9jatoday conducted a survey with the objective of discovering who the greatest writers of all time are, according to readers, the greatest authors in the history of literature of all times has been collected and listed in this article.
The consultation was made to employees, subscribers – from the newsletter -, and followers of the magazine’s page on Facebook and Twitter. The writers were divided into four categories, according to the number of nominations: +250, +200, +150 and +100.
Authors from different countries, mainly the United States, England and Russia, who have three writers each, were remembered. Spain, Ireland, Colombia, France, Argentina and Brazil have one author each. Among the writers whose works have been selected, only one is still alive: Cormac McCarthy, who lives in the United States with his family. Regarding age, the oldest would be Miguel de Cervantes, who was born in 1547, in Spain, and died in 1616. The youngest is McCarthy, born in 1933.
Top 15 Greatest Writers Of All Time
Writers who received more than 250 nominations
1 – Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel Cervantes was a Spanish novelist, playwright and poet. His masterpiece, “Don Quixote“, is considered the first modern novel and is among the most translated and best-selling books in the world. Little is known about Cervantes’ life, but he was probably born in 1547, in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Son of a deaf surgeon, he went through a lot of financial difficulties, but he was always an avid reader and started writing in 1569. In debt, Cervantes was arrested several times and it was probably in the Real Prison of Seville that he started writing “Dom Quixote de La Mancha ”. In 1605 he published the first part of the novel, ending the continuation of the story only in 1615. The writer died in 1616, the cause of his death still unknown.
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2 – William Shakespeare
Famous for works such as “Hamlet”, “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet”, the English writer William Shakespeare is considered the greatest playwright of all time. He was born in 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Between 1585 and 1592 William began a successful career in London as an actor, writer and one of the owners of the King’s Men theater company. Most of his work was produced between 1590 and 1613. He died in his hometown in 1616, at the age of 52. Often called England’s national poet, he was a respected artist in his own time, but his reputation only peaked in the 19th century. His pieces remain popular today and are studied, staged and reinterpreted around the world.
Writers who received more than 200 nominations
3 – Lev Tolstoy
Lev Tolstoy was a 19th-century Russian writer and playwright. The son of aristocrats, he was born in 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, his family’s rural property. In 1844, he entered the law course at Kazan University, but abandoned his studies and joined the army. It was from this experience that he began to write, publishing his first novels, the trilogy “Infância” (1852), “Adolescência” (1854) and “Juventude” (1856). From the beginning of his career, he was an acclaimed writer. “Guerra e Paz” (1869) and “Anna Kariênina” (1877) are considered his masterpieces, books that figure among the great classics of universal literature. In 1910, Tolstoy left home alone during the winter and died three days later with pneumonia.
4 – James Joyce
James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet who lived most of his expatriate adult life. He was born in 1882, in Terenure, near Dublin, and started writing at the age of 9. As a teenager, he published essays in magazines, and in 1907 he released his first book, “Música de Câmara”, an anthology of poems. Along with Nora Barnacle, his wife, James Joyce had two children and lived in different cities in Europe. He lived in Paris in 1922, when he released “Ulysses”, the work that gave him worldwide recognition. In the same year, he started working on his latest novel, “Finnegans Wake”, one of the great milestones of experimental literature, released only in 1939. James Joyce died in 1941, in Zurich, Switzerland.
5 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fiódor Dostoiévski deeply influenced 19th-century fiction. His works often feature characters who have a strong understanding of human psychology and make sharp observations about Russian society and politics at that time. But Dostoevsky’s social analysis has spanned the generations and remains current. Some of his books are even considered to be precursors of modern thought and the existentialist philosophical school. “The Karamazov Brothers” (1879), “Crime and Punishment” (1866) and “The Idiot” (1869) are some of the best known. He was born in 1821, in St. Petersburg, and died in 1881, in the same city, a victim of a pulmonary hemorrhage.
6 – Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf, an English writer, was born in 1882 into a London high society family. After her parents’ death, she and her brothers moved into a house in the Bloomsbury neighborhood, where they held meetings with personalities, such as TS Elliot and Clive Bell. Virginia started writing in 1905, initially for newspapers. Ten years later, he released his first book “A Viagem”. In the period between the 1st and 2nd World War, she became a well-known figure in English society. “Mrs. Dalloway ”(1925),“ Rumo ao Farol ”(1927),“ Os Anos ”(1937) and“ A Marca na Parede ”(1944) are some of his most famous works. In 1941, Virginia Woolf committed suicide by throwing herself into the River Ouse, near the residence where she lived with her husband, literary critic Leonardo Woolf, in Sussex.
Writers who received more than 150 nominations
7 – William Faulkner
Winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature, William Faulkner was born in 1987 in New Albany, United States. He grew up in a period of decay in the south of the country, after the Civil War, a theme that reflected deeply in his works, mostly composed of characters living in desperate situations in the fictional Yoknapatawpha county. His first book was a collection of poems, “The Marble Faun”, published in 1924. Faulkner also wrote articles for newspapers and magazines until he published his first novel, “Soldier’s Reward”, in 1926. “O Som ea Fúria” (1929), “As I Agonize” (1930) and “Absalão!” (1936) are his most acclaimed works. Faulkner died in 1962, with cardiac complications.
