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The 100 Greatest Writers of All Time

The 100 Greatest Writers of All Time

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Published by: writerhari on Mar 13, 2012
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03/20/2013

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The 100 Greatest Writers of All Time
 
by WILL HUBBARD and ALEX CARNEVALE
 
Other lists of this kind have been attempted, none very successfully. We would like to stress that there is a crucial difference between "an important writer" and "a great writer"; the latter is at this time our sole interest. We will account for some of the names that did not make this list in a later dispatch. There is nothing bad to say about anyone we list here, except in some cases that they were anti-Semitic or racist, hated women or hated men. Literary crimes are usually relative, the caveats of which we shall enumerate: 
 
100. Joseph Conrad100. Joseph Conrad100. Joseph Conrad100. Joseph Conrad
 
Prose stylist nonpareil, he addressed the dichotomy of race, the loneliness of existence.
Heart of Darkness 
became a paradigmatic work.It is hard to read today, but no less important. Conrad was born to a family of Polish nobles. He did quite a bit of gunrunning — see
The Arrow of Gold.
You've got to be batshit crazy to have an ambition, as a child, to visit Central Africa. Recommended reading:
The Secret Agent.
 
 
 
99. Honoré de Balzac99. Honoré de Balzac99. Honoré de Balzac99. Honoré de Balzac
 
The
gestamtkunstwerk 
('total work of art') was all the rage in Europe early in the last century, but Balzac was on the case almost ahundred years before. The man started writing just before midnight and worked until the sun went down the next day, eventuallyproducing 100 novels and plays he called
La Comedie Humaine 
. We've never really liked realism, but
Le Pere Goriot 
is one of the mode'sbest. His mother came from a family of haberdashers. There had to be a realism before there could be anything else, probably.Recommended reading: "The Girl With The Golden Eye", "The Marriage Contract" from
La Comedie Humaine 
.
 
 
 
98.98.98.98. Czeslaw MiloszCzeslaw MiloszCzeslaw MiloszCzeslaw Milosz
 
The greatest artist Poland would ever spawn, Milosz was still composing vital poetry until his death in 2004. He was constantlyreinventing himself as a writer, but remained pretty much the same person after he took home the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980.Born a Lithuanian, he became a U.S. citizen eventually, and dissected the intellectual attraction to communism in his masterpiece
The Captive Mind 
.
 
97. George Bernard Shaw97. George Bernard Shaw97. George Bernard Shaw97. George Bernard Shaw
 
When we speak of 'wit' in the theater we owe a debt to G. B. Shaw. In fact, his scripts are so funny there's hardly any reason to see themperformed.
Pygmalion 
's a great play, but his writing after WWI, most notably
Heartbreak House 
, is darker and better.

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