Addison, Joseph (1672-1719). The most noted essay writer in modern English. Contributed frequently to the ‘Spectator.’ Plis tragedy ‘Cato’ was a brilliant success.
Teschylus (525-456 B.C.).
Called the founder of Greek drama; composed seventy plays and gained the prize for dramatic excellence thirteen times.
Andersen, Hans Christian (1805-1875).
Perhaps the most gifted writer of fairy tales that the world has known. His ‘Tales for Children,’ ‘The Wild Swans,’ and ‘The Ice Maiden’ are the daintiest productions in that class of literature.
Austen, Jane (1775-1817).
An English novelist regarded by many as the ablest female fiction-writer that England has produced.
Sense and Sensibility,’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ are her finest works.
Barrie, Sir James Matthew (1860).
Entered journalism and later published a series of essays and sketches which made him popular. His novels include ‘A Window in Thrums,’ ‘The Little Minister,’ ‘Sentimental Tommy,’ etc. Achieved success as a dramatist, ‘Peter Pan’ being amongst his most popular plays.
Borrow, George (1803-1881). —
A travelling agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society for many years, and in the course of his wanderings, made a special study of gypsy life, and wrote most charming books about the Romany tribes. His ‘Lavengro’ and ‘Romany Rye’ are classics.
Bronte, Charlotte (1816-1855). —
Born in Yorkshire, she turned to authorship to keep the wolf from the door. Her ‘Jane Eyre’ attracted universal notice, and her other novels, ‘Shirley,’ ‘Vilette’ and ‘The Professor’ are all marked by strong genius.
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett (1809-1861).
Wrote many poems of great intellectual power and imaginative fervour. Some of her works, such as ‘The Cry of the 23]
Children,’ ‘Bertha in the Lane,’ etc., are sure of immortality, and ‘Aurora Leigh,’ a novel in poetic form, attains a high level of poetic execution.
Browning, Robert (1812-188!)).
Was quickly recognized as a poet of rare gift. Perhaps on account of a somewhat obscure and involved style, his earlier poems and dramas were not too popular, but later he knew what it was to be an appreciated poet. In ‘Men and Women,’ and ‘The Ring and the book,’ are to be found some of the finest poetry of modern times. Is remembered as the author of ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin,’ ‘Pippa Passes,’ etc.
Bunyan, John (1628-1688).
Born at Bedford of humble parents, was a travelling tinker. For some years a popular preacher. Thrown into prison after the Restoration he there wrote ‘Pilgrim’s Progress.’
Burns, Robert (1759-1796).
Scotland’s greatest poet. Lived in poverty during his childhood. In his career poured forth song after song of wonderful tenderness, and made his name immortal. Wrote ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night,’ and ‘Tarn O’ Shantcr.’
Byron, Lord (1788-1824).
Educated at Harrow and Cambridge, he published his ‘Hours of Idleness’ at the age of twenty, and shortly afterwards ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.’ Noted for ‘Childe Harold,’ ‘Don Juan,’ etc. He made an unhappy marriage in 1815 and parted from his wife. He lived abroad for the rest of his life, and the work he did for the liberation of Greece has much endeared him to that people.
Carroll, Lewis—Rev. C. L. Dodgson (1832-1898).— Wrote ‘ Alice in Wonderland,’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ Chatterton, Thomas (1752-1770).
Wrote poems and biographies which he declared were copies of old MSS found by him. Being suspected of forgery, Chatterton eventually committed suicide. It was only after his death that the world recognized his great talent.
Chaucer, Geoffrey (circa 1340-1400).
The Father of English poetry. Achieved immortality by his ‘Canterbury Tales.’ Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Dante, Alighieri (1265-1321). —
The greatest of Italian poets, whose ‘Divine Comedy’ is world-famous, and has been translated into all languages.
Defoe, Daniel (1661-1731).
Was the son of a London butcher, and became a political writer and novelist. He achieved world-wide fame by his ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ which was not written until he was close on sixty years of age.
Dickens, Charles (1812-1870). —
The most popular novelist of the 19th century, who, by sheer genius, attained the highest position in the world of literature. Amongst his many books, probably ‘ The Old Curiosity Shop,’ ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ are the best known. He produced novel after novel from the ‘Pickwick Papers’ until the time of his death. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Dryden, John (1631-1700).
A most prolific poet, writer, and dramatist. His translation of Virgil ranks very high, and he was laureate and historiographer-royal, for eighteen years. His plays were written to please the Jacobean taste, but he did better work, as in ‘Annus Mirabilis.’
Dumas, Alexandre (1802-1870).
The famous French novelist, and dramatist who excelled in the field of historical romance, and wrote more volumes than any man of his time. His ‘Monte Cristo’ is probably the greatest novel of the 19th century.
Goldsmith, Oliver (1728-1774).
Failing in the various professions to which his parents set him, he found his way to London, subsequently devoting the whole of his time to literature. He gave us the ‘Vicar of Wakefield,’ ‘The Deserted Village,’ and ‘She Stoops to Conquer.’
Herodotus (circa 484-424 B.C.). —
The great Greek Historian who is known as the ‘ Father of History.’’ First man to attempt a rational account of past events.
Hugo, Victor (1802-1885).
Poet, dramatist, and novelist, he headed the Romantic movement in France in the beginning of the 19th century, and made a great name by his dramas, ‘Hernani,’ ‘Lucroce Borgia,’ ‘Ruy Bias,’ ‘Le Roy s’amuse,’ and his novels, ‘Notre Dame,’ ‘Les Miserables,’ etc.
