20 Celebrated American Writers

American Profile, a supplement to our local newspaper, published a story that saluted 20 of America’s iconic authors and poets. I’m relieved to know that I’ve read half of these heroes of American literature.

I admit it. I never finished Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. (Plus I skipped parts.) And I signed up for a class on William Faulkner in college and promptly dropped it. I had trouble with the chapter-long sentences. I exaggerate, but not much. I should revisit Faulkner.

I’ve been a longtime fan of John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and, of course, Mark Twain. I’ve also read Harper Lee, Jack London, Robert Frost, J.D. Salinger and Edgar Allan Poe.

Here’s American Profile’s full list (in alphabetical order):

1. Willa Cather

2. James Fenimore Cooper

3. Emily Dickinson

4. Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. William Faulkner

6. F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. Robert Frost

8. Nathaniel Hawthorne

9. Ernest Hemingway

10. Washington Irving

11. Harper Lee

12. Jack London

13. Herman Melville

14. Margaret Mitchell

15. Edgar Allan Poe

16. J.D. Salinger

17. John Steinbeck

18. Henry David Thoreau

19. Mark Twain

20. Walt Whitman

Anyone not on the list that should be? Do these writers and  their dusty old literature still matter to the modern scribbler?


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