10 Very Influential Books

10 Very Influential Books

We have all read books that have changed the way we see things, books such as the Bible, the Quran, Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”,” Les Fleurs du Mal”, “Crime and Punishment” and so on,  but the following list deals with works of literature that have been highly influential and yet remained somewhat unknown. 

10 Very Influential Books 10. “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan

“The Pilgrim’s Progress” is the allegorical tale of one man’s journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City located on Mount Zion. The book was published in 1678 and was an instant success among Bunyan’s fellow Puritans. Despite the fact that its author spent 12 years in prison for having preached without a licensed, he soon gained the respect of the religious community. “The Pilgrim’s Progress” was published in over 200 languages and became very popular throughout the Christian world.

10 Very Influential Books 9. “Bruges-la-morte” by Georges Rodenbach

“Bruges-la-morte”, or ”The Dead Bruges”, is the story of a man who is grief-stricken due to the death of his wife and moves to Bruges in an attempt to escape his sorrow. He eventually meets another woman, but ends up strangling her because she doesn’t look enough as his wife. The book is interesting not only due to its subject, but also because it was one of the first novels to feature pictures. It is also believed that it inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”.

10 Very Influential Books 8. “The Songs of Bilitis” by Pierre Louÿs

“Les Chansons de Bilitis” is a collection of erotic poems published in 1894 and allegedly written by an ancient Greek woman called Bilitis. Many were fooled initially by the author’s claims due to the fact that the text was indeed written in the style of Sappho’s poems. Of course, the truth was eventually discovered. The book was highly influential due to its accepting attitude towards lesbians. In fact, Louÿs’ poems inspired the American civil rights group “Daughters of Bilitis”.

10 Very Influential Books 7. The “I Ching” by Fu Xi

The “I Ching” is one of the oldest Chinese texts in existence, dating back to approximately 1000 BC. The ancient book contains oracles and indications how one may interpret certain signs in order to tell the future. Its alleged author is the legendary Emperor Fu Xi who reigned over Ancient China and was said to be able to make people out of clay. As you have probably noticed, everything about the “I Ching” is shrouded in mystery, so it is more than probable that some of the available data is less than precise.

10 Very Influential Books 6. The “Bhagavad Gita”

The “Bhagavad Gita”, or simply the Gita, is a part of the larger Hindu epic, Mahabharata. The Gita is extremely important for the Hindu sacred discourse because it reveals the philosophical essence of Lord Krishna’s belief. The content of the sacred text is said to have influenced personalities such as Albert Einstein, Aldous Huxley, Gandhi and Carl Jung.

10 Very Influential Books 5. “The Golden Ass” by Apuleius

“The Golden Ass” was written in the late IInd century AD by the Latin writer Apuleius. It tells the story of an unfortunate fellow called Lucius, who tries to become a bird and ends up a donkey. He eventually succeeds in escaping the denigrating animal form by achieving some form of religious fulfillment. . “The Golden Ass” is relevant not only due to its content, but also due to the fact that is the only surviving Latin text to remain in complete form.

10 Very Influential Books 4. The “Novum Organum” by Francis Bacon

Bacon, one of the most influential English philosophers and the “father of empiricism”, wrote “Novum Organum” in 1620. The book sets out normative guides to how scientific research should be conducted. The foundation of the Baconian method is the use of reduction and inductive reasoning. The principles laid out by Bacon in the “Novum Organum” heavily influenced all forms of scientific conduct.

10 Very Influential Books 3. “Confessions of a Thug” by Philip Meadows Taylor

The action of the novel is set to the background of colonial India, but it is far from being just another exotic adventure book. India, the Indian people and the colonial presence there, are portrayed in a realistic manor, revealing to the Western public some of the stark realities of colonialism. Ameer Ali, the main character of the book, is a mass murderer and a member of the Thugee cult, a violent religious order of assassins. The book was so influential and its portrayal of the Indian cult so vivid, it introduced the word “thug” in the English language.

10 Very Influential Books 2. “Children’s and Household Tales” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The brother Grimm published “Children’s and Household Tales”, also known as “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”, in 1812. What made the book more attractive than other fairy tale books published at that time was the fact that many of the stories were not suitable for children due to their display of violent and sexual behavior.

10 Very Influential Books 1. The “Metamorphoses” by Ovid

The “Metamorphoses” is a collection of around 250 myths connected in some way to the act of metamorphosis. Among those inspired by Ovid’s magnum opus are John Milton, Boccaccio, Dante, Chaucer and William Shakespeare. Works such as “The Canterbury Tales”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night's Dream” have been heavily influenced by the “Metamorphoses”.



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