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The Literary 100:
A Ranking of the
Most Influential Novelists, Playwrights, and Poets of All Time


Related pages:
- The Novel 100: The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time
- The Fictional 100 and 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 (including info about authors who created the characters)
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.




1William Shakespeare1564-1616Catholic; Anglican
2Dante Alighieri1265-1321Catholic
3Homerfl. c. 750(?) B.C.Greek paganism
4Leo Tolstoy1828-1910Russian Orthodox
5Geoffrey Chaucerc. 1340-1400Catholic
6Charles Dickens1812-1870Anglican
7James Joyce1882-1941 Catholic (lapsed)
8John Milton1608-1674 Congregationalist
9Virgil70-19 B.C. 
10Johann Wolfgang von Goethe1749-1832Deist
11Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra1547-1616Catholic
12Murasaki Shikibuc. 978-1030Buddhist/Shinto culture
13Sophocles496-406 B.C. 
14William Faulkner1897-1962Presbyterian
15Feodor Dostoevsky1821-1881Russian Orthodox
16T.S. Eliot1888-1965Anglican
17Marcel Proust1871-1922Jewish Catholic
18Jane Austen1775-1817Anglican
19George Eliot1819-1880Anglican; agnostic
20William Butler Yeats1865-1939Church of Ireland (Anglican); astrology
21Alexander Pushkin1799-1837Russian Orthodox
22Euripidesc. 480-406 B.C. 
23John Donne1572-1631Anglican; Catholic
24Herman Melville1819-1891Transcendentalist
25John Keats1795-1821Anglican
26Ovid43 B.C.-17 A.D. 
27Tu Fu712-770 
28William Blake1757-1827Swedenborgian; occult
29Aeschylusc. 525-456 B.C. 
30Gustave Flaubert1821-1880Catholic
31Franz Kafka1883-1924Jewish
32Moliere1622-1673Catholic
33William Wordsworth1770-1850Anglican
34Aristophanesc. 450-c. 385 B.C. 
35Thomas Mann1875-1955Lutheran
36Henrik Ibsen1828-1906 
37Anton Chekhov1860-1904Russian Orthodox
38Henry James1843-1916Anglican
39Vladimir Nabokov1899-1977Russian Orthodox
40Walt Whitman1819-1892Quaker; Humanist; Transcendentalist
41Honore de Balzac1799-1850Catholic
42Jonathan Swift1667-1745Church of Ireland (Anglican)
43Stendhal1783-1842Catholic
44Thomas Hardy1840-1928 
45George Bernard Shaw1856-1950Church of Ireland (Anglican); atheist, then mystic
46Ernest Hemingway1899-1961Catholic
47D. H. Lawrence1885-1930 
48Charles Baudelaire1821-1867Catholic
49Samuel Beckett1906-1989Church of Ireland (Anglican)
50Virginia Woolf1882-1941Neo-pagan
51Alexander Pope1688-1744Catholic
52Francois Rabelaisc. 1494-1553Catholic
53Francesco Petrarch1304-1374Catholic
54Emily Dickinson1830-1886 
55Edgar Allan Poe1809-1849 
56Henry Fielding1707-1754 
57Joseph Conrad1857-1924Catholic; atheist
58Robert Browning1812-1889Anglican
59Albert Camus1913-1960Catholic; Existentialism
60Charlotte Bronte1816-1855Anglican
61Emily Bronte1818-1848Anglican
62Jean Racine1639-1699Catholic
63Mark Twain1835-1910Presbyterian
64August Strindberg1849-1912 
65Emile Zola1840-1902Catholic
66Jorge Luis Borges1899-1986Catholic; Quaker; agnostic
67Cao Xueqin1715-1763 
68Giovanni Boccaccio1313-1375Catholic
69Voltaire1694-1778raised in Jansenism; later Deist
70Laurence Sterne1713-1768Church of Ireland clergyman (Anglican)
71William Makepeace Thackeray1811-1863 
72Percy Bysshe Shelley1792-1822Anglican; atheist
73Eugene O'Neill1888-1953Catholic
74Wallace Stevens1879-1955Catholic
75Lord Byron (George Gordon)1788-1824 
76Gabriel Garcia Marquez1928-Catholic
77Walter Scott1771-1832Anglican
78Pablo Neruda1904-1973Catholic
79Robert Musil1880-1942Catholic
80Alfred Lord Tennyson1809-1892Anglican
81Flannery O'Connor1925-1964Catholic
82Catullusc. 84-c. 54 B.C. 
83Federico Garcia Lorca1898-1936Catholic (some Jewish ancestry)
84Nathaniel Hawthorne1804-1864Transcendentalist
85Theodore Dreiser1871-1945Catholic; Congregationalist; Chrisitan Science
86Ralph Ellison1914-1994 
87Anthony Trollope1815-1882Anglican
88F. Scott Fitzgerald1896-1940Catholic
89Victor Hugo1802-1885Catholic
90Rabindranath Tagore1961-1941Hindu
91Daniel Defoe1660?-1731Protestant Dissenter (Presbyterian)
92Gunter Grass1927-Catholic
93Lu Xun1881-1936 
94E. M. Forster1879-1970 
95Isaac Bashevis Singer1904-1991Jewish
96Tanizaki Jun'ichiro1886-1965 
97Richard Wright1908-1960Seventh-day Adventist; Communist
98Gertrude Stein1874-1946Jewish
99Zeami Motokiyo1363-1443Buddhist/Shinto culture
100Oscar Wilde1854-1900Church of Ireland (Anglican); Catholic


Alternative spelling of names with diacritical marks: Molière (Moliere); Honoré de Balzac (Honore de Balzac); François Rabelais (Francois Rabelais); Charlotte Brontë (Charlotte Bronte); Emily Brontë (Emily Bronte); Émile Zola (Emile Zola); Gabriel García Márquez (Gabriel Garcia Marquez); Federico García Lorca (Federico Garcia Lorca); Günter Grass (Gunter Grass)

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Webpage created 29 August 2005. Last modified 19 December 2005.
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