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Authors of Great Literature

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Authors of great literature that teaches, elevates, inspires and ennobles mankind.

This project is on History Link

Selected authors by activity period:


0 to 1000 CE

  • Seneca (c. 1 BCE – 65 CE) Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature.
  • Publius Papinius Statius (c. 45 – c. 96) was a Roman poet of the 1st century. His famous works: Thebaid, a collection of occasional poetry, the Silvae, and the Achilleid.
  • Plutarch, Plutarchus, Πλούταρχος (c. 46 – 120 CE) Greek and Roman historian, essayist and pre-eminent biographer of the day. Known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia.
  • Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56 – c. 117 CE) Senator and historian of the Roman Empire. His two major works — the Annals and the Histories, and other writings De Origine et situ Germanorum, De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae.
  • Saint Jerome (c. 347 – 420) Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. Best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate), and his list of writings is extensive.
  • Agathias Scholasticus, of Myrina (Mysia) (c. 530 - c. 582) Greek poet and the principal historian of part of the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian I between 552 and 558. His famous works: Cyclus, (The Circle) - compilation of "modern" (in Justinian's day) poems and epigrams which Agathias edited, and in which he included about 100 of his own productions. Historiæ - a sequel to Procopius' (public) history of Justinian's reign.
  • Li Bai, 李白 (701 – 762) Major Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty poetry period. Has been regarded as one of the greatest Chinese poets.
  • Du Fu (杜甫) (712 – 770) Prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Bo), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets.

1000 to 1500 CE

XVI Century

  • Thomas More (c. Feb. 7, 1476 – c. Jan. 7, 1535) English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist.
  • Sir Thomas Wyatt (c.1503 – 1542) Poet of King Henry VIII, "father of the English sonnet."
  • Nostradamus (Dec. 14, 1503 – Jul. 2, 1566), French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties (The Prophecies).
  • Luís Vaz de Camões (c. 1524 -- 1580). Considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet.
  • Jan Kochanowski (c.1530 – 1584) Regarded as the Greatest Polish - Slavic poet prior to the 19th century.
  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (c. Sept. 29, 1547 – Apr. 22, 1616) Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered the first modern European novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written.
  • William Shakespeare (Apr. 23, 1564 – Apr. 23, 1616) English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
  • Christopher Marlowe (Feb. 25, 1564 – May 30, 1593) English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day
  • Ben Jonson (Jun. 11, 1572 – Aug. 6, 1637) English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, and his lyric poems.

XVII Century

  • Emilia Lanier Bassano (1569 – 1645) English poet. Best known for "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum"
  • Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581-1647) Dutch historian, poet and playwright. the most prominent Dutch annual literature award is named after P.C. Hooft.
  • Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679) Dutch poet and playwright, considered the most prominent Dutch poet and playwright of the 17th century.
  • Ivan Đivo Gundulić (1589-1638) Most renowned and celebrated Croatian writer and poet of the Baroque Period.
  • Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) French dramatist, called “the founder of French tragedy”.
  • John Milton (Dec. 9, 1608 – 1674) English poet, best known for his blank verse epic "Paradise Lost".
  • Anne Bradstreet (1612 - 1672) English-American writer, the first notable American poet, and the first woman to be published in Colonial America.

XVIII Century

  • François Marie Arouet dit "Voltaire" (Nov. 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778) French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher.
  • Robert Burns (Jan. 25, 1759 – Jul. 21, 1796) Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.
  • Gotthold Ephrahim Lessing (Jan. 22, 1729 - Feb. 15, 1781) German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist and art critic.
  • Friedrich von Schiller (Nov. 10, 1759 - May. 09, 1805) German poet, philosopher and historian.
  • Sir Walter Scott (Aug. 15, 1771 – Sep. 21, 1832) Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time.
  • Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage' (September 15, 1765 – December 21, 1805) was a Portuguese Neoclassic poet, writing under the pen name Elmano Sadino.

