The history of literature is full of various works and names. From Ancient Greek literature to Haruki Murakami, people have written millions of stories, some of which have, of course, become true classics and examples of our civilizational achievements. In this article, we at Fiction Horizon have decided to bring you a list of the 30 best male writers you absolutely have to read. The list is going to give you some basic biographical information about them and the works you should definitely read. Prepare to go on a journey from Ancient Greece to contemporary times!
1. William Shakespeare
Works You Should Read: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear
William Shakespeare is an English playwright, poet and actor baptized on April 26, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and died on April 23, 1616 in the same city. Nicknamed ‘the Bard of Avon’, ‘the Immortal Bard’ or simply ‘the Bard’, he is considered one of the greatest poets and playwrights in the English language.
His work, translated into many languages, consists of 39 pieces, 154 sonnets and a few additional poems, some of which are not attributed to him with certainty. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays between 1589 and 1613. The first were mostly comedies and historical plays, then he devoted himself more to tragedies like Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.
At the end of his life, he wrote tragicomedies and collaborated with other playwrights. During his lifetime, many of his plays were published in inexpensive books of varying quality. In 1623, two of his friends published the “First Folio”, a collection which included almost all of his theatrical work in definitive form. In his preface, Ben Jonson correctly predicted the timelessness of Shakespeare, whose plays continue to be staged, adapted, rediscovered and reinterpreted over the centuries in varying cultural and political contexts.
2. Fyodor Dostoevsky
Works You Should Read: Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot
Fyodor Dostoevsky is a Russian writer, born in Moscow on November 11, 1821 and died in Saint Petersburg on January 28, 1881. Considered one of the greatest Russian novelists, he influenced many writers and philosophers. An admired writer after the publication of Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Idiot (1869), the author then published his two most accomplished works: The Demons (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).
Dostoyevsky’s novels are sometimes described as “metaphysical”, as the anguished question of free will and the existence of God is at the heart of his reflection, as is the figure of Christ. His works are not “thesis novels”, but novels where different points of view are opposed in a dialectical way with characters who construct themselves, through their acts and their social interactions. Dostoyevsky thus mainly walks on different themes of human nature and the human condition.
3. Miguel de Cervantes
Works You Should Read: Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes, born September 29, 1547d in Alcalá de Henares and buried April 23, 1616 in Madrid, was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. He is famous for his novel Don Quixote, published in 1605 and recognized as the first modern novel. Cervantes initially led an adventurous life as a soldier and took part in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, where he lost the use of his left hand.
On September 26, 1575, on his return to Spain, he was captured by the Barbarians with his brother, Rodrigo, and, despite four attempts to escape, he remained captive in Algiers. In 1580, he was ransomed along with other Spanish prisoners and returned to his country. In 1605, he published the first part of what remains as his masterpiece: Don Quicote, the second part of which did not appear until 1615.
His grandiose parody of the novels of chivalry and the creation mythical characters from Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and Dulcinea, made Cervantes the greatest figure in Spanish literature and one of the most eminent novelists in the world.
4. Franz Kafka
Works You Should Read: The Trial, The Castle, “The Metamorphosis”
Franz Kafka was a writer born on July 3, 1883 in Prague and died on June 3, 1924 in Kierling. He is considered one of the major writers of the 20th century. Best known for his novels The Trial and The Castle, as well as for the short stories “The Metamorphosis” and “The Penal Colony”, Franz Kafka nevertheless left a larger work, characterized by a nightmarish, sinister atmosphere, where bureaucracy and impersonal society have more and more hold over the individual.
Hendrik Marsman describes this atmosphere as an “extremely strange objectivity”. Kafka’s work is seen as a symbol of the uprooted man of modern times3. Some people think, however, that it is only an attempt, in an apparent fight with the “superior forces”, to return the initiative to the individual, who makes his own choices and is responsible for them.
