In this article we are going to read about the 15 best writers of the 19th century – from writers like Charles Dickens, rumoured writers like Whitman and Wilde, environmentalists like John Muir, and more. In this century and era of literature focused on realism and the real world. The reality of people, marriage, life, religion, beliefs, nature, and more were the themes and subjects of writing. We are going to read about the writer and their writing contribution.

Charles Dickens

15 Best Writers of the 19th Century - Charles Dickens
15 Best Writers of the 19th Century – Charles Dickens

Dickens was one of the most popular social critics and writers. His writings enjoyed extraordinary popularity during the 20th century and his lifetime. He was also considered a literary genius by scholars and critics. His works are widely read even today. Some of his best works are The Hard Times, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and more.

Walt Whitman

Top 15 Authors from 19th century - Walt Whitman
Top 15 Authors from 19th century – Walt Whitman

Whitman was an American journalist, essayist, and poet. He was also a humanist. He incorporated both realism and transcendentalism in his writings. Walt Whitman was often referred to as the father of free verse. His work was controversial during his time, especially Leaves of Grass published in 1855. His own life came under inspection for his assumed homosexuality. Renowned poet Ezra Pound referred to him as ‘America’.

Herman Melville

Herman Melville
Herman Melville

Melville was an American poet, short story writer, and novelist of the American Renaissance Period. Some of his best-known works are Moby Dick, Billy Budd, and Typee. Moby Dick grew to be referred to as one of the great American novels. He also wrote poems, one of his major works is compiled in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War which was written based on the American Civil War and the moral questions that came up with it.

Edgar Allan Poe

15 Best Writers of the 19th Century - Edgar Allan Poe
15 Best Writers of the 19th Century – Edgar Allan Poe

Poe was an American poet, writer, literary critic, and editor. He is popular for his short stories and poetry, specifically his tales of the macabre ad mystery. Allan Poe was the central figure of American literature and Romanticism in America. He was also considered to be the creator of the genre of detective fiction and an important contributor to the appearing sci-fi genre. 

Frederick Douglass

Top 15 Authors from 19th century - Frederick Douglass
Top 15 Authors from 19th century – Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an African-American writer, orator, social reformer, and abolitionist. After escaping from the slavery he suffered in Maryland, Douglass became a national leader of the movement of abolitionists in NY and Massachusetts and became popular for his antislavery writing. He also wrote three autobiographies elucidating his struggle and experiences as a slave. He also enthusiastically supported women’s suffrage. Some of his writings are My Bondage and My Freedom, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, The North Star, and more.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Waldo was an American abolitionist, philosopher, poet, lecturer, and essayist. He was one of the many figures who rejected views of God and took a pantheist approach. Waldo Emerson hugely influenced the writers, poets, and thinkers. He was also the mentor of famous transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.

Oscar Wilde

15 Best Writers of the 19th Century - Oscar Wilde
15 Best Writers of the 19th Century – Oscar Wilde

Best known for his plays and only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde was a notable writer of the Victorian era. Some of his best works are The Importance of Being Earnest, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, De Profundis, and more. His entire life and career were ruined when his personal life and sexuality became public.

Washington Irving

Top 15 Authors from 19th century - Washington Irving
Top 15 Authors from 19th century – Washington Irving

Irving was an American essayist, short story writer, historian, biographer, and diplomat of the early nineteenth century. He is most popular for his short stories named The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle and his biography named A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.

Jacob Riis

Jacob Riis
Jacob Riis

Riis was a Danish-American journalist, social documentary photographer, and social reformer. He contributed hugely to the cause of urban reform in the United States at the turn of the 20thcentury. He is popular for utilizing his journaling and photography skills to help the insolvent in NYC. These impoverished people from New York were subjects of some of his best writings and photography. Some of his best writings are How the Other Half Lives, The Children of the Poor, Out of Mulberry Street, The Battle with the Slum, The Making of an American, and more.

Margaret Fuller

15 Best Writers of the 19th Century - Margaret Fuller
15 Best Writers of the 19th Century – Margaret Fuller

Fuller was an American editor, journalist, critic, advocate of women’s rights, and translator. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century is referred to as the first significant work of feminism in the United States. Some of his writings are Summer on the Lakes, At Home and Abroad, Life Without and Life Within, and more.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Top 15 Authors from 19th century - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Top 15 Authors from 19th century – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthorne was an American novelist, short story, and dark romantic writer. His writings concentrate on religion, morality, and history. He published numerous short stories and collected them in Twice-Told Tales in 1837. His fictional writings are referred to as a part of the Romantic Movement, particularly Dark Romanticism. Some of his writings are The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun, Fanshawe, and more.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle

Doyle was a British physician and writer. He is best known for creating the character of Sherlock Holmes, which began with A Study in Scarlet in 1887. A Study in Scarlet is the first one of the four novels and the fifty-six short stories are written about Sherlock. These stories are milestones in the genre of crime fiction.

George Perkins Marsh

15 Best Writers of the 19th Century - George Perkins Marsh
15 Best Writers of the 19th Century – George Perkins Marsh

Marsh was an American philologist, diplomat, naturalist, and famed scholar. He is referred to by many as America’s first environmentalist. In his popular book Man and Nature, he discussed the significance of the pleasant relationship between the natural world and humankind and advised about the dangers that are possible to arrive if we utilize natural resources quickly. He also argued on how deforestation is hazardous.

Horace Greeley

Top 15 Authors from 19th century - Horace Greeley
Top 15 Authors from 19th century – Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley was an American publisher and newspaper editor. He hugely contributed to politics and political happenings. He served briefly as a congressman from NY, and a failed candidate of the new Liberal Republican Party. Greeley incessantly endorsed utopian reforms such as feminism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, and socialism. Some of his writings are The American Conflict, Recollections of a Busy Life, Alice and Phebe Cary, and more.

John Muir

John Muir
John Muir

Popularly known as “Father of the National Parks” and “John of the Mountains”, John Muir was a prominent Scottish-American author, zoologist, botanist, naturalist, glaciologist, naturalist, and early advocate for the conservation of wilderness in the USA. His essays, letters, and books explore the adventures he experienced in nature, especially the adventures in the Sierra Nevada. Some of his writings are The Yosemite, Travels in Alaska, The Mountains of California, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, and more.

Also Read: Why Local Literatures And Authors Deserve More Recognition And Readership