Major Literary Figures
Terms in this set (95)
Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.E.)
Ancient Greek dramatist specialized in tragedies, among them "Prometheus Bound".
Aesop (c. 620-560 B.C.E.)
Ancient Greek fabulist whose allegorical fables have inspired many writers.
Aligheri, Dante (1265-1321)
Early Renaissance Italian writer is called the father of modern literature. His "Divine Comedy" is one of literature's great triumphs.
Anderson, Sherwood (1876-1941)
American short-story writer whose most famous collection is "Winesburg, Ohio".
Austen, Jane (1775-1817)
Nineteenth-century English author whose novels include "Sense and Sensibility", "Pride and Prejudice", and "Emma".
Balzac, Honore de (1799-1850)
Early 19th-century French writer best known for his series "La Comedie Humaine".
Beckett, Samuel (1906-1989)
Irish-born French novelist and playwright whose Existentialist works include "Malloy" and "Waiting for Godot".
Bellow, Saul (1915-2005)
American novelist awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976. His works include the novels "Herzog" and "Humboldt's Gift".
Blake, William (1757-1827)
British artist, poet, and engraver who wrote "Songs of Innocence and Experience".
Bronte, Charlotte (1816-1855)
English novelist, sister to Emily, who wrote under the pen name Currer Bell. Best known for the novels "Jane Eyre" and "Shirley".
Bronte, Emily (1818-1848)
One of the three literary sisters, this English novelist wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell. Her novel "Wuthering Heights" is considered one of the greatest romantic novels.
Bunyan, John (1628-1688)
English preacher and writer of allegorical stories, most famously "The Pilgrim's Progress".
Byron, Lord George (1788-1824)
Prominent Romantic Poet known for his adventurous life and writings. Important works include "Don Juan" and "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage".
Camus, Albert (1913-1960)
French writer and Existentialist best known for his novels "The Stranger" and "The Plague".
Carroll, Lewis (Charles Dodgson) (1832-1898)
Prominent British Writer, mathematician, and artist, Carroll wrote the classic children's tales "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass".
Cervantes, Miguel de (1547-1616)
Spanish writer whose book "Don Quixote" is considered the first modern novel.
Chaucer, Geoffrey (c. 1340-1400)
Early English poet who wrote the influential "The Canterbury Tales".
Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich (1860-1904)
Late 19th- and early 20th-century Russian playwright and short-story writer who composed "The Seagull" and "The Cherry Orchard".
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834)
One of the first English Romantics, widely remembered for "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Together with William Wordsworth, he published "Lyrical Ballads" in 1798.
Coletter, Sidonie-Gabrielle (1873-1954)
Late 19th-century French female author who published the Claudine novels as well as "The Innocent Wife".
Conrad, Joseph (1857-1924)
Polish-born British writer whose most famous books are the novella "Heart of darkness" and the novel Under Western Eyes".
Crane, Stephen (1871-1900)
American author of the Civil War novel "Red Badge of Courage".
Dickens, Charles (1812-1870)
English writer immensely popular with his Victorian audience. A contemporary of Thomas Hardy, some important works are "A Tale of Two Cities", "Great Expectations", and "A Christmas Carol".
Dickinson, Emily (1830-1886)
One of America's great 19th-century poets whose emotional poems were never published in her lifetime.
Donne, John (1572-1631)
English writer, essayist, and religious scholar considered the greatest of the metaphysical poets due to his highly original poems, including "The Flea" and "Death Be Not Proud".
Dostoevsky, Fyodor (1821-1881)
Prominent Russian novelist whose major works include "Crime and Punishment" and "The Idiot".
Dreiser, Theodore (1871-1945)
American writer of the naturalist school whose novels include "Sister Carrie" and "An American Tragedy".
Eliot, George (Mary Ann Evans) (1819-1880)
Victorian English female novelist who wrote realist novels "Middlemarch" and"Adam Bede".
Eliot, T.S. (1888-1965)
American-born British Modernist poet who wrote the obscure and referential poems "The Wasteland" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".
Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882)
Important American Transcendentalist writer and philosopher. The mentor of Thoreau, he wrote the essay "Nature".
Euripedes (c. 480-406 B.C.E.)
Along with Sophocles and Aeschylus, a preeminent Ancient Greek dramatist.
Faulkner, William (1897-1962)
Acclaimed American Southern novelist had a major influence on contemporary literature. Some major works include "The Sound and the Fury", "Absolom! Absolom!", and "As I Lay Dying".
Fitzgerald, F. Scott (1896-1940)
One of the 20th century's literary stars, his writing chronicled the Jazz Age. His novel "The Great Gatsby" is considered an American masterpiece.
