1. Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy was a writer from Russia who is considered one of the greatest writers of all time. Born in 1828 to an aristocratic Russian family, he is best known for the War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877) novels, also referred to as realist fiction pinnacles. With his semi-autobiographical trilogy Childhood, Boyhood and Youth (1852–1856) and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), he first gained literary acclaim in his twenties, based on his experience of the Crimean War.
There are hundreds of short stories and several novels in Tolstoy’s literature, such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Family Happiness (1859), and Hadji Murad (1912). He wrote plays and various philosophical essays as well.
Tolstoy endured a deep moral crisis in the 1870s, accompanied by what he believed to be an almost deep spiritual awakening, as outlined in his non-fiction work A Confession (1882).
His literal understanding of Jesus’ ethical teachings, based on the Sermon on the Mount, led him to become a fervent anarchist and pacifist of Christianity.
The nonviolent resistance ideas of Tolstoy, articulated in works such as The Kingdom of God Is Inside You (1894), had a profound influence on such central figures of the 20th century as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Tolstoy also became a committed proponent of Georgism, Henry George’s economic philosophy, which he integrated into his writing, especially Resurrection (1899).
From 1902 to 1906, he received several nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year and nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1910, and it is a huge dispute that he never won.
2. William Shakspeare
William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet, and actor (26 April 1564-23 April 1616), generally regarded as the greatest English language writer and the greatest dramatist in the world. He is often named the national poet of England and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “the Bard”).
His plays have been translated into every major living language and are more commonly performed than every other playwright. They are still being researched and reinterpreted.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and was educated there. He married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18, and he had three children with her: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. He began a successful career in London sometime between 1585 and 1592 as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Men of the Lord Chamberlain, later known as the Men of the King. He seems to have moved to Stratford at age 49 (around 1613), where he died three years later.
Few records of Shakespeare’s private life exist, this has caused considerable conjecture on subjects such as his physical appearance,
His sexuality, his philosophical beliefs, and why people were publishing works that were attributed to him.
Between 1589 and 1613, Shakespeare produced the majority of his known works. His early plays were mostly comedies and stories and are considered to be some of the best works in these genres. He primarily wrote tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. He published tragicomedies (also known as romances) in the final stage ofhis life and collaborated with other playwrights.
In his lifetime, several of Shakespeare’s plays were written in editions of varying consistency and accuracy. However, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors and associates, issued a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous version of Shakespeare’s dramatic works, which contained all but two of his books in 1623.
The volume was followed by a Ben Jonson poem in which Jonson presciently praised Shakespeare as “not of an age, but for all time” in a now-famous quote.
3. James Joyce
James Augustine was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, editor, and literary critic (February 2, 1882 – January 13, 1941). He has contributed to the modernist avant-garde movement and is regarded as one of the most influential and important writers of the 20th century.
Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a seminal work in which a number of literary forms, most famously streams of consciousness, mirror the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey. The Dubliners (1914) short story series and the novels A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939) are other well-known works. Three books of poetry, a poem, his written letters, and occasional journalism are among his other writings.
Joyce was born to a middle-class family in Dublin. A brilliant student, considering the tumultuous family life imposed by the volatile finances of his father, he briefly attended the Christian Brothers-run O’Connell School before excelling at the Clongowes and Belvedere Jesuit schools. He went on to attend Dublin’s University College.
In 1904, with his companion (and later wife) Nora Barnacle, Joyce emigrated to continental Europe in his early twenties. In Trieste, in Paris, and in Zurich, they stayed. Although much of his adult life was spent abroad, the fictional world of Joyce focuses on Dublin and is populated primarily by characters from his time there who closely represent family members, rivals, and acquaintances.
In particular, Ulysses is set with precision in the city’s streets and alleyways. “Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, he had somewhat explained this concern, saying, ‘I am only writing for myself about Dublin, and if I can get to the heart of Dublin, I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. The universal is found in the real.
4. Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (April 10, 1899 – July 2, 1977), was a Russian-American writer, poet, translator, and entomologist. Born in Russia, also known as Vladimir Sirin, he published his first nine novels in the Russian language (1926–1938) while staying in Berlin. Since traveling to the United States and starting to compose in English, he received universal recognition and popularity.
In 1945, Nabokov became an American citizen, but he moved to Europe in 1961 with his wife and settled in Montreux, Switzerland.
Nabokov’s Lolita (1955) was listed fourth in the ranking of Modern Library 100 Best Novels in 2007, Pale Fire (1962) was ranked 53rd on the same list, and his memoir, Speak, Memory (1951), was ranked 8th on Random House’s list of the 20th century’s biggest non-fiction publishers. He was a seven-time finalist in the National Book Award for Literature.
5. Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Russian novelist, philosopher, short story writer, essayist, and journalist, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky’s (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881) literary works examine human psychology in the troubled political, societal, and moral atmospheres of 19th-century Russia and engage in a range of metaphysical and theological themes.
His most acclaimed works include Crime and Revenge (1866), Fool (1869), Spirits (1872), and Karamazov Twins (1880). Dostoevsky’s body of literature consists of 12 plays, four novels, 16 short stories and several other books. Many literary critics consider him as one of the best psychological novelists in world literature. His book Notes from Underground in 1864 is considered to be one of the first works of existentialist literature.
Established in Moscow in 1821, Dostoevsky was drawn to literature at an early age by fairy tales and legends and books by Russian and foreign writers. His mother died in 1837 when he was 15, and at around the same time, he left school to join the Nikolaev Military Engineering Institute. After graduating, he worked as an engineer and briefly lived a comfortable lifestyle, translating books to raise extra income.
He wrote his first book, Poor Folk, in the mid-1840s, which gave him access to the literary circles of Saint Petersburg. Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a literary association debating forbidden books critical of Tsarist Russia, he was sentenced to death, but at the last moment the penalty was commuted. He lived in a Siberian prison camp for four years, followed by six years of compulsory military service in exile.