It’s an unfortunate fact that the best writing stems from sorrow. Happiness is so complete and untainted that it does not seek any expression. Sorrow, however, demands some kind of catharsis. And for writers, it comes from putting pen to paper. It comes as no surprise, that, that some of the most beautiful prose in the world has come from authors with the most tragic lives. Today, we’ve compiled a list of prolific authors who lived the most tragic and sad life.

Sylvia Plath

Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Sylvia Plath)
Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Sylvia Plath)

Plath’s life and even her death make for perhaps the most painful and devastating stories you will ever hear. Her first attempt to kill herself took place when she was in school. Shortly after, she got married to Ted Hughes. During this marriage, she bore him two children and miscarried a baby. Rumors say that Hughes beat her two days before the miscarriage. Then, Hughes fell in love with another woman, and Plath and Hughes separated. Soon after, she committed suicide by gassing herself in the kitchen while her children slept soundly in the other room. She was all but thirty at the time, and her psychiatrist said her death was to be attributed to clinical depression.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf

Woolf’s suicide note to her husband is undoubtedly one of the most heart-wrenching things you will ever read. She says that all has gone from her except her belief in his goodness. She further said that all his happiness was because of him, and a couple couldn’t have been happier until her “disease” (depression) came along. Woolf had narrowly escaped from her depression in her youth, but it’s second wave caused her to desert her home and drown herself in the River Ouse behind her house.

Oscar Wilde

Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Oscar Wilde)
Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Oscar Wilde)

It’s a well known fact that Oscar Wilde was homosexual. Due to the severity of the time he lived in, the majority of is suffering was due to this. Five years after his marriage in 1991, Wilde fell madly in love with Lord Alfred Douglas, the son of the Marquess. This, obviously, did not go down too well with the Marquess. She accused him of gross indecency and he filed a petition against her. He lost, and was sentenced to prison for two months. During this time, his wife Constance took their children to Switzerland and Wilde never saw them again. He lived his life later as a wanderer across Europe, under various aliases and not many literary works.

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë

The eldest Brontë sister outlived her two sisters and her brother Branwell. She had earlier suppressed the publication of her sister Anne’s novel “The Tenant of Windfell Hall” due to competition. However, after Anne andEmily’s death, her sisters spirits began to haunt her and she became almost delirious and unable to write. She found a sliver of happiness in her shortlived marriage to Arthur Nicholls, but died during her pregnancy. Her last words express her desire to live, because she was so happy with her husband.

Charles Dickens

Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Charles Dickens)
Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Charles Dickens)

Charles Dickens’ novels are full of misery and bleakness, and much of their content was derived from his actual life. Dickens spent his childhood under extreme debt and poverty. He had to take up a job at Warren’s Blacking factory which was a terrible experience. He later said of the work that “no words can express the secret agony of my soul” and described the “grief and humiliation” he felt. Later, he lost both his younger brother and sister and saw his father go to debtor’s prison. His first love was unfruitful and he separated with his wife as well. Later, he saw the death of his daughter and son and had a troubled relationship with his other children. Even his last wishes were ignored.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka

Kafka’s life was one of loneliness and despair. He was separated from every true connection in his life, and died an empty man. He had a strained relationship with his parents due to their disapproval of his literary profession. His father was a patriarch and an absolutely tyrannical and abusive one, as he says in “Letters to my Father.” His father opposed of his marriage to the woman he loved, and the marriage was never to be. Kafka suffered from clinical depression and social anxiety all his life, and had innumerable health problems as well. He died of tuberculosis.

Ted Hughes

Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Ted Hughes)
Authors Who lived The Most Tragic And Sad Life (Ted Hughes)

Ted Hughes was the aforementioned husband of Sylvia Plath. We started our list with Plath, and we end it with her husband. Although it may seem like Hughes was a monster and Plath the victim, Hughes himself suffered a lot throughout his life. Plath’s death came to be the central point in Hughes’ life. Within that tumultuous period of 6 years, Hughes faced the death of four people of tantamount importance in his life. The woman he cheated on Plath with, killed herself and their daughter. Later, his mother died as well.

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