Everyone who enjoys reading has a list of authors whose work has made a significant impact on their lives.

Everyone’s list might be slightly different and the reasons why some authors are on one list and not another could be hotly debated.

Here is a list of who we think had the most significant impact on their world and, in some cases, hundreds of years later on ours.

William Shakespeare

The works of Shakespeare are still shared in schools, performed in theatres and loved and treasured by readers all over the world.

You might think that after 500 years his work may be outdated or old-fashioned, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Shakespeare was the master of capturing the human spirit – the good, the blessed, the bad, the cruel – you name it, and showing it to us in all its glory.

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Alexander Pope

Not many people have read or heard of Alexander Pope, but they would be all too familiar with some of the expressions he created for us.

Alexander Pope was an 18th century poet whose famous quotations are only second to Shakespeare.

Here is an example:

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

“Hope spring eternal…”

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

William Wordsworth

Wordsworth is an amazing poet of lyrics and prose. The “Cumberland Beggar” is a beautiful reflection on age, poverty and the human need to be generous. As one of the Romantic poets, Wordsworth celebrated the beauty of nature in way that informed and enlivened the human spirit.

Charles Dickens

Never did a writer capture the class system of 19th century England better than Charles Dickens.

His stories, characters, plots and subplots are coarse, harsh and indicative of a crueller time.

Regardless, his heroes shine through and embolden the human spirit. Apart from Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carole, there are many more works that will engage and inspire Dickens’ readers.

Jane Austen

While you may not be aware of Jane Austen as an author many of her works have been made into popular television and cinema classics.

Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility are stories etched into history and our hearts.

Jane Austen used dialogue to capture the spirit of her characters and while some may say she was one of the first romance writers, the quality of the control she had over the English language stands her as one of the greatest writers of all time.

You might also be interested in – 5 of the most influential English writers

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