is  Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: How he was Kidnapped and Cast away; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called: Written by Himself and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson.   The story is set around real 18th-century Scottish events, notably the "Appin murder", which occurred in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Many of the characters are real people, including one of the principals, Alan Breck Stewart.  Robert Louis Stevenson is the author of Kidnapped and The Children's Garden of Verses as well as the adult book, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde . During his short life Stevenson travelled the world from the South Pacific to the USA, Europe to Australia. He died at the age of 44 years old on a small Samoan island in the Pacific. -


    The Last Of the Mohicans by Cooper, James Fenimore

    The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 by James Fenimoore Cooper is the second and best-known book of his Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy. Like the rest of the books in the series, the story follows the adventures of Natty Bumppo, nicknamed “Hawkeye” by his Native American friends. Set in 1757 in the American wilderness that would become New York State, The Last of the Mohicans takes place during the Seven Years' War (known in America as the French and Indian War). The book is widely read in American Literature courses, particularly in discussions of westward expansion and Native American assimilation, although Cooper himself was considered sympathetic towards Native Americans.


    Robinson Crusoe by Defoe, Daniel

    Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe. It was first published in 1719, and is sometimes considered to be the first novel in English. The book, although based on the true story a Scotsman, Alexander Selkirk, is a fictional autobiography of the title character, a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Venezuela, encountering Native Americans, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.


    Frankenstein by Shelley, Mary

    Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus, generally known as Frankenstein, is a novel written by Mary Shelley. Shelley started writing Frankenstein when she was 18 and finished when she was 19. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in 1831.


    The Roman History - From the Building Of Rome To the Ruin Of the Commonwealth by Hooke, N



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