5. Edgar Allan Poe
Works You Should Read: The Raven, “Annabel Lee”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Black Cat”
Edgar Allan Poe was an American poet, novelist, short story writer, literary critic, playwright, and publisher, as well as one of the leading figures of American romanticism. Known above all for his tales – a genre whose brevity allows him to highlight his theory of effect, according to which all the elements of the text must contribute to the realization of a unique effect – he gave the short story its letters of nobility and is considered the inventor of the detective story.
Many of his stories foreshadow the genres of science fiction and fantasy. In January 1845, Poe published The Raven, which met with immediate success. But, two years later, his wife Virginia died of tuberculosis on January 30, 1847. Poe considered remarrying, but no plans came to fruition. On October 7, 1849, Poe died at the age of 40 in Baltimore. The causes of his death could not be determined and were variously attributed to alcohol, drugs, cholera, rabies, heart disease, stroke, etc.
The influence of Poe has been and remains important, in the United States as in the whole world, not only on literature, but also on other artistic fields such as cinema and music, or even in scientific fields. Although an American author, he was first recognized and defended by French authors, Baudelaire and Mallarmé in mind. Contemporary criticism ranks him among the most remarkable writers of nineteenth-century American literature.
6. Dante Alighieri
Works You Should Read: Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri is a Florentine poet, writer, thinker and politician born between mid-May and mid-June 1265 in Florence and died on September 14, 1321 in Ravenna. “Father of the Italian language”, he is, with Petrarch and Boccaccio, one of the three major writers who imposed Tuscan as a literary language. The Grand Poet (“Il sommo poeta” or simply “Il poeta“) of the Middle Ages, he is the author of the Divine Comedy, often considered the greatest work written in this idiom and one of the masterpieces of world literature.
7. Marcel Proust
Works You Should Read: In Search of Lost Time
Marcel Proust, born July 10, 1871 in Paris where he died November 18, 1922, is a French writer, whose main work is the novel series entitled In Search of Lost Time, published from 1913 to 1927. It was in 1907 that Marcel Proust began writing his great work In Search of Lost Time, the seven volumes of which were published between 1913 (Du Côté de chez Swann) and 1927, that is to say partly after his death ; the second volume, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Bloom, won the Goncourt Prize in 1919.
Marcel Proust died exhausted in 1922 from poorly treated bronchitis: he was buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, accompanied by a large audience who hail a writer of importance and whom the following generations place at the highest level by making him a literary myth.
Works You Should Read: Iliad, Odyssey
Homer is reputed to have been a bard (poet) of the late 8th century BC. He was simply nicknamed “the Poet” by the Ancients. The first two works of Western literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are attributed to him. It is difficult to say today whether Homer was a historical individual or a constructed identity, a conceptual character, and whether he was indeed the author of the two famous epics which are the foundation of Western literature.
Hence the stakes of the Homeric question even if modern scholars believe in an invented character. However, several Ionian cities (Chios, Smyrna, Cyme or even Colophon) disputed the origin of the bard and tradition individualized it by repeating that Homer was blind.
The place of Homer in Greek literature is quite major since he alone represents the epic genre at this period: the Iliad and the Odyssey are attributed to him from the sixth century BC, as well as two comic poems, the Batrachomyomachia and the Margites, and the poems of the Homeric Hymns (although some doubt that Homer is really the author).
He wrote in a language that is already archaic in the eighth century BC and even more at the time of fixing the text, in the sixth century BC; he is associated with the use of the dactylic hexameter.
9. William Faulkner
Works You Should Read: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, Sartoris, Absalom, Absalom!, Sanctuary
William Faulkner, born William Cuthbert Falkner on September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, and died July 6, 1962 (aged 64) in Byhalia, Mississippi, was an American novelist and short story writer. Published from the 1920s, it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, when it was still relatively unknown.
He is best known for his novels and short stories, but he has also published poems, works of children’s and youth literature and worked occasionally as a scriptwriter for the cinema. Faulkner, who set most of his stories in his home state of Mississippi, is one of the most influential Southern writers, along with Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O’Connor, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers.
