Throughout history, there have been numerous literary greats. Indeed, there are so many that it would appear impossible to single out only six for special consideration. But the following is a list of six wordsmiths who have undoubtedly left their imprint on the globe.
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835, this author is better known by his pen name, Mark Twain. Once dubbed “The finest humorist the United States has ever produced” by fellow author William Faulkner, his writings include timeless masterpieces such as Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This brilliant novelist entertained and shed light on the situation of the world in late-nineteenth-century America. Read only one of his two novels, and you’ll quickly understand why his work has remained relevant to the modern era.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned numerous other works, it’s perhaps simplest to explain his inclusion on our list by mentioning just one — Sherlock Holmes. Doyle created a figure whose name is still recognizable by old and young alike 90 years after his death in a series of works that transformed the crime-writing genre. Over 50 books have been written about Holmes and his devoted companion Dr. Watson, and they have continued to delight readers to this day.
H.G. Wells was an English novelist, humorist, and social prophet best remembered for his prodigious work in science fiction. He was so prolific that he was labeled the “founder of the genre,” and was associated with greats like Jules Verne. Between 1866 and 1946, he predicted the creation of space flight, nuclear weapons, and the concept of the World Wide Web. He is known for works such as War of the Worlds and The Time Machine.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a true great of Russian literature, established an extraordinary work that addressed the human condition, psychology, and sensitive themes such as religion. Consider Crime and Punishment, which is concerned with the weighty subject of morality. As a seminal author who influenced subsequent greats such as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, Dostoyevsky may have dealt with severe issues and written books that require multiple sittings to complete. Still, there is no doubt that he was one of the greats.
Charles Darwin is an author who may have transformed the world more than any other, having published a series of novels that revolutionized the way we view ourselves and our place in it. While The Genesis of Species may be problematic to those with competing views on the origin of man, its global impact should not be overlooked. This renowned English naturalist and author’s work remains a cornerstone of contemporary biology, ensuring his inclusion on our list.
What can be said about William Shakespeare that hasn’t previously been told about him? He is primarily recognized as the most significant English language writer the world has ever seen. Shakespeare was behind words like “dauntless,” “brilliant,” and “dwindle” into the English language through Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet, to mention a few. This extraordinary writer did more than impact the world — he was a co-creator of it!