Longwinded: Top 5 Longest Things Ever Written

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For any of you who have ever gotten an assignment to read Tolstoy for your literature class, or been handed the manuscript for a friend’s novel, or decided to really get into the Bible, we just have to say this: You ain’t read nothin’ yet. The longest books ever written make “War and Peace” look like “Skirmish and Nap Time.” Our hats go off to anyone who has ever gotten through these epic works. Hell, out hats go off to anyone who ever even tried! These are the longest things ever written.

5 The Longest Letter Ever Written

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When you set out to write the longest letter of all time, you don’t do it casually, and you don’t do it alone. No, you do it with almost 3,000 people gathered to help out. And when you write the world’s longest letter, you don’t address it to your aunt or your pen pal in Mexico or your friend who’s away at camp … you address it to none other than God. That’s what a huge group in India did a few years back, gathering together to write a “letter to God” that, when patched all together, stretched around a half mile long!

4 The Longest Bible Translation

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The Christian Bible, meaning the good ol’ Old Testament and the good ol’ New Testament comes out to around a quarter of a million words. The Qur’an has about 77,000 words, while the Torah has about 80,000 words. So to anyone who has ever read the entire Bible, we have only this to say: damn!

3 The Longest Sentence Ever Written

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This claim might be a bit hard to verify, but to the best of our knowledge, the longest sentence ever written in a published novel is a staggering 13,955 words long! The mother of all run-on sentences – which is, however, ostensibly grammatically correct – appears in the 2001 novel “The Rotters’ Club” written by Jonathan Coe. To put it in perspective, this whole article is a little more than 500 words.

2 The Longest Poem Ever

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The longest poem ever penned gives new meaning to the word “epic.” It was written in the 10th century and, presumably, people have been trying to get from start to finish of the piece ever since. Firdausi was the poet, a man of Persian descent and endless free time. His masterwork is a poem called “Shahnama” or “The Book of Kings.” It weighs in at just less than 2,100 pages, by modern printing standards. “Shahnama” has more than 60,000 verses, which took Firdausi more than three and a half decades to write.

1 The Longest Novel Ever

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Marcel Proust has a reputation for being longwinded for one very good reason: The dude was fabulously longwinded. His novel “In Search of Lost Time” (sometimes called “Remembrance of Things Past”) was originally published in serial form, but scholars/literary masochists agree, it is one novel. And it is more than 4,200 pages long. No wonder he worked on it for more than a decade and died before he finished the damn thing.

Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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