Beyond this belonging to the Southern gothic, he is considered one of the greatest American writers of all time and a major writer of the 20th century, who exerted a great influence on the following generations thanks to his innovative contribution. His best-known novels are The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1932) and Absalon, Absalon! (1936), often considered one of the greatest masterpieces of universal literature.
10. Charles Baudelaire
Works You Should Read: The Flowers of Evil, Paris Spleen
Charles Baudelaire, born April 9, 1821 in Paris and died in the same city on August 31, 1867, was a French poet. “Dante of a fallen era” in the words of Barbey d’Aurevilly, “turned towards classicism, nourished by romanticism”, at the crossroads between Parnassus and symbolism, cantor of “modernity”, he occupies a considerable place among French poets because of a collection, admittedly brief in view of the work of his contemporary Victor Hugo (Baudelaire opened up to his publisher about his fear that his volume would look too much like “a booklet”), but which will have shaped his life: Les Fleurs du mal.
At the heart of the debates on the function of the literature of his time, Baudelaire detaches poetry from morality, proclaims it entirely intended for Beauty and not for Truth.
As the title of his collection suggests, he tried to weave links between evil and beauty, fleeting happiness and the inaccessible ideal, violence and voluptuousness, but also between the poet and his reader, and even between artists through the ages. In addition to serious or scandalous poems, he expressed melancholy, horror and the desire for elsewhere through exoticism.
11. Jean-Paul Sartre
Works You Should Read: Nausea, Being and Nothingness, No Exit, The Flies
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre, born June 21, 1905 in the 16th arrondissement of Paris and died April 15, 1980 in the 14th arrondissement, is a French writer and philosopher, representative of the existentialist current, whose work and personality have marked the intellectual and political life of France from 1945 to the end of the 1970s.
Intransigent and faithful to his ideas, he always rejected both honors and any form of censorship; he notably refused the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964. A notable exception, however, he accepted the title of doctor honoris causa from the University of Jerusalem in 1976. He contributed to the creation of the newspaper Liberation, going so far as to sell it himself in the streets to give more publicity to its launch.
Jean-Paul Sartre left behind him a considerable body of work, in the form of novels, essays, plays, philosophical writings and biographies. His philosophy marked the post-war period, and he is, with Albert Camus, a symbol of the committed intellectual. As the latter had been in 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964, which he declined.
12. Umberto Eco
Works You Should Read: The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum
Umberto Eco, born January 5, 1932 in Alexandria, Piedmont and died February 19, 2016 in Milan, was an Italian scholar, scholar and writer. Recognized for his numerous academic essays on semiotics, medieval aesthetics, mass communication, linguistics and philosophy, he is best known to the general public for his romantic works. Holder of the chair of semiotics and director of the Graduate School of Human Sciences at the University of Bologna, he had been professor emeritus since 2008.
13. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Works You Should Read: Faust
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a novelist, playwright, poet, scientist, art theorist and statesman from the Free City of Frankfurt, born August 28, 1749 in Frankfurt and died March 22, 1832 in Weimar. Goethe’s literary work includes poetry, drama, epics, autobiography, literary theory as well as scientific writings, Goethe being passionate about optics, geology and botanical. Finally, his correspondence is of great literary importance. His work was marked successively by Sturm und Drang, Romanticism, then Weimar Classicism, which Goethe embodies with Schiller, Herder and Wieland.
14. Anton Chekhov
Works You Should Read: Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, born January 17, 1860 in Taganrog (Russia) and died July 15, 1904 in Badenweiler (Germany), was a Russian writer, mainly a short story writer and playwright. While practicing his profession as a doctor, he published between 1880 and 1903 more than 600 literary works; certain plays often staged at the present time – The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vania – make him one of the most famous authors of Russian literature, in particular for his way of describing life in the Russian province in the end of the 19th century. Friend of Ivan Bunin, Maxim Gorky,Feodor Chaliapin, Aleksey Suvorin; he is the uncle of Mikhail Chekhov, and the brother of the Russian painter Nikolai Chekhov.