XIX Century

  • Jane Austen (Dec. 16, 1775 – Jul. 18, 1817) English novelist of romantic fiction. One of the most widely read writers in English literature.
  • Wilhelm Grimm (Feb. 24, 1786 – Dec. 16, 1859) Best known as editors of the German Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Feb. 27, 1807 – Mar. 24, 1882) American poet. Paul Revere's Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, Evangelin.
  • Lord Byron (Jan. 22, 1788 – Apr. 19, 1824) One of the greatest British poets and a leading figure in Romanticism.
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley (Aug. 4, 1792 – Jul. 8, 1822) Major English Romantic poet and is regarded among the finest lyric poets in the English language.
  • Heinrich Heine (Dec. 13, 1797 – Feb. 17, 1856) One of the most significant German poets of the 19th century; journalist, essayist, and literary critic.
  • Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин] (Jun. 6 [O.S. May 26] 1799 – Feb. 10 [O.S. January 29] 1837 1799) The greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.
  • Honoré de Balzac (May 20, 1799 – Aug. 18, 1850) French novelist and playwright.

XX Century

XXI Century

  • Hunter S. Thompson (18 July 1937 - 2o February 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement (some consider be the first of gonzos but it is highly debatable.)

Nobel Laureates in Literature (XX - XXI Centuries)

XX - XXI Centuries

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 – 1957) American author, wrote the Little House (on the Praire) series of children's books.
  • Eleanor H. Porter (1868 – 1920) American author, wrote mainly children's literature, adventure stories, and romance fiction. Best known for Pollyanna.
  • Amy Lawrence Lowell (1874 — 1925) American poet of the imagist school who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.
  • William Somerset Maugham (Jan. 25, 1874 – Dec. 16, 1965) English author, novelist and playwright. Best known novels: Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge and The Moon and Sixpence.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs (Sep. 21, 1875 – Mar. 19, 1950) American author. Famous novels: Tarzan of the Apes, John Carter of Mars.
  • Jack London (Jan. 12, 1876 – Nov. 22, 1916) American author, journalist, and social activist. White Fang, Call of the Wild.
  • Damon Runyon (Oct. 4, 1880 – Dec. 10, 1946) American newspaperman and author. Best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era.
  • Stefan Zweig (Nov. 28, 1881 – Feb. 23, 1942) Austrian Jewish novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer.
  • James Joyce (Feb. 2, 1882 – Jan. 13, 1941) Irish novelist considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work, the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).
  • Karen Blixen (1885 – 1962), Danish author also known under her pen name Isak Dinesen. Best known, at least in English, for "Out of Africa".
  • Fernando Pessoa (June 13, 1888 - November 30, 1935) Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic and translator, described as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. He also wrote in and translated from English and French.
  • Jean Cocteau (Jul. 5, 1889 – Oct. 11, 1963) French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright, artist and filmmaker.
  • רחל המשוררת Rachel the Poetess (1890 – 1931) Superb Lyric poet (in Hebrew). First Jewish woman poet in Palestine to receive recognition in a genre that was comprised solely of men. Poems by Rachel have been translated to English, German, Czech, Polish, Esperanto, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian, Basque and Slovak.
  • Aldous Leonard Huxley (Jul. 26, 1894 – Nov. 22, 1963) English-American writer and philosopher.
  • Bertolt Brecht (Feb. 10, 1898 – Aug. 14, 1956) German poet, playwright, and theatre director.
  • Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977) Multilingual Russian novelist and short story writer. Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequently cited as among his most important novels and is his most widely known, exhibiting the love of intricate word play and synesthetic detail that characterised all his works. The novel was ranked at No. 4 in the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels.
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Jul. 29, 1900 – Jul. 31, 1944) French writer and aviator. Best remembered for The Little Prince, Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars.
  • George Orwell (Jun 25, 1903 – Jan. 21, 1950) British author best known for his antitotalitarian satires Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
  • Mika Waltari (1908-1979) was a Finnish writer, best known for his best-selling novel The Egyptian. Published in English in 1949, it was the most best-selling novel in the USA until The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco. Waltari was extremely productive, and wrote in addition to novels also poetry, short stories, criminal novels, plays, essays, travel stories, film scripts and rhymed texts for comic strips.
  • Arthur Miller (Oct. 17, 1915 – Feb. 10, 2005) American playwright and essayist. A prominent figure in American theatre and cinema for over 61 years, writing a wide variety of dramas, including celebrated plays such as The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman, which are studied and performed worldwide.
  • Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (Dec. 16, 1917 – Mar. 19, 2008) British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist.
  • Isaac Asimov (Jan. 2, 1920 – Apr. 6, 1992) American author, one of the three grand masters of science fiction.
  • Norman Mailer (1923 - 2007) American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter and film director. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once. In 2005 he received the lifetime 'Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. He wrote over 40 books and published 11 novels over a fifty year span.
  • Bo Carpelan (1926-2011) is the only person who has won the Finlandia Prize twice. In 1997, he won the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize, known as the "little Nobel", and in 2006 he won the European Prize for Literature.
  • Hunter S. Thompson (1937 — 2005) Father of the Gonzo.
  • Adin Steinsaltz (1937— 2020) Time magazine praised as a "once-in-a-millennium scholar". Israeli noted rabbi, scholar, philosopher, social critic and author.
  • Amos Oz (1939-2018) The best-known novelist in Israel.
  • Isabel Allende Liona (b. 1942) Chilean American writer. She has been called "the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author". Best known for The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus) (1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias).
  • J. K. Rowling (b. Jul. 31, 1965) British author best known as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series.

