13 Greatest American Authors of All Time

13 Greatest American Authors of All Time

The past couple of centuries have produced some truly great writers in the United States of America. Some of them left a lasting impression on literature, transcended boundaries, and influenced many generations of readers. You might have a completely different choice of the greatest American authors to us. Nevertheless, our list reflects the most popular chosen choices by millions of readers. They are not merely novelists. Some have produced some wonderful essays, short stories, autobiographies, plays, and poems in addition to novels.

Here are the thirteen greatest American authors of all time whom we’ve chosen…

1. Mark Twain (1835-1910)

His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was born on the 30th of November 1835 in Missouri. And had to leave school after the fifth grade to work as an apprentice for a printer. Later he started working as a typesetter as well as a printer. It was common for Twain to visit public libraries in the evenings to further educate himself. He craved access to wider information that conventional schools didn’t give to him. Before he adopted his pen name, Mark Twain, he had tried several other pen names beginning in 1852. He is considered the greatest humorist of the United States. William Faulkner had declared him the ‘Father of American Literature’. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are two of his most popular novels.

2. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Thoreau was born into a modest family in New England. He is best known for his essay Civil Disobedience and his book Walden. He authored over 20 volumes of writings which include books, articles, journals, essays, and poetry. After graduated from Harvard College he then worked as a faculty of the Concord public school. After this, he started grammar school with his brother, John.

His writings reflected a close observation of nature, his poetic sensibility, personal experiences, and philosophical austerity. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Leo Tolstoy were among the ones who were heavily influenced by his philosophy of civil disobedience.

3. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

It was only after her death that the Americans came to know about her fascinating poems. Out of the 1,800 poems that she wrote, only 10 were published during her lifetime. The rest were discovered by her younger sister Lavinia. The first collection of poems was edited and published in 1890. 

Emily Dickinson’s poems had a cult following in the 1920s owing to the increasing popularity of modernist poetry. Many critics described her as a great woman poet. Her collection of poems was published in 1955 by Thomas H. Johnson as The Poems of Emily Dickinson.

4. T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

Thomas Stearns Eliot is considered one of the major poets of the 20th century! He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his contribution to modern-day poetry in 1948. One of his best-known poems is The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It was published in 1915, it was hailed as a masterpiece of modernist poetry. Also, he wrote seven plays, including The Cocktail Party and Murder in the Cathedral.

He was born on the 26th of September 1888 to Henry Ware Eliot and Charlotte Champe Stearns. His love for literature developed from living in isolation which was due to a condition called a congenital double inguinal hernia. Sadly, he suffered from this condition as a child. Later, he graduated from Washington University and earned his Master of Arts in English literature from Harvard College.

5. Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

He was the first American writer to get the coveted Nobel Prize in Literature. Which was awarded to him for his ability to create new types of characters with wit and humour and his energetic and graphic art of description. Moreover, he was a strong critic of the capitalism and materialism adopted by America between the wars and his work reflect his views. 

Sinclair Lewis was born in Minnesota on the 7th of February 1885. Right from his childhood to the days at Yale University, he had trouble making friends. Nevertheless, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University in 1908. His first novel was Our Mr Wrenn: The Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man. And in the 1920s, his novel titled Arrowsmith was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, which he declined.