Is there any difference between the following two variants: "the novels of Dickens" and "the novels by Dickens". Are both of them equally correct?

  • 2
    These Google Ngrams back up my suspicions as to which is by far the more idiomatic. Raw Google data, however, shows that "the novels by Dickens" is far from unknown. But I'd choose it only when discussing the works of various authors, perhaps when arranging books on shelves in a bookshop. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 11:31
  • Yes and other than on shop shelves, the only real comparison will be of "the novels of Dickens" with to "novels by Dickens" without an article… Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 1:24
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    @EdwinAshworth Using wildcards, you get the collocates of 'novels by Dickens' vs 'novels of Dickens', and reading through them, the differences seem very idiomatic (ie. even in the rarer 'by Dickens, they see to be just right, but I can't seem to figure out the pattern)
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:42
  • @Mitch That's one of the pitfalls of drawing inferences from nGrams not suppoted by additional sources.
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:51
  • "A novel of Dickens" could mean a novel where Dickens is a character ... I can imagine a modern novel about Charles Dickens with "A novel of Dickens" added as a subtitle.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


Both are "correct." There is some semantic difference, though.

"Novels by Dickens" merely refers to those authored by him.

OTOH, "Novels of Dickens" is a more loaded expression which implies the characteristics of Dickens' writing. Compare also with "Dickens' novels" which is quite the same thing, yet not very explicit in drawing attention to the nature and characteristics as such.

At least that's how one would read the different expressions in general, I'd surmise.

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[Google -- Books]
"novels by Dickens": About 5,990 results
"novels of Dickens": About 35,200 results
"Dickens' novels": About 53,000 results


Both are equally correct. The word "of" here means belonging to, and the word "by" means written by, where the written is kind of implicit here. Although slightly different here, both are grammatically correct, and have the same meaning.

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