by Jane Shilling, March 13th, 2014 

When my colleague Christopher Howse wrote recently about the charm of unread books, he recalled that the maverick Francophile Professor Richard Cobb claimed never to have read Proust. Cobb’s admission has morphed into a perennial competition for the most outrageous literary omission. Popular classics such as Pride and Prejudice attract the most kudos, while James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake gets you nowhere. Anyone who claims to have read it is either a Joyce scholar, or confusing it with Hereward the Wake.

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