Flaubert, Gustave (1821-1880)
French writer who coined the phrase "Le Mot Juste" (the perfect word) had a notoriously meticulous style. His masterpiece is "Madame Bovary".
Frost, Robert (1874-1963)
Popular American poet of the 20th century who penned such notable poems as "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "Mending Wall".
Ginsberg, Allen (1926-1997)
American Beat poet and active political figure who became the face of a generation's underground. Perhaps his most famous work is the collection "Howl".
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832)
Prominent German writer, critic, and scientist is most famous for his classic "Faust".
Hammett, Dashiell (1894-1961)
Popular American writer of noir, or detective, fiction. Many of his novels, including "Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man", became successful movies.
Hardy, Thomas (1840-1928)
One of the great English writers of the 19th Century, his popular novels include "Far from the Madding Crowd" and "Tess of the D'Ubervilles".
Hawthorne, Nathaniel (1804-1864)
Important 19th-century American writer who wrote celebrated novels and short stories, including "The Scarlet Letter" and "The Minister's Black Veil".
Hemingway, Ernest (1899-1961)
Holds a place as one of America's most influential writers due to a terse style he honed as a journalist. Best known among his works are the novels "The Sun Also Rises" and "A Farewell to Arms".
Hesse, Herman (1877-1962)
Swiss-born German writer who wrote often about the duality of life. His novels include "Siddhartha" and "Steppenwolf".
Homer (c. 850 B.C.E.)
Ancient Greek writer sometimes called the father of literature. His epics "Iliad" and "Odyssey" are two of history's most important achievements.
Hughes, Langston (1902-1967)
Twentieth-century African American poet who helped shape the Harlem Renaissance. Major works include "Weary Blues" and "Selected Poems".
Hugo, Victor (1802-1885)
Prominent Victorian French novelist who wrote "Les Miserables".
James, Henry (1843-1916)
Expatriate American writer and critic at the turn of the 19th century whose novels include "The Turn of the Screw" and "Daisy Miller".
Johnson, Samuel (1709-1784)
The leading thinker of his era, this English writer wrote the first modern dictionary in 1755.
Joyce, James (1882-1941)
Irish author is one of the towering figures of modern literature due to his groundbreaking narratives, shown most spectacularly in the novels "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake".
Kafka, Franz (1883-1924)
German existentialist novelist who penned the classic "The Metamorphosis".
Keats, John (1795-1821)
English Romantic poet who wrote "Ode to a Nightinglae" and "Ode to a Grecian Urn," among many others.
Kerouac, Jack (1922-1969)
American Beat poet and novelist and voice of the counterculture who wrote "On The Road".
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth (1807-1882)
Popular 19th-century American Romantic poet who wrote "Songs of Hiawatha".
Marlowe, Christopher (1564-1593)
English playwright was Shakespeare's contemporary and is often thought to have influenced him greatly. He wrote "Tamburlaine the Great" as well as "Dr. Faustus".
Melville, Herman (1819-1891)
One of the greatest American novelists, his works include the masterpiece "Mody Dick" and the short story "Bartleby the Scrivener".
Miller, Arthur (1915-2005)
Acclaimed 20th-century American playwright who wrote many Pultizer Prize-winning plays including "Death of a Salesman" and "The Crucible".
Miller, Henry (1891-1980)
Twentieth-century American writer who wrote several controversial works, including "Tropic of Cancer".
Milton, John (1608-1674)
Considered one of the great English-language poets. An outspoken essasyist during the Reformation, his major works include "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained".
Moliere, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673)
French playwright and actor that helped define modern theater with such acclaimed plays as "Tartuffe" and "The Misanthrope".
Morrison, Toni (1931-)
Contemporary African American novelist whose fiction is widely acclaimed, she won the Nobel Prize in 1993. Her major works include "Beloved" and "Song of Solomon".
Nabokov, Vladamir (1899-1977)
Russian American writer and essayist who is probably best known for his controversial novel "Lolita" and its effete protagonist Humbert Humbert.
O'Neill, Eugene (1888-1953)
Twentieth-century playwright widely thought to be America's greatest dramatist. His major works include "Desire under the Elms", "The Hairy Ape", and "The Iceman Cometh".
Orwell, George (Eric Blair) (1903-1950)
English author who penned the satirical political novels "1984" and "Animal Farm". Also known for his critical works and essay.
Ovid (43 B.C.E.-17 B.C.E.)
Roman poet whose poems, including the crucial "Metamorphoses", were a major source of inspiration for Renaissance and Baroque writers.
Renaissance Italian poet whose love poems and writings were widely translated and had great influence on the 16th- and 17th-century British writers.
