The Greatest American Writers of All Time Writers

The Greatest American Writers of All Time

8.9k votes 598 voters 15k views 230 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Vote up and rerank U.S.-born writers in any genre, alive or dead

Who are the greatest American authors of all time? In just two short centuries, the great U.S. of A. has produced an incredible number of writers that have influenced literature and art the world over. This list includes great American novelists, poets, playwrights, and writers in the all genres of fiction and nonfiction alike. What American writers did you read in school and actually like? While most kids in this country are assigned works by top novelists like Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway, many don't truly love to read until their teen years, when they first find less traditional writers like J.D. Salinger or Kurt Vonnegut. Others are swept away by authors as varied as Stephen King, Harper Lee, or good ol' Dr. Seuss.

Who are the greatest American authors? This list include writers in all mediums, both living and deceased. Maybe your all-time favorites include poets like Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost. If your tastes are more for the pictures, you may consider Mel Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, or even Wes Anderson among the top American screenwriters. Other authors on this list have created some of the most beloved and widely read series in history, including Louisa May Alcott and George R. R. Martin.

The greatest American writers are some of the tops in their fields, producing some of the best novels, essays, films, short stories, stage plays, and poems of all time. While many have stood the test of time and are firmly represented in the literary canon, it remains to be seen whether more contemporary American authors of the 21st Century will be remembered in decades to come. Vote up your the absolute best, and please add many that are missing.
List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo:  Pam Roth
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  1. 1
    + 196
    - 51


    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A ...

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  2. 2
    + 187
    - 62

    most listed
    The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher

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  3. 3
    + 158
    - 48


    Of Mice and Men

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  4. 4
    + 133
    - 41


    The Sound and the Fury, A Rose for Emily, As I Lay Dying

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  5. 5
    + 166
    - 66


    For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises

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  6. 6
    + 123
    - 30


    Moby Dick

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  7. 7
    + 137
    - 46


    The Great Gatsby, Tender Is the Night

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  8. 8
    + 104
    - 29


    The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Martin Eden

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  9. 9
    + 98
    - 30


    Young Goodman Brown, The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables

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  10. 10
    + 104
    - 26


    Birches, The Road Not Taken

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  11. 11
    + 109
    - 45


    The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451

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  12. 12
    + 110
    - 45


    Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five

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  13. 13
    + 99
    - 36


    Wild Nights: Selected Poems

    ;
  14. 14
    + 98
    - 36


    A Streetcar Named Desire

    ;
  15. 15
    + 99
    - 33


    Leaves of Grass

    ;
  16. 16
    + 70
    - 41


    All the Pretty Horses, The Road, No Country for Old Men

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  17. 17
    + 81
    - 25


    Civil Disobedience, Walden

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  18. 18
    + 78
    - 44


    At the Mountain of Madness, The Dunwich Horror

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  19. 19
    + 78
    - 11

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Old Possum's Book of ...

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  20. 20
    + 80
    - 37


    The Cat in the Hat, Oh the Places You'll Go!, Green Eggs and Ham

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  21. 21
    + 67
    - 28


    The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady

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  22. 22
    + 63
    - 25


    Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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  23. 23
    + 116
    - 74


    Carrie, The Shining, The Dark Tower series

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  24. 24
    + 72
    - 25


    Self-Reliance

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  25. 25
    + 93
    - 56


    To Kill a Mockingbird

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  26. 26
    + 61
    - 39


    In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's

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  27. 27
    + 98
    - 54


    The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey

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  28. 28
    + 80
    - 39


    The Crucible

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  29. 29
    + 48
    - 20

    added by mattpassant
    Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth

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  30. 30
    + 62
    - 31


    A Good Man is Hard to Find, Everything that Rises Must Converge

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  31. 31
    + 57
    - 35


    Minority Report, Total Recall, Blade Runner

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  32. 32
    + 38
    - 11


    Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Elements of Style

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  33. 33
    + 48
    - 44

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Post Office, Women, Ham on Rye

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  34. 34
    + 46
    - 9

    added by looksharp
    Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady, My Ántonia

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  35. 35
    + 47
    - 10

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    The Last of the Mohicans, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pilot: A Tale of ...

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  36. 36
    + 39
    - 16


    The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness, ...

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  37. 37
    + 55
    - 13

    ranked low on reranks & added by mattpassant
    The Long Voyage Home, Anna Christie, Mourning Becomes Electra

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  38. 38
    + 47
    - 24


    The Crying of Lot 49

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  39. 39
    + 42
    - 32


    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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  40. 40
    + 47
    - 49

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72

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  41. 41
    + 48
    - 26


    Catch-22

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  42. 42
    + 28
    - 10

    added by looksharp
    All the King's Men, American Literature, Flood

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  43. 43
    + 58
    - 34


    The Bell Jar

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  44. 44
    + 29
    - 17

    often listed & added by clash1977
    Almost Heroes, The Last American Hero, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

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  45. 45
    + 22
    - 24

    often listed & added by mattpassant
    Drugstore Cowboy, Naked Lunch, Junkie

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  46. 46
    + 45
    - 27


    Rabbit Run, Rabbit at Rest, Rabbit is Rich

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  47. 47
    + 31
    - 7


    The Red Badge of Courage, The Red Badge of Courage, Poems of Stephen Crane ...

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  48. 48
    + 31
    - 25

    added by Garvin
    I, Robot, Foundation

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  49. 49
    + 23
    - 23

    often listed & added by mattpassant
    The Naked and the Dead, The Executioner's Song, Ancient Evenings

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  50. 50
    + 27
    - 6

    added by Clark Benson
    Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep

    ;
231 +

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