15. Eugène Ionesco
Works You Should Read: The Killer, Rhinoceros, Exit the King, The Bald Soprano, The Chairs
Eugène Ionesco, born Eugen Dimitri Ionescu on November 26, 1909 in Slatina (Romania) and died on March 28, 1994 in Paris 14th (France), is a Romanian-French playwright and writer. He spends a large part of his life traveling between France and Romania; A major representative of the theater of the absurd in France, he wrote many works, the best known of which are La Cantatrice Chauve (1950), Les Chaises (1952), Rhinocéros (1959) and Le roi se meurt (1962).
16. Samuel Beckett
Works You Should Read: Waiting for Godot, Molloy
Samuel Beckett, born April 13, 1906 in Foxrock (Dublin) and died December 22, 1989 in Paris 14th, was an Irish writer, poet and playwright of mainly French and English expression, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. He is the author of novels, such as Molloy, Malone Dies and L’Innommable and of prose poetry, but he is best known for his theatrical work. His most famous play is Waiting for Godot, a masterpiece of the theater of the absurd.
His work is austere and minimalist, which is generally interpreted as the expression of a deep pessimism regarding the human condition. This pessimism does not however exclude humor, omnipresent in the author, one being at the service of the other, taken within the broader framework of an immense enterprise of derision.
Over time, he treats these themes in an increasingly pithy style, tending to make his language increasingly concise and dry. In 1969, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature for “his work, which through a renewal of the forms of the novel and the theater, takes its elevation in the destitution of modern man”
17. Honoré de Balzac
Works You Should Read: Eugénie Grandet, Father Goriot, Lost Illusions, The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans
Honoré de Balzac, born Honoré Balzac, on May 20, 1799 in Tours and died on August 18, 1850 (aged 51) in Paris, was a French writer. A novelist, playwright, literary critic, art critic, essayist, journalist and printer, he left one of the most impressive romantic works of French literature, with more than ninety novels and short stories published from 1829 to 1855 , collected under the title La Comédie Humaine.
Added to this are Les Cent Contes drolatiques, as well as youth novels published under pseudonyms and some twenty-five sketched works. He is a master of the French novel, of which he has approached several genres, from the philosophical novel with The Unknown Masterpiece to the fantastic novel with La Peau de chagrin or even the poetic novel with Le Lys dans la vallée.
He especially excelled in the vein of realism, notably with Le Père Goriot and Eugénie Grandet. As he explains in his foreword to La Comédie Humaine, his project was to identify the “social species” of his time, just as Buffon had identified zoological species. Having discovered through his readings of Walter Scott that the novel could aspire to a “philosophical value”, he wanted to explore the different social classes and the individuals who compose them in order to “write the history forgotten by so many historians, that of the mores” and to “compete with civil status”.
18. Charles Dickens
Works You Should Read: A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations
Charles Dickens, born at Landport, near Portsmouth, in Hampshire, a county on the south coast of England, on February 7, 1812 and died at Gad’s Hill Place in Higham, Kent, on June 9, 1870 (aged 58) , is considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. From his earliest writings, he became immensely famous, his popularity steadily growing with each publication.
The outstanding experience of his childhood, which some consider the key to his genius, was, shortly before his father’s imprisonment for debt at the Marshalsea, his employment at twelve years old at Warren where he stuck labels on shoe polish pots for more than a year. Although he went back to school for almost three years, his education remained sketchy and his great culture was essentially due to his personal efforts.
Dickens has been translated into many languages. His work, constantly republished, still knows many adaptations in theater, cinema, music hall, radio and television.
19. James Joyce
Works You Should Read: Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce, by his birth name James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, was an Irish novelist and poet, considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. His major works are a collection of short stories, Dubliners (1914), and novels such as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegans Wake (1939). Although he spent most of his life outside his native country, Joyce’s Irish experience is central to his writing. It is the basis of most of his works.