Other Writers (with Geni profiles)

  • Natalie Clifford Barney, (1876 — 1972) American playwright, poet and novelist.
  • Renée Vivien, born Pauline Mary Tarn (1877 – 1909) was a poetise who wrote in the French language. She took to heart all the mannerisms of Symbolism, as one of the last poets to claim allegiance to the school. Her compositions include sonnets, hendecasyllabic verse, and prose poetry.
  • Dr. Ernst Weiss (1882 – 1940) Austrian physician, author of great novels. One of the best authors if the first half of the XX century. Of Jewish descent. He is the author of Ich, der Augenzeuge (The Eyewitness), a novel dealing with the Hitler period.
  • Isaac Babel (1894 — 1940) - a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature. Babel has also been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry".
  • Elwyn Brooks Andy White (1899 – 1985) American writer. Famous for the children novels "Charlotte's Web" and "Stuart Little".
  • Bernard Malamud (1914 — 1986) American author of novels and short stories. One of the best known American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford. His 1966 novel The Fixer (also filmed), about antisemitism in Tsarist Russia, won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Ray Bradbury (1920 — 2012) One of the most celebrated speculative American fiction authors among the 20th and 21st century,
  • James Dickey (1923 — 1997) American poet and novelist. Appointed the eighteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1966.
  • James Baldwin (1924 – 1987) American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America.
  • Maurice Sendak (1928 – 2012) Children's author whose books captivated generations of kids and simultaneously scared their parents. Sendak wrote and illustrated more than 50 children's books--including "Where the Wild Things Are," his most famous, published in 1963.
  • John Champlin Gardner, Jr. (1933 – 1982) American novelist, essayist, literary critic and university professor. He is perhaps most noted for his novel Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf myth from the monster's point of view, but his masterpiece was The Sunlight Dialogues. The Kings Indian, and The Wreckage of Agathon are also noteworthy.
  • Richard Gary Brautigan (1935 – 1984) American novelist, poet, and short story writer. His work often employs black comedy, parody, and satire. He is best known for his novels Trout Fishing in America (1967) and In Watermelon Sugar (1968).