America's "Greatest" Writer: A Comprehensive List

Who is America's greatest writer?

  • Jonathan Edwards

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • William Cullen Bryant

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Henry David Thoreau

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • James Russell Lowell

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Walt Whitman

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Emily Dickinson

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Stephen Crane

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Eugene O'Neill

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Robert Frost

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sherwood Anderson

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    40

Wenge

Ad Honoris
Apr 2011
10,429
Virginia
#31
Hemingway is our greatest writer. I am particularly fond of Fitzgerald but Hemingway had magic in his pen. Faulkner once said something to the effect that Hemingway never wrote a word that would make a person need a dictionary. This, in effect, makes me believe that Hemingway was truly the greatest American writer.

A writer's concern is to answer all the questions in their writing. Hemingway is easy to understand and thrilling to read. His short stories are a pleasure to the soul: especially A Clean Well Lighted Place and The Big Two Hearted River.

Papa Hemingway was indeed the greatest of all American writers.
 

Wenge

Ad Honoris
Apr 2011
10,429
Virginia
#32
This isn't a very comprehensive list. Two major omissions are Frank Norris and the current best American writer, in my opinion, Anne Tyler. There is no mention of Langston Hughes or Ralph Ellison or even Douglas Wallop.
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,718
Iowa USA
#33
Voted for Melville. Other posters have cited some absence post-WWII names - Heller, Pynchon, Gaddis, Updike, Roth, Ellison, Cheever, Morrison, DeLillo, Wallace, Wright, Barth, Oates, Salinger and Vonnegut. There's also the poet William Carlos Williams and TS Eliot was an American as well, although I don't think most people view him that way. Thomas Wolfe would be another good addition.
Glad to see another poster remembering Thomas Wolfe!

As a 23 year old I somehow made it through "Of Time and the River", and the mental experience of 'being Eugene Gant' for in that time and place was helpful for me.

My vote was for Twain among those listed, with James and Hemingway getting the honorable mention.
 
Dec 2011
427
Midwest USA
#34
Cooper and Melville, or Melville and Cooper. I think that Cooper wrote so much that was more topical to his times, and that his times are less relevant today makes him less accessible to modern readers.

I do not think that the USA has a Shakespeare as yet.
 

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