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Every country has a set of novels that one can read to understand the culture and history. It isn't set in stone, new additions are made and some works might represent a certain era. Which books are part of the Esperanto canon?

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    Perhaps some of the texts that are in Tekstaro. – Marco Aug 25 '16 at 0:44
  • About the every country assertion; some countries have many cultures/languages inside, and not all of those languages have a written form. Also Esperanto is a language and I don't know if you will be able to understand its culture, because the sources are pretty diverse, like those of any global language. The peek at culture you would get from a Spanish-language writer in Peru will probably not have a lot in common with a Spanish-language writer in Western Sahara. – Eduardo Trápani Dec 9 '19 at 12:36
  • Still, someone working in Spanish will be aware of works like Don Quijote, just as European Spanish writers are aware of Latin American magical realism. One novel can't cover everything, which is why we talk about a set of novels. Of course, a literary canon can't cover every single thing - still it is a useful tool to get to know a language, a culture or a country. – Charlotte SL Jan 20 at 13:31
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In 1988, the famed Esperanto poet William Auld produced a list of "Esperanto Classics" -- essentially the Esperanto canon as he saw it. He updated the list in 1997. Here are the novels from the list:

Baghy, Julio: Sur sanga tero
Baghy, Julio: Viktimoj
Boulton, Marjorie: Okuloj
Bulthuis, Hindrik Jan: Idoj de Orfeo
Engholm, Stellan: Homoj sur la Tero
Forge, Jean: Mr. Tot aĉetas mil okulojn
Francis, John: La granda kaldrono
Francis, John: Vitralo
Lorjak: Regulus
Luyken, Heinrich August: Pro Iŝtar
Matthias, Ulrich: Fajron sentas mi interne
Miyamoto Masao: Naskitaj sur la ruino
Nemere István: Sur kampo granita
Newell, Leonard Nowell: Bakŝis
Ošlak, Vinko: Jen la sablo el mia klepsidro
Piĉ, Karolo: La litomiŝla tombejo
Ribillard, Jean: Vivo kaj opinioj de majstro M' Saud
Robinson, Kenelm: Se grenereto
Rossetti, Cezaro: Kredu min, sinjorino!
Rossetti, Reto: El la maniko
Rossetti, Reto kaj Szilágyi, Ferenc: 33 Rakontoj: la esperanta novelarto
Schwartz, Raymond: Kiel akvo de l' rivero
Schwartz, Raymond: Vole, novele
Steele, Trevor: Sed nur fragmento
Szathmári, Sándor: Vojaĝo al Kazohinio
Szilágyi, Ferenc: Koko krias jam
Szilágyi, Ferenc: La granda aventuro
Ŝirjaev, Ivan: Sen titolo
Štimec, Spomenka: Ombro sur interna pejzaĝo
Tóth, Endre: Lappar, la Antikristo
Urbanová, Eli: Hetajro dancas
Varankin, Vladimir: Metropoliteno

Of course, some years have past since 1997, so there are certainly some newer novels that would already classify as being part of the canon. The only newer novel of which I am sure that it would classify as canon is "La Ŝtona Urbo" by Anna Löwenstein.

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