Top 10 English Writers

35 thoughts on “Top 10 English Writers

  1. 1. Dickens
    2. Milton
    3. Shakespeare
    4. Bronte sisters (if one, Emily)
    5. Austen
    6. Chaucer
    7. George Eliot
    8. Hardy
    9. Orwell
    10. Henry Fielding

  2. 1 – Tolkien
    2 – Tolkien
    3 – Tolkien
    4 – Tolkien
    5 – Tolkien
    6 – Tolkien
    7 – Tolkien
    8 – Tolkien
    9 – Tolkien
    10 – Tolkien

  3. A child might feel quite pleased with the idea of j.k.rowling or Terry Pratchet been a great British novelist, but no adult could possibly admit that. Rowling and pratchett i would put on a par with with Susanna Clark – of Jonathen Strange& Mr Norrel fame, fair yarn's but never to be mentioned in the same breath or league as legends such as Rudyard Kipling, Hardy, Dickens, Blake, John Bunyon [[The pilgrims progress]] Henry Fielding [Tom Jones], Wilkie Collins, Tolkein, Tobias Smollett, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Lewis Carrol, H.G.Wells, Virginia Woolf, Daniel Defoe [Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders], Samuel Richardson or George Gissing. My favourite, Thomas Hardy probably, with Dickens, Kipling and Shakespeare behind.

  4. British authors and poets I grew up with: Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan), William Wordsworth, Emily Barrett Browning (How Do I Love Thee?), Jane Austen, George Eliot, Emily Bronte, Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, J.R.R Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Lewis Carroll, T.S Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Jonathan Swift (Anglo-Irish, born in Dublin to British parents during English dominion – wrote Gulliver's Travels), Roald Dahl, George Orwell, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Golding (Lord of the Flies), Ian Fleming, E.M Forster, P.G Wodehouse, H G wells, Ted Hughes, Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials), P.D James (The Children of Men), Iain Banks, Sue Townsend (Adrian Mole), John le Carre, Agatha Christie, Kingsley Amis, Terry Pratchett, Zadie Smith…etc, and yes, J.K Rowling.

    Why J.K Rowling? Because her books captured people from every culture, religion, country, gender, sexuality, age-group and ethnicity. Her books crossed boundaries, and more importantly, got a whole new generation of kids back into the habit of reading, and not just reading her books. To dismiss that just because she's modern, or just because there were some unoriginal themes in her books (as most books have – Tolkien as influenced by Beowulf) is the height of snobbery and prejudice.
    Every author was new and doubted at some point.

    Not since Charles Dickens has an author anywhere in the world been as influential. Even Ian Fleming's Bond books and George Orwell's 1984 hadn't had as much of an impact on popular culture and language as Rowling's books. Ironically when she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and before anyone knew it was her, the reviews of the book were ALL 5-star, from mostly male reviewers too (who otherwise are the sharpest critics of her style and of female authors in general).

  5. @Jenny_Hirschowitz JRR Tolkien was NOT South African. He was born there to British parents but the family moved back to England when he was just 4. So effectively he was raised in the UK too. No biography will tell you he is anything other than British.

  6. No Tolkien (who I must state was English as a few here seem to believe otherwise)? :O No, but fantastic list, always love Thomas Hardy…

  7. "Adagio" from Oboe Concerto by Albinoni
    (Briefly, at the end of this video is an excerpt from "Badinerie" from Orchestral Suite no. 2 by J.S. Bach)

  8. I didn't know the Brontë sisters were conjoined triplets. Seriously though, I think H. G. Wells should be up there and maybe even Jane Austin or Virginia Woolf.

  9. Thank you. My perfect ten English writers too (and in that order), and you put the piece together so beautifully. I'd add Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier" ….. poignant, unstinting, brutally honest reportage of the grim industrial north of the 1930s. The late Christopher Hitchens leads a wonderful discussion called "Why Orwell Matters" ….it's somewhere on youtube. I live a stone's throw from The Morgan Library where I sometimes spend hours just reading the spines…. a delicious pleasure.

  10. I like your list. We are kindred souls. I knew that you were going to put Shakespeare and Dickens at the top of the list,but I wasn't sure which order.

  11. "Of course I disagree, and like many others, will find the Twentieth Century writers were just as good, it's that these were the first read by Royalty; so we were all programed with these at schools, public or not."

  12. Great Writers but what about Thoreau, Emerson, Melville, Hawthorne, Faulkner, Poe? I believe they're are great writers, with the possibility of being in the top 10!

  13. @Evgeny161179
    Doyle is great, but he was Scottish, not English. H.G Wells is also good, but I'm not exactly a massive fan of Sci-fi – and I have not read his other (realist) works.

  14. Where are Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells??? The most famous English character of all time is Sherlock Holmes!

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