As lovers of literature, we often find ourselves immersed in the worlds conjured by words, the sentiments stirred by syntax, and the characters carved from creativity. Today, let’s embark on a journey through time, revisiting some of the best classic authors who have left an indelible mark on the canvas of literature.
List Of 9 Best Classic Authors
- William Shakespeare
- Jane Austen
- Charles Dickens
- Leo Tolstoy
- Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Mark Twain
- Herman Melville
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Emily Brontë
1. William Shakespeare: The Bard of Avon
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. His plays have been translated into over 100 languages and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in 1564. He married at the age of 18 and had three children. In the late 1580s, he moved to London to pursue a career in the theater. He quickly became one of the most successful playwrights in England, and his plays were performed at the Royal Court.
Shakespeare wrote over 30 plays, including some of the most famous tragedies, comedies, and histories in the English language. His plays are known for their complex characters, poetic language, and insights into the human condition.
Some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays include:
- Hamlet: A prince seeks revenge for the murder of his father.
- Othello: A Moorish general is manipulated into killing his wife.
- Romeo and Juliet: Two young lovers from feuding families fall in love and die tragically.
- Macbeth: A Scottish general becomes obsessed with power and commits murder to become king.
- King Lear: An aging king divides his kingdom among his three daughters, with disastrous results.
2. Jane Austen: The Queen of the Regency Novel
Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the most beloved and enduring authors of all time. Her novels are known for their wit, social commentary, and strong female characters.
Austen was born in Steventon, England, in 1775. She was one of eight children in a close-knit family. She began writing novels as a teenager, and her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published anonymously in 1811.
Austen’s novels are set in the English Regency era, a period of social and economic change. Her novels often explore themes of marriage, money, and class. Austen’s characters are complex and well-developed, and her novels are full of humor and insights into human nature.
Some of Austen’s most famous novels include:
- Pride and Prejudice: A young woman must overcome her pride and prejudice in order to find true love.
- Emma: A wealthy and independent young woman meddles in the love lives of others.
- Sense and Sensibility: Two sisters with very different personalities must learn to balance their heads and hearts.
- Mansfield Park: A young woman is sent to live with her wealthy relatives, where she learns about the importance of love and family.
- Persuasion: A second chance at love for a woman who has been persuaded to reject the man she loves.
3. Charles Dickens: The Master of Social Commentary
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is one of the most famous and beloved English novelists of all time. His novels are known for their social commentary, memorable characters, and humor.
Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1812. He had a difficult childhood, and his father was imprisoned for debt when Dickens was 12 years old. Dickens was forced to leave school and work in a blacking factory to support his family.
Despite his difficult childhood, Dickens was determined to become a writer. He began writing for magazines and newspapers when he was a teenager, and his first novel, Oliver Twist, was published in 1838.
Dickens’s novels are often set in the slums of London, and they depict the lives of the poor and working class. His novels are full of memorable characters, such as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens’s novels also contain a strong message of social justice.
Some of Dickens’s most famous novels include:
- Oliver Twist: A young orphan boy must survive on the streets of London.
- David Copperfield: A coming-of-age story about a young man who struggles to overcome poverty and adversity.
- A Tale of Two Cities: A historical novel set during the French Revolution.
- Great Expectations: A young man is raised by a wealthy benefactor, but he must learn to appreciate the simple things in life.
- A Christmas Carol: A classic Christmas ghost story about a miser who is visited by three spirits who teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
4. Leo Tolstoy: The Genius of Russian Literature
Leo Tolstoy was born in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia, in 1828. He was the fourth of five children born to a wealthy and aristocratic family. Tolstoy had a privileged childhood, but he was also deeply affected by the poverty and suffering he saw around him.
Tolstoy began writing in his early teens, and his first novel, Childhood, was published in 1852. Tolstoy’s novels are known for their epic scope, complex characters, and philosophical depth. He often explored themes of war, peace, faith, and family in his work.
Some of Tolstoy’s most famous novels include:
- War and Peace: An epic novel set during the Napoleonic Wars.
- Anna Karenina: A tragic love story about a married woman who falls in love with another man.
- The Death of Ivan Ilyich: A novella about a man who comes to terms with his own mortality.
- Resurrection: A novel about a man who is forced to confront his past sins.
- Hadji Murat: A historical novel set in the Caucasus Mountains during the Russo-Turkish War.
5. Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Master of Psychological Depth
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) is another of the great Russian novelists. His novels are known for their psychological depth, complex characters, and exploration of the human condition.
Dostoevsky was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1821. He had a difficult childhood, and his mother died when he was 15 years old. Dostoevsky went on to study engineering, but he soon abandoned his studies to pursue a career in writing.
Dostoevsky’s first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846. He was arrested and sentenced to death for his involvement in a revolutionary group, but his sentence was commuted to four years in prison and exile in Siberia.