8 – Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges was born in 1899, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Due to family influence, he was an avid reader since childhood and at 10 years old he had already published a translation of a short story by Oscar Wilde in Spanish in a local newspaper. His works stand out for addressing, in fantastic narratives, themes such as philosophy, metaphysics, theology and mythology. His first book of poems, “Fervor de Buenos Aires”, was released in 1923. The short stories “A Biblioteca de Babel” (1944), “O Aleph” (1949) and the anthology “Ficções” (1944) are some of his most famous works. Borges was also a professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires and director of the National Library of the Argentine Republic. He died in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1986.
9 – Jane Austen
Jane Austen was born in 1775, in Steventon, England. Daughter of wealthy parents and landowners, she received a formal education and grew up among books, a reality inaccessible to most women of her time. In 1811, an editor agreed to publish “Reason and Sensitivity” anonymously. Excited by the favorable criticism of her first publication, Austen continued to write. “Pride and Prejudice” (1813) and “Emma” (1815) are other famous works by the author. Even though her books sold well, Jane Austen only received the deserved recognition in the last years of her life. She died in 1817, at the age of 41, a victim of Addison’s disease, a type of adrenal insufficiency.
10 – Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust was born in Paris, France, in 1871. As a young man, he joined the Sorbonne Faculty of Law but abandoned his career to dedicate himself to literature. In 1892, he founded the magazine “Le Banquet” with some friends, in which he published his first writings. With a wealthy family, he frequented the halls of Parisian high society, whose customs served as inspiration for his literary work, which began in “Os Prazeres e Dias” (1896). Proust’s most acclaimed book, “In Search of Lost Time”, was published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. Proust was a homosexual and was one of the first European novelists to address the topic openly and in detail. He died in 1922, victim of the complications of bronchitis.
11 – Gabriel García Márquez
Born in 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia, Gabriel García Márquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He started his career as a journalist in 1940 and worked in both South America and Europe. At the same time that he dedicated himself to journalism, publishing book-reports such as “Relato de um Casufrago” (1970) and “Notícias de um Sequestro” (1996); the author released dozens of works of fiction. The most acclaimed are “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (1967), which gave it international renown and ended up becoming one of the most translated books in the world, and “Love in the Times of Cholera” (1985), inspired by the real history lived by writer’s parents. Márquez died in 2014, a victim of pneumonia.
Writers who received more than 100 nominations
12 – Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov was a Russian doctor and writer, considered one of the greatest storytellers of all time. He was born in 1860, in Taganrog, and started writing during his youth, to help his family and pay the university fees. He published short stories in famous newspapers and magazines. After reading “The Hunter” (1885), writer Dmitri Grigorovich wrote to the storyteller: “You have a talent that puts you on the front line among new generation writers”. The letter inspired the artistic ambition of Chekhov, who, at the age of 27, won the coveted Pushkin Prize, given to the best Russian authors. Among his most famous tales are “A Dama do Cachorrinho” (1899), “The Man in a Case” (1898) and “Kashtanka” (1887). Chekhov died in 1904, a victim of tuberculosis.
13 – Guimarães Rosa
João Guimarães Rosa is considered the greatest Brazilian writer of the 20th century. He was born in 1908, in Cordisburgo, Minas Gerais. Studious and fluent in several languages, he was a doctor and diplomat, which is why he lived in several countries in Europe and Latin America. His tales and novels take place mostly in the hinterland and narrate the life of the rustic and illiterate man. Rosa innovated by bringing to the literature the popular and regional language that, added to her erudition, created new words. “Sagarana” (1946), “Campo Geral” (1964) and “Grande Sertão: Veredas” (1956) are his main books, the latter being considered his great masterpiece. He died early in 1967, a victim of a heart attack.
14 – Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy is an American writer, born in 1933, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007. During his youth, he served in the United States Air Force and studied Arts at the University of Tennessee. His debut novel, “O Guarda do Pomar”, was published in 1965. “Meridiano de Sangue” (1985), “Todos os Belos Cavalos” (1992) and “A Estrada” (2007) are considered his masterpieces. McCarthy’s style is known mainly for its explicit violence and sparse punctuation. “There is no life without bloodshed,” said the author in an interview. Cormac McCarthy lives in Santa Fe, in the southern United States, with his wife and son.
15 – Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899, in Oak Park, United States. Determined to cover the First World War, he enlisted in the Italian army and was seriously injured, remaining in hospital for a long time. When he recovered, he went to work in Paris as a correspondent for the “Toronto Star” newspaper. At that time, he approached other beginning writers, such as Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound, forming a group known as “lost generation”. That was when he wrote “O Sol Also Raises” (1926), one of his main novels. His masterpiece, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940), was written while covering the Spanish Civil War. “The Old Man and the Sea” (1952) is another of Hemingway’s great books. Winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature, he committed suicide in 1961.