Choosing the greatest novel ever written is often a matter of personal preference; what some might think is the best and most ingenious novel that they've ever read in their lives is nothing more than a mediocre piece of literature for others. There are, however, a few novels written in English that are universally loved and praised by many readers and literary critics and are often referred to as some of "the greatest novels of the English language."
Middlemarch (George Eliot, 1874)
Dorothea, an intelligent and pious woman, decides to marry a middle-aged, pompous, and selfish man named Edward and then has to deal with the consequences of her choices, ultimately realizing that a boring, uneventful, and unadventurous life is not a life worth living.
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens, 1861)
Pip, an orphan and a blacksmith's apprentice from a village in Kent, suddenly becomes a part of London's high society when a mysterious sponsor decides to pay for his education and transform him into a gentleman.
To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf, 1927)
The Ramsey family, along with some of their friends, decide to visit their summer home in the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, where they discover the true meaning of life and the importance of family.
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 1847)
A seemingly plain and unremarkable young governess, orphaned and abused as a child, manages to find love by using her wit, courage, and kindness to overcome all of life's challenges and ultimately gets her happy—or, rather, bittersweet—ending.
Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray, 1848)
Two best friends, the stubborn and poor Becky Sharp and the kind and rich Amelia Sedley, learn how to navigate life, love, friendship and family.
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (Mary Shelley, 1823)
An ambitious scientist by the name of Victor Frankenstein decides to "play God" and challenge fate by creating a humanoid creature and ends up paying the price for his choices and actions.
It's notable to mention that Jane Austen's classic romance Pride and Prejudice and George Orwell's dystopian fiction 1984 are also often considered some of the greatest novels in English literature.