The quintessential American writer, Twain was able to capture the American spirit in works like Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Known for his wit, his satire and his love for America Twain was the country's biggest supporter and its biggest critic - shining a light on his homeland, warts and all.
Perhaps no other American writer has influenced literature outside the Western hemisphere as much as Poe. His deft use of horror and the macabre, his masterful use of the short story and his creation of the detective story all changed literature as we know it and many authors today still feel Poe's influence in their work.
The voice of the people, Steinbeck is famous for books like The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, which show the dark underbelly of the American dream and champion the poor and downtrodden. His work was not only art, it was seminal in bringing the plight of millions of suffering Americans to the forefront and his historical accuracy allows us to glimpse an America that no longer exists.
Best known for his plays "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "A Streetcar Named Desire," and "The Glass Menagerie."
I find it really hard believe that Jack London can hold a candle to O'Connor. I would also put Melville higher on the list.
A poet rather than a writer of fiction, Whitman's Leaves of Grass stands as a testament to the American experience. Whitman sent years traveling the country, experiencing everything America had to offer and revising his work. He was the voice of America for many years and no work better captures the spirit of his age.
While today his books are mostly read by children and young adults in school, in his day London was one of the most famous authors in the world. The majority of his stories center around the wilderness and the tough, down to earth characters that live off the land.
Besides Poe, the most read and critiqued author of the macabre and horror. Tales from the Crypt, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Wes Craven all consider HP Lovecraft as their main influences.
Seriously? I was disturbed when he wasn't in the top 20 let alone top 70. Also Vonnegut should be further up on the list.
His books defined and continued to define a generation that is now known for it's literary importance.
A big surprise at not seeing her in the top 10 list. This quentissential american writer not only juxtaposed her philosophical thought with her characters, but also elevated american literature to its noble height
The author of the Rabbit Chronicles touches upon the struggles that exist in a typical American family in a completely original way.
Earth's Children Series: The Clan of the Cave Bear 1980, The Valley of Horses 1982, The Mammoth Hunters 1985, The Plains of Passage 1990, The Shelters of Stone.
Russian born American author of Pale Fire, Lolita, and other highly regarded English language books.
So Big - Pulitzer Prize 1925. Show Boat 1926, Giant 1952, Ice Palace 1958, Saratoga Trunk 1941, Cimmarron 1929, Dinner at Eight 1932. 3 novels turned into musicals.
Probably the best living American writer. Wrote Beloved (Pulitzer Prize for fiction), Sula (nominated for the National Book Award), and Song of Solomon (National Book Critics Circle Award)
THE COLLECTED STORIES 1952-82 I-V (‘87) Solar Lottery (‘55) The World Jones Made ('56) Eye in the Sky ('57) Time Out of Joint ('59) Dr. Futurity (‘60) The Man in the High Castle (‘62) The Game-Players of Titan (‘63) Martian Time-Slip (‘64) The Simulacra ('64) The Penultimate Truth ('64) Dr. Bloodmoney; or How We Got Along After the Bomb ('65) The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (‘65) Now Wait for Last Year (‘66) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ('68) Ubik (‘69) A Maze of Death ('70) Our Friends from Frolix 8 ('70) Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (‘74) A Scanner Darkly (‘77) The Divine Invasion ('81), VALIS (‘81) & The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (‘82)
Human nature hasn't changed - we stil try to rise above difficulty and help future generations
Harlem Renaissance writer who captured the plight and inner turmoil of African-American males during his day. His style blended the everyday speak of the average man with the prophetic oratory cadences of a Black pastor. Great works include: "Go Tell It on The Mountain" and "Notes of a Native Son."
Known primarily as a playwright, Wilder's novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, is a masterfully woven web of faith, love, guilt, and doubt.
Most prolific American author ever. Nobody else even comes close! Known for his Sci Fi stuff, but wrote hundreds of books on nearly everything.
Prior to his novels, he created The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart. Novels include The Other Side of Midnight 1973, Rage of Angels 1980, Master of the Game 1982 and Windmills of the Gods 1987.
The second greatest science fiction writer of all time (Behind Arthur Clarke). His works like, "Starship Troopers", "The Moon is a Harsh Misstress", and "Stranger in a Strange Land" changed the landscape of science fiction. Do not judge his abilities by the 'Starship Troopers' movie - completely different than the book. Needs a reboot.
Sherwood Anderson is not read as much as some of the other early modernists, but he was one of the most important, influencing writers like Hemingway, Faulkner and Steinbeck. Modern Library ranked his novel/story collection "Winesburg, Ohio" 24th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test ('68) The Right Stuff (‘79) The Bonfire of the Vanities ('87) A Man in Full (‘98) I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004) Back to Blood (2012)
Novels and short stories that pack a gritty punch with tremendous dialogue. "Rum Punch", "3:10 to Yuma", "Out of Sight", and more. Yes, he's been highly publicized for film adaptations of his work. And yes, it's deserved. From western to crime fiction to suspense thrillers, Leonard is at the forefront of contemporary realist writing.
An essential American writer. A member of the Beat Generation and friend of Kerouac and Ginsberg. His book "Naked Lunch" is a classic.
The Fifth Head of Cerberus ('72) Peace ('75) The Devil in a Forest (‘76) THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN I-V (’80-87) THE BOOK OF THE LONG SUN I-IV (’93-96) THE BOOK OF THE SHORT SUN I-III (1999-00-2001) THE SOLDIER TRILOGY (1986-89-2006) There Are Doors ('88), Castleview ('90) & Pandora, by Holly Hollander ('90) The Wizard Knight (2004) An Evil Guest (2008) The Sorcerer's House (2010) Home Fires (2011) COLLECTIONS: The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories (‘80) Gene Wolfe's Book of Days (‘81) Storeys from the Old Hotel ('88) Endangered Species (‘89) Strange Travelers (2000) Innocents Aboard (2004) Starwater Strains (2005)
Oh,he writes with amazing language-layered one -it lets you think more than it tells about the most difficult things in the life of Americans.I have read at least two of his novels and i could not stop finding more about this author.However, i have come to know that ones the apple of greatest of writers on this list like like Kurt V.,Julian Barnes,David Hare.His 'Eleven Kinds of Loneliness' is often viewed as the best short story fiction of all times. His first novel, Revolutionary Road (1961), was an instant success, a finalist for the National Book Award alongside Catch-22 and The Moviegoer, and equally deserving. As a chronicler of mainstream American life from the 1930s to the late ’60s
Ask the Dust alone should easily have him in the top 50, but the expanse of his works and the character of Arturo Bandini put him in the top 25. If he'd expanded more beyond Bandini, he'd be near the top of this list. The fact he's not even on it is a travesty.
Stunning prose writer most notable for being the quintessential American writer on the subject of the Vietnam War.
Spectacular short story writer. One of the best feminist and anti-racist writers of our country.
Confederacy of Dunces, need in say more, one of the best books of the last 100 years and with one of the best characters as well. A master of character development as well as a master of settings. he made New Orleans come alive in a book. Its a shame that he died so young we may never know what we he was capable of
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