His fictional world is anchored in Dublin and reflects his family life, events, friends (and foes) of school and college days. Thus, he became both the most cosmopolitan and the most local of the great Irish writers. His work is characterized by a dazzling mastery of language and by the use of innovative literary forms, associated with the creation of characters who, like Leopold Bloom and Molly Bloom (Ulysses), constitute individuals of profound humanity.
20. George Orwell
Works You Should Read: Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell, pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25, 1903 in Motihari (India) during the period of the British Raj and died January 21, 1950 in London, is a British writer, essayist and journalist.
His work bears the mark of his commitments, which themselves largely find their source in the personal experience of the author: against British imperialism, after his youthful commitment as a representative of the forces of colonial order in Burma; for social justice and socialism, after having observed and shared the living conditions of the working classes in London and Paris; against Nazi and Stalinist totalitarianism, after his participation in the Spanish Civil War. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists and the Independent Labor Party.
A witness to his time, Orwell was a columnist, literary critic and novelist in the 1930s and 1940s. Of this varied production, the two works with the most lasting success are two texts published after the Second World War: Animal Farm and especially Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel in which he created the concept of Big Brother, since passed into the current language of the criticism of modern techniques of surveillance and control of individuals. The adjective “Orwellian” is also frequently used in reference to the totalitarian universe imagined by this English writer.
21. Gabriel García Márquez
Works You Should Read: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez, born March 6, 1927 in Aracataca (Colombia) and died April 17, 2014 (aged 87) in Mexico City, is a Colombian writer. A novelist, short story writer, but also journalist and political activist, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. As a writer, García Márquez began his career publishing a number of critically acclaimed literary works, such as short stories and non-fiction.
However, it was the novels One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Chronicle of an Announced Death (1981) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) that brought him recognition from the public, the media and his peers. Following the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude, considered his masterpiece, the author enjoyed worldwide commercial success. His name is frequently associated with “magical realism”, an artistic movement that inserts magical elements and supernatural motifs into situations related to a proven historical, cultural and geographical setting.
Most of his books are based on a quest for lost time and deal with different themes such as loneliness, power, love, desire, decadence, violence and death. The author’s view of civilization and human nature is by turns ironic, disillusioned, meditative and fatalistic. The action of several of his works takes place in the fictional village of Macondo.
22. Luigi Pirandello
Works You Should Read: Henry IV, The Late Mattia Pascal, Six Characters in Search of an Author
Luigi Pirandello, born in Agrigento, June 28, 1867, died in Rome, December 10, 1936, was a renowned Italian playwright, novelist and writer of short stories, winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was convinced that in life nothing is concluded, since no absolute truth can be found (total relativism).
Any attempt by man to crystallize the flow of life in a form for himself will necessarily lead to failure, because we have many forms for others and, in reality, we are none (One, No One and One Hundred Thousand). In fact, he spoke of man as a small lantern that only manages to illuminate what is around him and that, from time to time, is found under some large streetlights (the great ideologies of history, such as Christianity), but, although they are larger, their light always remains relative to time and space: nothing is forever.
23. Italo Calvino
Works You Should Read: If on a winter’s night a traveler, The Baron in the Tree, Invisible Cities
Italo Calvino, born October 15, 1923 in Santiago de Las Vegas (Cuba) and died September 19, 1985 in Siena (Italy), was an Italian writer of the 20th century. Attached to Italian realism, even to one of its theoreticians, he nevertheless remains in the eyes of the general public a humorous fabulist. If his trilogy Our ancestors, which includes The Cloven Viscount (1952), The Baron in the Tree (1957) and The Nonexistent Knight (1959), mixes fable and allegory, he can take daily reality as a framework for his stories, such as with Marcovaldo, a two-part novel published in 1958 and 1963. Calvino was also a member of Oulipo and also collaborated on various screenplays for the cinema.
