America's "Greatest" Writer: A Comprehensive List

Who is America's greatest writer?

  • Jonathan Edwards

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  • William Cullen Bryant

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  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  • Henry David Thoreau

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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  • James Russell Lowell

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  • Walt Whitman

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  • Emily Dickinson

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  • Stephen Crane

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  • Eugene O'Neill

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Robert Frost

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  • Sherwood Anderson

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  • Total voters
Nov 2009
Boston, MA
In your opinion, of these writers, who is the greatest? What I mean is,

1. Who had a lasting impact?
2. Whose literature is most talked about?
3. Who had the greatest influence?

My vote is Edgar Allan Poe. Hands down, he's my favorite author. All of his work is talked about, he invented the short story, and has a very large corps of followers.
Jan 2010
Mark Twain
i am not familiar with Edger Allan
and i have no one to blame but myself for my ignorance


Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
Great listing for sure, I'll go with Mr. Poe
Poe, as a student, attended Jefferson's U. of Virginia and perhaps met him.
Jan 2010
I'm going to be awkward and ask why John Steinbeck isn't there?

And while we're at it, how come there's no Joseph Heller, Bret Easton Ellis, Tom Wolfe, Sinclair Lewis, Arthur Miller, Jack Kerouc, J.D. Salinger, Hunter S. Thompson and (Maybe, perhaps, controversially) Stephen King?

How come you chose authors I haven't read properly???

Although, judging by the list you provided, it has gotta be F. Scott Fitzgerald. As much as I enjoy Poe and Twain, Fitzgerald has had the most lasting impact with his groundbreaking 'Great Gatsby'. 'Tender is the Night' is a forgetabble novel though.

If I was to choose one writer who changed everything for me it would have to be Joseph Heller with 'Catch 22'. A fantastic novel which set out to destroy the postwar zeitgeist with a wit so out of leftfield to leave you speechless...
Nov 2009
Boston, MA
Ok, it's "comprehensive." These are classical American authors. I should have put an "other." :D

My apologies.


Forum Staff
Jun 2009
land of Califia
There are so many wonderful writers here, and by the criteria listed in the o/p, it is probably Poe and Twain towering over the others. I however picked out of sentimentality, the father of the American story, Washington Irving.