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The Literary 100:

clip_image001A Ranking of the Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, and Poets of All Time

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Ν. Τσούλιας

The list below is from the book The Literary 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, and Poets of All Time (Checkmark Books/Facts On File, Inc.: New York, 2001), written by Daniel S. Burt.

Burt holds a Ph.D from New York University with a specialty in Victorian fiction and was for nine years a dean at Wesleyan University, where he has also taught literature courses since 1989. He is also the author of The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time.

1

William Shakespeare

1564-1616

Catholic; Anglican

2

Dante Alighieri

1265-1321

Catholic

3

Homer

fl. c. 750(?) B.C.

Greek paganism

4

Leo Tolstoy

1828-1910

Russian Orthodox

5

Geoffrey Chaucer

c. 1340-1400

Catholic

6

Charles Dickens

1812-1870

Anglican

7

James Joyce

1882-1941

Catholic (lapsed)

8

John Milton

1608-1674

Congregationalist

9

Virgil

70-19 B.C.

 

10

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

1749-1832

Deist

11

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

1547-1616

Catholic

12

Murasaki Shikibu

c. 978-1030

Buddhist/Shinto culture

13

Sophocles

496-406 B.C.

 

14

William Faulkner

1897-1962

Presbyterian

15

Feodor Dostoevsky

1821-1881

Russian Orthodox

16

T.S. Eliot

1888-1965

Anglican

17

Marcel Proust

1871-1922

Jewish Catholic

18

Jane Austen

1775-1817

Anglican

19

George Eliot

1819-1880

Anglican; agnostic

20

William Butler Yeats

1865-1939

Church of Ireland (Anglican); astrology

21

Alexander Pushkin

1799-1837

Russian Orthodox

22

Euripides

c. 480-406 B.C.

 

23

John Donne

1572-1631

Anglican; Catholic

24

Herman Melville

1819-1891

Transcendentalist

25

John Keats

1795-1821

Anglican

26

Ovid

43 B.C.-17 A.D.

 

27

Tu Fu

712-770

 

28

William Blake

1757-1827

Swedenborgian; occult

29

Aeschylus

c. 525-456 B.C.

 

30

Gustave Flaubert

1821-1880

Catholic

31

Franz Kafka

1883-1924

Jewish

32

Moliere

1622-1673

Catholic

33

William Wordsworth

1770-1850

Anglican

34

Aristophanes

c. 450-c. 385 B.C.

 

35

Thomas Mann

1875-1955

Lutheran

36

Henrik Ibsen

1828-1906

 

37

Anton Chekhov

1860-1904

Russian Orthodox

38

Henry James

1843-1916

Anglican

39

Vladimir Nabokov

1899-1977

Russian Orthodox

40

Walt Whitman

1819-1892

Quaker; Humanist; Transcendentalist

41

Honore de Balzac

1799-1850

Catholic

42

Jonathan Swift

1667-1745

Church of Ireland (Anglican)

43

Stendhal

1783-1842

Catholic

44

Thomas Hardy

1840-1928

 

45

George Bernard Shaw

1856-1950

Church of Ireland (Anglican); atheist, then mystic

46

Ernest Hemingway

1899-1961

Catholic

47

D. H. Lawrence

1885-1930

 

48

Charles Baudelaire

1821-1867

Catholic

49

Samuel Beckett

1906-1989

Church of Ireland (Anglican)

50

Virginia Woolf

1882-1941

Neo-pagan

51

Alexander Pope

1688-1744

Catholic

52

Francois Rabelais

c. 1494-1553

Catholic

53

Francesco Petrarch

1304-1374

Catholic

54

Emily Dickinson

1830-1886

 

55

Edgar Allan Poe

1809-1849

 

56

Henry Fielding

1707-1754

 

57

Joseph Conrad

1857-1924

Catholic; atheist

58

Robert Browning

1812-1889

Anglican

59

Albert Camus

1913-1960

Catholic; Existentialism

60

Charlotte Bronte

1816-1855

Anglican

61

Emily Bronte

1818-1848

Anglican

62

Jean Racine

1639-1699

Catholic

63

Mark Twain

1835-1910

Presbyterian

64

August Strindberg

1849-1912

 

65

Emile Zola

1840-1902

Catholic

66

Jorge Luis Borges

1899-1986

Catholic; Quaker; agnostic

67

Cao Xueqin

1715-1763

 

68

Giovanni Boccaccio

1313-1375

Catholic

69

Voltaire

1694-1778

raised in Jansenism; later Deist

70

Laurence Sterne

1713-1768

Church of Ireland clergyman (Anglican)

71

William Makepeace Thackeray

1811-1863

 

72

Percy Bysshe Shelley

1792-1822

Anglican; atheist

73

Eugene O’Neill

1888-1953

Catholic

74

Wallace Stevens

1879-1955

Catholic

75

Lord Byron (George Gordon)

1788-1824

 

76

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1928-

Catholic

77

Walter Scott

1771-1832

Anglican

78

Pablo Neruda

1904-1973

Catholic

79

Robert Musil

1880-1942

Catholic

80

Alfred Lord Tennyson

1809-1892

Anglican

81

Flannery O’Connor

1925-1964

Catholic

82

Catullus

c. 84-c. 54 B.C.

 

83

Federico Garcia Lorca

1898-1936

Catholic (some Jewish ancestry)

84

Nathaniel Hawthorne

1804-1864

Transcendentalist

85

Theodore Dreiser

1871-1945

Catholic; Congregationalist; Chrisitan Science

86

Ralph Ellison

1914-1994

 

87

Anthony Trollope

1815-1882

Anglican

88

F. Scott Fitzgerald

1896-1940

Catholic

89

Victor Hugo

1802-1885

Catholic

90

Rabindranath Tagore

1961-1941

Hindu

91

Daniel Defoe

1660?-1731

Protestant Dissenter (Presbyterian)

92

Gunter Grass

1927-

Catholic

93

Lu Xun

1881-1936

 

94

E. M. Forster

1879-1970

 

95

Isaac Bashevis Singer

1904-1991

Jewish

96

Tanizaki Jun’ichiro

1886-1965

 

97

Richard Wright

1908-1960

Seventh-day Adventist; Communist

98

Gertrude Stein

1874-1946

Jewish

99

Zeami Motokiyo

1363-1443

Buddhist/Shinto culture

100

Oscar Wilde

1854-1900

Church of Ireland (Anglican); Catholic

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