Johnson, Dr. Samuel (1709-1784).
An eccentric, witty, hotheaded, outspoken author, with an unpleasant appearance and a soft heart. Wrote the first English dictionary worthy of note.
Kipling, Rudyard (1865).— .While still young gained fame by some clever and characteristic sketches and verses of Indian life, whilst doing journalistic work in that country. Noted for the ‘Barrack Room Ballads,’ ‘Plain Tales From the Hills,’ ‘ Just So Stories,’ ‘The Jungle book,’ ‘Kim,’ etc. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1907.
Lamb, Charles (1775-1834).
One of England’s most polished essayists. He wrote ‘Essays of Elia,’ and ‘Tales of Shakespeare.’ Devoted to his sister, Mary, with whom he collaborated.
Longfellow, H.W. (1807-1882). —
An American poet who produced a great number of poems including ‘Hiawatha,’ ‘ Evangeline,’ ‘Tales of a Wayside Inn.’
Lucretius (95-55 B.C.).
A Roman poet who wrote ‘De Rerum Natura’; he committed suicide.
Lytton, Bulwer (1803-1873).
First Lord. Novelist and statesman. ‘TheLast Days of Pompeii,’ ‘Eugene Aram,’ ‘The Last of the Barons,’ ‘Ernest Maltravers,’ and ‘Harold’ are perhaps his best works. Of his plays, ‘The Lady of Lyons’ and ‘Money ‘ are still performed occasionally.
Macaulay, Thos. Babington, Lord (1800-1859) .— Probably the most brilliant historian and poet of the Victorian era. His fame was assured by his ‘Essays’ and ‘Lavs of Ancient Rome.’ Maeterlinck, Maurice (1862). —A distinguished Belgian poet and critical writer. Among his principal works are ‘La Prin-cesse Maleine,’ ‘Pelleas et Meli-sande,’ ‘The Double Garden,’ and ‘The Blue Bird.’
Milton, John (1608-1674).
A Puritan poet who wrote ‘Paradise Lost,’ probably the finest poem in English. In 1652 he became totally blind.
Ruskin, John (1819-1900).
A traveller, art critic and social reformer, who wrote rather to uplift people’s ideals than to gain a living. Notable works: ‘Modern Painters,’ ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture,’ ‘The Stones of Venice,’ ‘Sesame and Lilies.’
Sand, George (1804-1S76).
Her proper name was Armandine Lucie Aurore, Baroness Dudevant, and she achieved great success both as a novelist and dramatist. Written in collaboration with Jules Sandeau, her first novel was ‘Rose et Blanche,’ and this was followed by ‘Indiana,’ her own unaided effort. This was a great success, and amongst others she produced were, ‘ Valentine,’ ‘Jacques,’ ‘La Petite Fadette.’
Scott, Sir Walter (1771-1832). —
A brilliant and many-sided novelist. Lost a fortune in the bankruptcy of a publishing house, and made another. Wrote such well-known novels as ‘Ivanhoe,’ ‘The Talisman,’ ‘Kenilworth,’ ‘Old Mortality,’ ‘Rob Roy.’
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616).
England’s greatest poet and dramatist. Spent his time in London and Stratford-on-Avon. Wrote comedies, tragedies, and historical plays. Space prevents a list of his thirtv-five plays.
Sophocles (495-406 B.C.).
One of the most noted Greek tragic poets. Polished in appearance and in literary skill. Wrote ‘Antigone,’ ‘Electra,’ ‘(Edipus,’ ‘Ajax,’ etc.
Spenser, Edmund (1553-1599). —
Born in London and educated at Cambridge, he attracted notice by his poetic effusions, and after the publication of the ‘Shepherd’s Calendar,’ Queen Elizabeth gave him the appointment of Secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Kilcolman Castle with its three thousand acres of land. It was here he wrote his ‘Faerie Queen.’
Sterne, Laurence (1713-1768). —
Born in Ireland, but educated in England, he became one of Britain’s greatest humorists. He wrote his great work, ‘Tristram Shandy,’ the first two volumes in 1750, and the third in 1767. Also wrote ‘The Sentimental Journey.’
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850-1895).
A Scotsman who suffered from ill-health and travelled much in consequence; he finally settled in Samoa where he died. He wrote many essays and stories. Known to schoolboys as the author of ‘Treasure Island,’ ‘Kidnapped,’ ‘Catriona,’ etc.
Swinburne, Algernon Charles (1837-1809).
Noted for a number of poems of singular beauty and charm including ‘Atalanta in Calydon, ‘ ‘ Both we 11,’’ and ‘ ‘Mary Stuart.’’ Best prose writing is his essay on William Blake.
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord (1809-1892).
A poet of rare and delicate talent; probably the finest writer of verse in modern times. Wrote ‘The Princess,’ ‘In Memoriam,’ ‘Enoch Arden ‘ and a number of other poems when Poet Laureate.
Thackeray, William Makepeace (1811-1863).
A great novelist who knew how to depict the social life of the age. Author of ‘Vanity Fair,’ ‘Esmond,’ ‘Pendennis,’ ‘The Newcomes,’ ‘The Virginians,’ etc.
Virgil (70-19 B.C.).
Known as the Latin Homer. Wrote the ‘fiineid’ the adventures of .¦Eneas after the fall of Troy.
Wordsworth, William (1770-1850).
A poet who excelled in describing the beauties of nature. Wrote ‘The Ode to Duty,’ and ‘Tintern Abbey.’