Download Literary 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Novelists, by Daniel S Burt PDF

By Daniel S Burt

100 of the main influential literary artists of all time are ranked during this one quantity, together with poets, novelists, and dramatists, from Shakespeare, Dante, and Homer to Kafka, Garcia Marquez, and Ralph Ellison. pictures & illustrations.

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Despite such high praise, an appreciation of Dickens is not free from criticism. It is possible to charge him with sentimentality, of tugging too insistently at our heartstrings, and of reducing experience to idealized and overly 21 22 THE literary 100 melodramatic patterns. His power and singularity as a novelist more than compensate for his defects, however. His range and depth are enormous, while his imaginative power, energy, and intensity as a writer earn him a comparison with Shakespeare.

In a sense, Milton is the great hinge figure, joining the Renaissance with the modern world of increasing uncertainty, which was ushered in during the political and spiritual turmoil of his lifetime. Having read and absorbed virtually everything that had been written in the past, Milton synthesized his scholarship of classical forms into a great contemporary epic, consciously rivaling the achievements of Homer [3], Virgil [9], and Dante [2], and he helped redefine the epic tradition from the heroic to the spiritual, shifting the epic’s emphasis to the questions of the nature of good and evil.

Although both War and Peace and Anna Karenina are firmly rooted in their time and place, neither are restricted by them, as Tolstoy pursues larger truths of history and human nature. 16 THE literary 100 In the end, Tolstoy’s pursuit of truth led him beyond fiction and illusion to realize a version of his revelations about humanity and spirituality in his own life. As Vladimir Nabokov observed: What one would like to do, would be to kick the glorified soapbox from under his sandalled feet and then lock him up in a stone house on a desert island with gallons of ink and reams of paper—far away from the things, ethical and pedagogical, that diverted his attention from observing the way the dark hair curled above Anna’s white neck.

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