September 21, 2021

Who Influnced our Writing Most?


I have been doing research on finding who are some of the greatest writers of all time. Why? Curiosity, mainly.

And in doing so, I ran across this website:

No Sweat Shakespeare. They have an article on the thirty greatest writers classified under fiction writers. Their criterion would be, “They should be poets, dramatists and prose fiction writers who have had a significant influence on the writers who came after them or on the direction of society.”

I chose to look at the first fifteen that they considered the greatest writers as well as shaping our thinking. These years are from 850 BC to the 1800’s:

Homer – His two epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Sophocles – Oedipus the King is his most famous play, also the greatest Greek drama. A Greek who wrote plays for tragic dramas.

Virgil – A Roman poet, wrote the epic Aeneid.

Mark – The Evangelist who wrote The Gospel of St Mark.

Dante- An Italian poet,  wrote the acclaimed poem The Divine Comedy.

Geoffrey Chaucer- A giant of English poetry wrote The Canterbury Tales.

Francois Rabelais - A French novelist wrote volumes of The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Miguel Cervantes- He wrote Don Quixote and is the most important writer in the history of the modern novel and one in the history of literature.

John Donne – His famous poem A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.

John Milton- His epic poem Paradise Lost.

John Bunyan – Writer of The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Voltaire – (François-Marie Arouet) Novelist, wrote Candide.

William Blake – An English poet best known for Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.

Jane Austen – Considered to be her finest work is Mansfield Park.

Hans Christian Andersen – The Emperor’s New Clothes is considered the best short story ever written.

Of these top fifteen writers, you can see seven of these people were poets and these poets influenced our writing, not just poetry, but plays, novels and lyrics.

What you may not know is writing poetry helps us write better. Through poetry we develop a greater understanding of language. We can see our writing through different eyes. It teaches us to express ourselves or our ideas in a more succinct manner.

So, take a break and try your hand at poetry. See what words you can bring to play. As writers it helps our writing to "get out of our box" so to speak. Have fun!


  1. Well, I've read 6 of the ones mentioned...not sure what that says about me. :-) But I totally agree that poetry helps us to write better!

  2. Thanks Patricia, I never thought about it before, having read some of these too, how that would help with writing until these last few five or six years. But truly, I can see how they have influenced writers down through the years even in our day. I am trying to spend more time reading poetry. I admit I am finding it enjoyable as well as educational.

  3. Surprised C. S. Lewis didn’t meme this list, but I don’t think he wrote poetry.

  4. My favorite Jane Austen is on this list. Indeed she was amazing. Pride and Prejudice and Emma are my favorite book. I work in a Dissertation Literature Review Writing Service and my work is really hectic usually after working I hate reading anything as my job is all about reading but still I was so invested in these books that I used to stay up late at night to read them

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