24. Haruki Murakami
Works You Should Read: Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, 19Q4
Haruki Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. Author of best-selling novels, as well as short stories and essays, Murakami has received a dozen awards and other honours. Translated into fifty languages and published in millions of copies, he is one of the most widely read contemporary Japanese authors in the world.
Murakami is also recognized in Japan as a translator from English into Japanese (novels by some twenty authors of various genres, including all of Raymond Carver, but also by F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Irving, Ursula K. Le Guin, and J. D. Salinger), and as a journalist-essayist (on travels in Europe, jazz, long-distance running, but also two Japanese disasters: the Kobe earthquake and the Tokyo chemical attack of 1995).
Claiming influences ranging from Raymond Chandler to Kurt Vonnegut via Richard Brautigan and Franz Kafka, Murakami is close to postmodernist literature. His stories are appreciated for their form of magical realism which sees the picaresque quest tinged with romanticism or surrealism, and the police investigation flirting with fantasy or science fiction; poetry and humor emerge there, despite the melancholy dimension of their narrators who obliquely evoke existential themes such as loneliness, incommunicability and alienation within the postmodernity of capitalist societies.
25. Arthur Conan Doyle
Works You Should Read: The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Study in Scarlet, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle, born Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle on May 22, 1859 in Edinburgh and died on July 7, 1930 in Crowborough (East Sussex), was a British writer and physician. Conan is one of his first names and Doyle his surname. He owes his fame to his novels and short stories featuring detective Sherlock Holmes and, to a lesser extent, Professor Challenger.
This prolific writer was also the author of plays and poetry. While he dreamed of gaining literary recognition through his historical novels (Sir Nigel), it was ultimately the detective novel that allowed Conan Doyle to go down in history. The cases of Sherlock Holmes, which he began writing for food reasons, will experience a popular triumph that will largely exceed him, to the point of sometimes rejecting him.
However, he wrote four novels – the most famous being The Hound of the Baskervilles – and fifty-six short stories, which are considered a major innovation in the detective genre, popularizing the figure of the detective several decades before the novels of Agatha Christie. His characters and his universe remain ubiquitous in popular culture in the 21st century, through a multitude of tributes and adaptations.
He was elevated to the rank of Knight of the Order of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John by King Edward VII on October 24, 1902: he is therefore most often named Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. At the end of his life, marked by many bereavements, he became involved in causes relating to the supernatural, which are now discredited: thus, he defended the spiritualist movement and actively supported the thesis of the existence of the fairies of Cottingley.
26. Albert Camus
Works You Should Read: The Stranger, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Rebel
Albert Camus, born November 7, 1913 in Mondovi (now Dréan), Algeria, and died accidentally on January 4, 1960 in Villeblevin, was a French writer, philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist and short story writer. He is also a militant journalist engaged in the French Resistance and close to libertarian currents in the moral battles of the post-war period.
His work includes plays, novels, short stories, films, poems and essays in which he develops a humanism based on awareness of the absurdity of the human condition but also on revolt as a response to the absurd, revolt that leads to action and gives meaning to the world and to existence. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.
In the newspaper Combat, he takes a position both on the question of the independence of Algeria and on his relations with the Algerian Communist Party, which he leaves after a short stay of two years. He successively protested against the inequalities that struck Muslims in North Africa, then against the caricature of the exploiting pied-noir, or defending the anti-fascist exiled Spaniards, the victims of Stalinism and conscientious objectors.
On the sidelines of certain philosophical currents, Camus is first of all a witness of his time and continues to fight against ideologies and abstractions that distract from the human. He is thus led to oppose existentialism and Marxism. His criticism of Soviet totalitarianism earned him the anathemas of communists and his break with Jean-Paul Sartre.
27. Arthur Miller
Works You Should Read: Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge
Arthur Asher Miller, born in New York on October 17, 1915, died in Roxbury, Connecticut, on February 10, 2005, was an American playwright and screenwriter and a controversial figure in twentieth-century American theater. Among his most popular works are All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge (1955, revised 1956).
