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The Ten Greatest American Writers of All Time

America and Russia tower over the world of literature in a significant way. The two countries have produced some of the greatest writers of all time. Faulkner, Hemingway and Henry James are there among the world’s best writers.

The United States of America has produced some of the greatest writers in history. Many were philosophers who shaped the pragmatic capitalist philosophy; many others like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson made a larger mark with their immense contribution to the American constitution and the concept of liberty while some of them rose to the presidency. Uncle Sam together with Russia, towers over the world of literature and great thought like a colossus. Here are the greatest among them who have gone on to shape world literature. Lovers of great literature can not forget these novelists and poets.

  1. Ernest Hemingway – Love him or hate him, he is the greatest American writer living or dead. A farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea epitomized the career of one of the most flamboyant American men of letters. He bagged the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature and rightfully so. He was a journalist as well as a short story writer of no mean repute. He committed suicide on July 2nd 1961 by shooting himself with a shotgun.
  2. William Faulkner – Many readers take Faulkner to be bigger than Hemingway for one reason or another. He is best known for bagging the 1949 Nobel Prize for literature and also creating the fictional Yoknapatawpha County where he based all his major works. Apart from well known novels such as Absalom, Absalom and The Hamlet, Faulkner also wrote poetry and numerous short stories.
  3. Henry James – The son of a clergyman, James was one of the greatest American writers who penned important works of fiction such as The Ambassadors, The Wings of the dove, and The portrait of a lady. He also wrote short stories, novellas and works of criticism. He is remembered for the famous ‘loose bags of literature’ in reference to Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
  4. Mark twain (1835 – 1919) – This was the pen name chosen by the great Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He penned great stories such as Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He also wrote many other works including short stories, travel works and even plays.
  5. John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968) – He is best known for the novella, Of Mice and Men but also wrote some significant works like East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, The Forgotten Village and Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber team. He was inducted in 2007 into the California Hall of Fame.
  6. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864) – Like many writers of his time, he started his career as a journalist and went on to pen important works such as The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. He also wrote numerous short story collections.
  7. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 – 1940) – He is remembered for great novels such as This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender Is the Night and the best of them all titled The Great Gatsby. Despite the prominence of The Great Gatsby, he was better known for his short story collections and work in Hollywood.
  8. Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) – Even though he died at a relatively young age, Poe left an indelible mark on American Literature with significant poetry collections and numerous short stories. He also contributed to literary criticism, philosophy and even politics.
  9. T.S. Eliot (1888 – 1965) – He was a great American poet and playwright who bagged the 1948 Nobel Prize for literature. He is best known for The Hollow Men and Ash Wednesday as well as the play, Murder in the cathedral.
  10. Toni Morrison (1931 – ) – America like the rest of the world is male dominated but Toni is up there among the greatest American authors of all time. She is best known for the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved. She also penned Song of Solomon, Tar Baby and Paradise and bagged the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993.
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