Ten Great Writers (all time, and all of that)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
But I could also see other names in here. Read and then tell me about your list.

Submitted: May 24, 2019

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Submitted: May 24, 2019

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What are the qualities of great writers? Firstly, they so understand the rules of their languages that they use proper grammar, but also know when to apply poor diction for the affect of character work. And secondly, to character work, they should endure in our minds. Finally, the people I mention here do all of this with unique voices, mastering the mediums of their times and maturing them.

  1. William Shakespeare (playwright)-the Bard. I would have to be a Shakespeare to describe the genius of his poetry, comedies, and tragedies; why their wit and characters endure beyond Ben Johnson and Christopher Marlowe’s own may have to do with his comfort in covering the Julius Caesar’s and Titania’s alike. Then again, this still undersells him. 
  2. Neil Gaiman (comics writer, novelist, screenwriter and more)-The Sandman (World Fantasy Award), American Gods, Coraline, and Doctor Who to name a few. They all remind us the reality of myth and the myths we make out of reality.
  3. Joan Didion (essayist)-Slouching Towards Bethlehem, A Book of Common Prayers, The White Album, and other truths.
  4. Joss Whedon (screenwriter)-Making the most of TV, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse, he also mastered the art of the spin-off, Angel and Serenity. Add The Cabin in the Woods and Marvel’s Avengers to the modern mix of pop culture, and you realize he turns genres into art.
  5. Alan Moore (comics writer)-Around the time of Neil Gaiman, Moore wrote the first great comics that came to definitive ends, allowing the industry to compile them in what we now call graphic novels. Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and others all have big ideas and complex characters.
  6. The Brothers Grimm (cultural researchers and folklorists)-Whether it be the wonderful and bastardized Disney versions, or indie takes, we know their collected fairy tales and phobias. Their characters are as iconic as the ones Shakespeare recorded. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumplestiltskin, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood.
  7. Mary Shelley (novelist)-One of the greatest crafters of gothic romance at the height of that genre, Mathilda and Lodore tell of love vs. obsession, of incest and suicide in dark romance. With Frankenstein, she invented sci-fi and kept it going with The Last Man.
  8. H.P. Lovecraft (short stories, novelist)-The Father of Modern Horror was “Providence,” and the grey days of early 20th Century New England lead him to craft the themes we see in horror books and movies. We moved out of the tales of werewolves and ghosts, into the realms of aliens: The Call of Cthulu, Nyarlathotep, At the Mountains of Madness. Things indescribable in The Colour out of Space,  The Unnamable, and The Nameless City. Unlike Stephen King, God the turtle will not come to save us.
  9. Friedrich Nietzsche (philosopher, novelist)-Nietzsche, the original existentialist, made art out of philosophy. We enjoy the journey of Zarathustra, but we also see the theme of moral relativism in Beyond Good and Evil. He set the stage for all other existentialists, being both philosophers and poets. Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus owe a great deal to him as do magicians like Aleister Crowley. The Will to Power can be mastered and we can be supermen and women.
  10. Oscar Wilde (playwright and novelist)-The queer writer, who believed in “art for art’s sake” until he was put on trial, focused most of his life on enjoying men and creating tales with themes bigger than he would admit. The Portrait of Dorian Gray, his best known book, asks us to ponder frivolity in the face of mortality; Ernest Becker would have a few things to ask Mr. Gray. A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, and The Importance of Being Earnest employ the best examples of mistaken identities and puns still used in shows like Arrested Development.


© Copyright 2019 Alex Sullivan. All rights reserved.

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