Henry Fielding's Tom Jones and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy just aren't as great as they used to be. At least not according to the editors of the newly revised Great Books of the Western World, who bumped four books, including the two 18th-century English novels, to make room for the works of 60 new authors, company officials said.
When Encyclopaedia Britannica published the original multivolume set 38 years ago, it featured 74 authors and 443 works, including books, essays and plays. Many of the works are abridged.
In preparing the latest version of the collection, the editors decided to add some more recent writers to the collection, company officials said. But because they had also decided to limit the set to 60 volumes and 130 authors, some works had to go.
In addition to Tristram Shandy and Tom Jones, the works that failed to make the cut were Baron Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier's Analytical Theory of Heat and Apollonius of Perga's On Conic Sections.
The new set, to be unveiled in Washington today, will bring 20th-century American writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Eugene O'Neill into the fold with Plato, Aristotle and Homer.
It also includes four female writers: Jane Austen, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf and George Eliot, a pseudonym used by Mary Ann Evans. The original set excluded female and 20th-century writers.