He wrote several screenplays and was best known for his work on The Misfits (1961). The drama Death of a Salesman was included in the list of the best American plays of the 20th century. Miller was often in the public eye, particularly in the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. During this time, he received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities from the United States and married Marilyn Monroe.
In 1980, he received the St. Louis Literary Award from the St. Louis University Library Associates. He received the Prince of Asturias Award, the Praemium Imperiale Award in 2002, and the Jerusalem Award in 2003, as well as the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award, in 1999.
28. Lewis Carroll
Works You Should Read: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass
Lewis Carroll, pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was a British novelist, essayist, amateur photographer and professor of mathematics, born January 27, 1832 in Daresbury (Cheshire) and died January 14, 1898 in Guildford (Surrey). He is best known for his novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass (1871).
Coming from a rather conservative Anglican family (linked to the High Church), he was educated at Christ Church in Oxford, before teaching there. It was there that he met Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean Henry Liddell, with whom he formed a relationship that led to his novel, although he always denied it.
29. Vladimir Nabokov
Works You Should Read: Pale Fire, Lolita, The Defense
Novelist, short story writer, poet, but also translator and literary critic, Vladimir Nabokov is considered one of the most important authors of 20th century literature. Acclaimed during his lifetime by both critics and the public, his books have been translated throughout the world and have sold tens of millions of copies.
Much of his fame is due to his novel Lolita, which caused censorship and scandal upon its release in 1955, regularly cited as one of the masterpieces of modern literature. Coming from a cultured and liberal family of the Petersburg aristocracy, forced to flee the Bolshevik Revolution, Nabokov first stayed in Europe between the wars, where he published his first novels in Russian, then settled permanently in the United States from 1940.
To support his family, he taught European literature in several universities, before achieving international success with Lolita. At the height of his glory, the writer ended his life in a Swiss palace, on the shores of Lake Geneva, without ceasing his important literary production. Perfectly trilingual (Russian, English and French), Nabokov first publishes short stories and novels in his mother tongue.
Mary (1926), The Defense (1930), The Eye (1930) or The Gift (1938) evoke, through imaginary stories, his forced uprooting, the melancholy of exile or the daily life of the Russian emigrant community. in Germany. The second part of his writing career, in English, accentuates his obsessions with displacement, landscapes and the memories of an idealized childhood, forever lost. In addition to Lolita, Nabokov published other important works, including Pale Fire (1962) and Ada, or Ardor (1969), a literary monument and apogee of the writer’s style.
30. Émile Zola
Works You Should Read: Germinal, Nana, Thérèse Raquin
Émile Zola is a French writer and journalist, born April 2, 1840 in Paris and died September 29, 1902 in the same city. Considered the leader of naturalism, he is one of the most popular French novelists, the most published, translated and commented on throughout the world. He left a lasting mark on the French literary world.
On the literary level, he is mainly known for Les Rougon-Macquart, a romantic fresco in twenty volumes depicting French society under the Second Empire which depicts the trajectory of the Rougon-Macquart family, through its different generations and whose each of the representatives, from a particular era and generation, is the subject of a novel.
Zola paints the diversity of Second Empire society, highlighting its harshness towards workers (Germinal, 1885), its turpitudes (Nana, 1880), but also its successes (the advent of department stores in Au Bonheur des Dames, 1883). In a search for truth that takes scientific methods as a model, Émile Zola accumulates direct observations and documentation on each subject.
Through his acute sense of detail “that rings true” and effective metaphor, through the rhythm of his sentences and his narrative constructions, he creates a powerful fictional world, inhabited by anguished questions about the human body and the social body. The last years of his life were marked by his involvement in the Dreyfus affair with the publication in January 1898, in the daily newspaper L’Aurore, of the article entitled “J’accuse…!”, which earned him a trial for libel and an exile to London the same year.