Dostoevsky’s experiences in prison and exile had a profound impact on his writing. His novels often explored themes of crime, punishment, and redemption. Dostoevsky’s characters are often complex and morally ambiguous, and his novels offer insights into the dark side of human nature.
Some of Dostoevsky’s most famous novels include:
- Crime and Punishment: A novel about a young man who murders a pawnbroker and her sister.
- The Brothers Karamazov: A novel about three brothers who are struggling to come to terms with their father’s murder.
- The Idiot: A novel about a young man with a pure heart who is misunderstood by the world around him.
- Demons: A novel about a group of revolutionaries who are planning to assassinate the Tsar.
- Notes from Underground: A novella about a man who is struggling to find his place in the world.
6. Mark Twain: The Father of American Literature
Mark Twain (1835-1910) is widely regarded as the father of American literature. He is best known for his novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which are considered classics of American literature.
Twain was born in Florida, Missouri, in 1835. He grew up on the Mississippi River, and his experiences there would later inspire his writing. Twain began working as a printer’s apprentice at the age of 13, and he later worked as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi.
In 1861, Twain moved to Nevada to work in the silver mines. He soon abandoned mining to pursue a career in writing. Twain’s first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, was published in 1865.
Twain’s novels are known for their humor, realism, and social commentary. He often explored themes of race, class, and religion in his work. Twain’s characters are often complex and memorable, and his novels offer insights into the American experience.
Some of Twain’s most famous novels include:
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A young boy named Huck Finn and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, travel down the Mississippi River in search of freedom.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: A young boy named Tom Sawyer has many adventures in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Missouri.
- Pudd’nhead Wilson: A novel about race and slavery in the antebellum South.
- The Prince and the Pauper: A novel about two boys who are accidentally switched at birth, one the Prince of England and the other a pauper.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: A novel about a time-traveling engineer who finds himself in the court of King Arthur.
7. Herman Melville: The Bard of the Sea
Herman Melville (1819-1891) is another American classic author. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick, which is considered one of the greatest novels ever written.
Melville was born in New York City in 1819. He went to sea at the age of 18, and he sailed on merchant ships for several years. Melville’s experiences at sea would later inspire his writing.
In 1846, Melville published his first novel, Typee, which was a romanticized account of his experiences in the South Seas. Melville’s next novel, Omoo, was also a commercial success.
In 1851, Melville published Moby-Dick: Or, The Whale. Moby-Dick is a complex and challenging novel that explores themes of good versus evil, obsession, and the nature of reality. Moby-Dick was not a commercial success when it was first published, but it is now considered one of the greatest novels ever written.
Some of Melville’s other notable works include:
- Billy Budd, Foretopman: A novella about a young sailor who is wrongfully executed for mutiny.
- Bartleby, the Scrivener: A short story about a man who refuses to work.
- Pierre; or, The Ambiguities: A novel about a young man who searches for meaning in his life.
- The Confidence-Man: A novel about a con man who travels the Mississippi River.
8. Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Dark Romancer
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is another American classic author. He is best known for his novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, which are considered masterpieces of American literature.
Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1804. He was a descendant of John Hathorne, one of the judges in the Salem witch trials. Hawthorne’s childhood experiences in Salem would later inspire his writing.
Hawthorne’s novels are known for their dark and brooding atmosphere. He often explored themes of sin, guilt, and redemption in his work. Hawthorne’s characters are often complex and morally ambiguous.
Some of Hawthorne’s other notable works include:
- Twice-Told Tales: A collection of short stories.
- Mosses from an Old Manse: A collection of short stories and essays.
- The Blithedale Romance: A novel about a utopian community.
- The Marble Faun: A novel about an American sculptor who lives in Rome.
9. Emily Brontë: The Poet of the Moors
Emily Brontë (1818-1848) is an English novelist and poet. She is best known for her novel Wuthering Heights, which is considered one of the greatest novels ever written.
Brontë was born in Haworth, Yorkshire, England, in 1818. She was the fifth of six children born to Patrick and Maria Brontë. Brontë’s mother died when she was three years old, and her father was a strict and demanding parent.
Brontë and her sisters, Anne and Charlotte, were all talented writers. They published their first works of poetry under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Brontë’s only novel, Wuthering Heights, was published in 1847.
Wuthering Heights is a passionate and gothic novel about the love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. The novel is set on the bleak Yorkshire moors, and it is known for its powerful atmosphere and complex characters.
Brontë died of tuberculosis in 1848, at the age of 30. She left behind a small body of work, but her novel Wuthering Heights is considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written.
Some of Brontë’s other notable works include:
- Wuthering Heights: A passionate and gothic novel about the love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff.
- Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell: A collection of poems co-written with her sisters, Charlotte and Anne.
Classic authors are the masters of their craft. Their writing is timeless and universal, and their stories continue to resonate with readers centuries later. By reading classic novels, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the human condition.
If you are looking for a good book to read, I highly recommend picking up a classic novel by one of the authors mentioned in this blog post. You won’t be disappointed.