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Five of the World’s Most Prolific Authors

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Higher quantity doesn’t always translate to higher quality…but it’s still pretty impressive. The task of composing a coherent plot or poem, let alone adding higher aesthetics to the work, requires a great deal of dedication, especially in our age of digital distraction. There are a few rare authors who’ve been able to both produce boatloads of texts that are both critically and commercially successful. In the list below, we’ll take a look at five insanely prolific authors that left an indelible mark on the history of literature. Five Prolific Authors You Need to Check Out Isaac Asimov Russian-born author Isaac Asimov is […]

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The Work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “Composed Purely and Wholly of the Stuff of the Soul”

AuthorsClassic Literature

Even in English translation, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s works pulse with the terror and ecstasy of the human soul. But don’t take our word for it. In her essay on Russian literature, British author Virginia Woolf wrote this: “The novels of Dostoevsky are seething whirlpools, gyrating sandstorms, waterspouts which hiss and boil and suck us in.” She went on to say that the only author more powerful than Fyodor Dostoyevsky was Shakespeare. While some authors (most notably Vladimir Nabokov) can’t stand Dostoyevsky’s frenzied style of composition, no one can deny his immense influence on 20th and 21st century art and […]

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From Confucius to the Communists: Five of the Best Chinese Writers

AuthorsClassic LiteratureContemporary Literature

No other civilization in the world has endured as long as the Chinese. Despite wars, famines, revolutions, and imperialism, the Chinese have been able to retain their language and cultural heritage for some 5,000 years. With China’s rapid economic development in the 21st century, it’s clear that this nation will be a major player in global politics for the years to come. And one of the best ways for outsiders to dip into the mind of the Middle Kingdom is to take a look at the nation’s best writers. Of course, it’d take a few pretty thick books just to […]

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The King of the Jazz Age: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Life and Times

AuthorsContemporary Literature
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Just like Mark Twain before him, F. Scott Fitzgerald both literally and symbolically defined an age in American history. While Twain coined “The Gilded Age” to describe late 19th-century America, Fitzgerald popularized “The Jazz Age” for the 1920s. Although Fitzgerald’s name is inextricably linked to that era of bootleggers, speakeasies, and flappers, his fiction is so much more than a historical relic. The lyricism of Fitzgerald’s prose and the profound themes his works explore have earned him a spot alongside greats like Henry James, Faulkner, and Hemingway. To get a better understanding of the man behind the greatest “Jazz Age” […]

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Five of the Most Influential German Authors [Infographic]

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Five of the Most Influential German Authors

Germany has produced some of the finest artistic and intellectual minds in the Western world. Here are just a few of the famous German geniuses to revolutionize the fields of music, philosophy, and science: Beethoven Bach Einstein Kant Perhaps there’s no better way for non-Germans to understand the German psyche than to read some of the finest books by the greatest German authors. Who are these authors, you may ask? Although there are hundreds of awe-inspiring artists to read from the canon of German literature, today we’ll take a look at five of the greatest German authors. Get a sneak […]

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Five of the Best French Authors

AuthorsClassic LiteratureContemporary LiteratureNovel Knowledge
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From the Medieval poem La Chanson de Roland to the modern day author Michel Houellebecq, French authors have produced some of the most daring and influential works of European literature. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Indeed, France still holds the world record for the most Nobel Prizes for Literature. Not only does France produce great artistic minds, it attracts them too. As you probably know already, many of America’s finest authors “found their voice” in a Parisian café (e.g. Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Ezra Pound). In this list, we’ll take a look at five of France’s greatest writers. All […]

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Henry David Thoreau: America’s Favorite Rebel

AuthorsClassic LiteratureGenres
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The 19th century was a special time in American literature. Sometimes referred to as the American Renaissance, this era produced some of the finest American authors ever, including: Walt Whitman Herman Melville Emily Dickinson Edgar Allan Poe Nathanial Hawthorne One name that inescapably makes its way onto the lists of American canonical writers from this period is Henry David Thoreau. Famous for both his interesting lifestyle and his contemplative essays, Thoreau was a major critic of progress and technology and a strong supporter of individuality, political activism, and the natural world. In this article, we’ll explore why this Concord bachelor […]

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Virginia Woolf: England’s Modernist Master

AuthorsClassic LiteratureNovel Knowledge
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Along with James Joyce and William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf is considered one of the undisputed masters of “stream of consciousness” writing. Born in England in 1882, Woolf’s legacy far outlasted her short life, and her immense oeuvre continues to inspire artists, especially female writers, around the world. Photograph of Virginia Woolf, via Wikimedia Commons All of the greatest Virginia Woolf novels challenge how we think about the nature of human perception with their experimental prose and non-linear plots. Her work has also exerted and immense influence on feminist critics and historians who’ve worked hard to uncover an unbiased history of women in the Western […]

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Il Sommo Poeta: Dante Alighieri’s Life and Times

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Life and Times of Dante Alighieri

Along with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is one of the indispensable epics in the Western Canon. Without a doubt, the Divine Comedy is the most important literary work produced during the so-called “Dark Ages.” But don’t think Dante’s work is just a historical curiosity that has no bearing on how we live nowadays. Dante’s words and images still have the power to profoundly move 21st century readers. Indeed, many Italians still call Dante “il Sommo Poeta” (which means “The Supreme Poet”) or simply “The Poet.” With an epithet like that, you […]

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Jane Austen: Great Britain’s Greatest Novelist

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The British novelist Jane Austen only published four novels during her brief lifetime. Despite the rather small oeuvre of Jane Austen novels (six major novels, including two posthumously published works), nobody doubts Austen’s status as one of the greatest writers in the English language. Portrait of Jane Austen, via Wikimedia Commons Indeed, Austen is one of those rare authors beloved by both critics and the general public. It might seem strange that people in our technophilic 21st century would be at all interested in Austen’s “novels of manners” set in Regency England. However, every time a new film based on […]

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