The Best Classic Authors Ever

I have an interest in reading some classic authors. I’ve read Shakespeare, Homer, and a limited amount of 19th century literature, but I’d like to read more.

I tried the 99 Classic Books Challenge on List Challenges, and my score was dismal. I’ve only read six of the books. Isn’t that pathetic? There are a couple more in that list that I own, but haven’t read yet.

I need suggestions. I have some questions for you to answer, so please leave them in the comments below.

  1. Which classic author and book do you recommend from the 20th century?
  2. Which classic author and book do you recommend from the 19th century?
  3. How about the 18th century?
  4. 17th century?
  5. 11th to 16th century?
  6. 1st to 10th century?
  7. 1st century BCE and beyond?

If you don’t have an answer for some of these, don’t worry. Leave it blank. I’m looking forward to your answers. Thanks!

22 thoughts on “The Best Classic Authors Ever”

  1. I have a Goodreads shelf specifically for Classic authors!

    I really only have one recommendation I feel confident about as many of the books on my Classics list are still to-read (I feel I’ve read more classics, but I can’t recall them right now to add). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the 19th C (1800s are the 19th?? I always mess this up). I’d say Shakespeare for 11th to 16th centuries, but I’m sure that’s already a given. I’m currently reading one of his narrative poems The Rape of Lucrece. Midsummer NIght’s Dream is one of my favorites and on my to-reread list along with Hamlet and McBeth.

    Hope this was useful!

  2. I love a lot of the classics! Here are some of my favorites in relation to your questions:

    1. 20th century: The Catcher in the Rye
    2. 19th century: Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

    …Not sure about the others off the top of my head, but these are three of my favorites!

  3. 20th – (And still going in the 21st) Margaret Atwood, any and all!
    19th – Charles Dickens
    17th – John Webster
    11th – 16th – Chaucer

    1. Is Atwood classic, then? 🙂 Chaucer seems interesting, considering it would be incredibly difficult to understand his writing in the original English.

      1. I think she is a modern classic, and there are so many obvious 20th Century ones that I wanted to go with someone different! Chaucer is a hard read there is no doubt, but I personally think it’s worth it 🙂

          1. Yeah, I have read some of Aristotle’s writings in translation, not easy to understand even in English…not for me at least!

    1. Thanks. I also have to wonder, is he French or Algerian? His name is French, and I know he was French, but born in Algeria. I want to read a book from every country, but I have a feeling he’s probably more associated with France. What do you think?

      1. I’d say he was French-Algerian. He was born in Algeria and lived in Algiers but then Algeria was occupied by France up until 1962 (2 years after Camus died). I get what you mean though, people often refer to his as a French author without any mention of Algeria which is odd really.

        1. Thanks for that information. Sounds like he is probably ethnically French, and his family was part of the people who moved to Algeria while it was occupied.

          Arthur C. Clarke was a Sri Lankan citizen, but I classify him as British (I’m sure he had dual citizenship) because that was his home country and the culture in which he lived for most of his life. He was definitely not Sri Lankan culturally. Same with Anne McCaffrey. She moved to Ireland later in her life, but I’d still classify her as American.

  4. 20th – East of Eden by John Steinbeck / Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell / The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald / The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway / A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf / Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke / Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill / The Diary of Anne Frank / Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller / The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara / Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
    19th – David Copperfield by Charles Dickens / Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte / Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen / Frankenstein by Mary Shelley / Civil Disobedience & Walden by Henry David Thoreau / Moby-Dick by Herman Melville / War & Peace by Tolstoy (I’ve read half. Quite good. Not what you’d expect.)
    18th – The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe / The Auotobiography of Benjamin Franklin / Lady Susan by Jane Austen / A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
    17th – The Taming of the Shrew & the Complete Sonnets by William Shakespeare, Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (apparently it was in nearly every home in the 17th century, so important to history…)

    Not sure about prior to that. I have plenty on my list, but haven’t read them yet. Have fun choosing. 🙂

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