Find inspiration from famous authors for your research paper

American poet, memoirist and activist Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Writers like Angelou and other famous authors in genres from classic literature to our modern day offer readers inspiration, excitement and escape. Some authors, such as Arthur Miller, created intensely moving stories that also offer a commentary on the society of their day.

Learn more about famous authors for your literature research paper. (Credit: Famous Authors)

Learn more about famous authors for your literature research paper. (Credit: Famous Authors)

Words are very powerful and those who craft words into stories can inspire you to write a powerful research paper.

Famous authors

Staff writers at compiled a list of “25 Writers Who Changed the World.” Many of the writers and their works may sound familiar to you and may have been required reading in your courses. The list gives you a quick look at how writers have changed society’s views on science, morals and relationships.

The list included:

  • Henry David Thoreau: author of “Walden,” and “Civil Disobedience” who argued for peaceful resistance to an immoral government and the peace of nature.
  • Simone de Beauvoir: author of “The Second Sex” and key player in the feminist movement influenced our understanding and study of gender roles versus sexuality.
  • William Faulkner: one of the most influential American writers who won the Nobel prize for his body of work, which included “The Sound and the Fury” and screenplays such as “The Big Sleep.”

Great authors, great books

In a January 30, 2012, article for, “The Greatest Books of All Time, as Voted by 125 Famous Authors,” Maria Popova gave a sample of results of a survey of famous authors must-read list.

The list of authors whose choices made the list included:

Top works of the 20th Century included:

Top ten authors by books selected included:

Top ten authors by points earned included:

To find more about these famous authors and their works, go to Questia where you can read and study millions of full-text books and articles by these and many more authors.

Great American writers

At Questia you can search for famous authors in a number of categories.

If you choose to focus on American writers, be sure to look into Great American Writers: Twentieth Century – Vol. 1 by R. Baird Shuman.

This encyclopedia is for students of fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, and song lyrics, who wish to learn more about the most influential and significant twentieth-century writers of Canada and the United States. Some of the writers covered here were born in the nineteenth century, but all of them did their most important writing and publishing in the twentieth century.

Works by the authors included in these volumes frequently appear in school and college anthologies or have had a profound influence upon some of the most notable authors of the 20th century.

According to Shuman, “Among the authors in this encyclopedia who influenced later authors, Gertrude Stein looms large. Her impact upon language and writing style directly affected the writing of many authors of the so-called ‘lost generation’ who gathered in Paris after World War I, among them Ernest Hemingway and E Scott Fitzgerald.”

Lessons learned

What can we learn from famous authors, even those who lived in centuries past? Kate Rockwood offered some tantalizing examples from published authors of “5 Lessons You Can Learn From Classic Novels,” in a post for

In the article, Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, explained the lesson learned from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

“Part of the reason I return to this book is that it reminds me to take a second look. In books and in life, you need to read several pages before someone’s true character is revealed,” Diaz said.

Delve into literature and the writings of famous authors through the ages at Questia.

Which famous author has had the most impact on you? Tell us in the comments.

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