Plath, Sylvia (1932-1963)
American poet and novelist of the confessional school whose tempestuous life was the subject of many of her poems. The author of "Daddy" and the novel "The Bell Jar" committed suicide in 1963.
Plutarch (c. 46-120)
Greek essayist and biographer whose monumental tone, "The Parallel Lives," influenced many scholars and writers, including Shakespeare.
Poe, Edgar Allen (1809-1849)
One of the 19th-century America's greatest writers and forefather of the modern horror genre. His works include the poem "The Raven" and the stories "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado".
Pound, Ezra (1885-1972)
American born poet and editor (of poet T.S. Eliot and others) who typified the Modernist movement.
Proust, Marcel (1871-1922)
French novelist who wrote complex novels and stories, among which are the series of books that make up "Remembrance of Things Past".
Rushdie, Salma (1947- )
British novelist most notable for the death sentence imposed on him by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who thought his novel "The Satanic Verses" to be blasphemous.
Sappho (c. 620 B.C.E.)
Greek female poet of whose work little remains today except fragments of love poems.
Scott, Sir Walter (1771-1832)
Scottish novelist whose historical novels were extremely popular. His most famous work is "Ivanhoe".
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)
Considered the master of playwrights in the English language, Shakespeare has influenced much of modern literature from poetry to tragedy. Just a few of his major works include "Romeo and Juliet", "Othello", "Hamlet", "Macbeth", and "King Lear".
Shaw, George Bernard (1856-1950)
Irish playwright and Nobel Prize-winner wrote many notable plays including "Pygmalion" and "Saint Joan".
Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822)
English poet during the Romantic movement was also the husband of writer Mary Shelley (Frankenstein). A vocal social critic, he published the great lyrical drama "Prometheus Unbound".
Sophocles (c. 496-406 B.C.E.)
Greek dramatist who, along with Aeschylus and Euripedes, wrote some of the greatest Greek tragedies. His classic "Oedipus Rex" is among the greatest plays ever written.
Spenser, Edmund (1552-1599)
A master of the epic poem and friend of prominent British statesmen, Spenser is best known for his elegant "The Faerie Queen".
Stein, Gertrude (1874-1946)
An American writer who lived most of her life in Paris in the 1920s, coining the term "lost generation" in reference to her fellow expatriate writers (including Hemingway and Fitzgerald).
Steinbeck, John (1902-1968)
Twentieth-century American novelist whose stories often centered around the plight of the worker. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962 and his novels include "The Grapes of Wrath" and :east of Eden".
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850-1894)
English writer of the 19th century who wrote such well-known novels as "Treasure Island" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".
Swift, Jonathan (1667-1745)
Irish-born English writer who is widely acknowledged as one of the world's great satirists. He published the classic "Gulliver's Travels" and the widely acclaimed satire "A Modest Proposal".
Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862)
Nineteenth-century American thinker and essayist who, along with his mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, championed the Transcendentalist movement. His book "Walden" is a classic text in western thought.
Tolstoy, Count Leo (1828-1910)
Prominent Russian novelist and philosopher who wrote some of the world's most famous novel, including "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina".
Twain, Mark (Samuel Clemens) (1835-1910)
One of the America's greatest 19th-century writers and humorists whose novels, including "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer", are considered classics of American literature.
Updike, John (1932-)
Contemporary American novelist who wrote many popular novels, including "Rabbit", "Run", and "Bech at Bay".
Virgil (Vergil) (70-19 B.C.E.)
Roman poet who wrote the epic "Aeneid".
Important 18th-century French philosopher and author whose achievements helped shape the Age of Enlightenment. Principal among his work is the masterpiece "Candide".
Walker, Alice (1944- )
African American novelist who wrote "The Color Purple".
Whitman, Walt (1819-1892)
One of the greatest American poets, whose seminal collection, "Leaves of Grass," is still considered among the greatest of the American political works.
Wilde, Oscar (1854-1900)
Controversial Irish writer whose works included "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "Salome".
Williams, Tennessee (1914-1983)
Major American playwright from the South who wrote, among others. "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Glass Menagerie".
Woolf, Virginia (1882-1941)
British novelist and a major influence in modern fiction, her unconventional stream of consciousness style has influenced many writers. Among her most well-known works are "To the Lighthouse" and "Mrs. Dalloway".
Wordsworth, William (1770-1830)
Poet of the English Romantic movement who, along with Coleridge, published the seminal "Lyrical Ballads".
Yeats, William Butler (1865-1939)
Irish playwright and poet who penned "The Winding Stair".
Zola, Emile (1840-1902)
French writer and essayist from the naturalist school whose most famous work is "J'Accuse," an article decrying the French government's role in the Dreyfus Affair.