9 Of The Best 19th Century Authors

Do you want to broaden your horizons with 19th Century literature? If so, take a look at a few of the best 19th century authors below.

The world of literature is vast. Writing has evolved significantly during the past few hundred years. Historical events, geographic location, and the author’s personal experiences all carried an influence into the writing.

If you want a window into the past, consider looking at 19th-century English or American literature. There are numerous novels and short stories from the United States and England that significantly influenced the evolution of writing from the Victorian era into the 20th century. Take a look at a few of the best 19th-century authors below, and consider picking up a few of their works. 

Best 19th Century Authors Ranked

1. Charles Dickens, 1812 – 1870

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens

You simply can’t talk about 19th-century literature without mentioning Charles Dickens. He is widely considered one of the greatest writers ever. His writing often served as a commentary on major social events at the time. Unlike many other writers, he became famous while he was still alive.

Many of his works are still required reading for children in high school and college, with some of his most popular novels being A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations.

If you want to learn more about the works of Charles Dickens, consider buying a copy of Oliver Twist from Amazon. Looking for more authors to explore? Check out our guide to the best 18th century authors. Or you can find different authors from other centuries by searching the keyword “century” in our search bar.

Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)
  • Dickens, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 04/29/2003 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

2. Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910

Mark Twain
Mark Twain

Mark Twain is an American author, but this is a pen name. His real name is Samuel Clemens, and he considered by some to be one of the most influential writers ever. He had a lot of unique experiences in his life. He spent time driving a steamboat on a river, worked in the mines in Nevada, and spent a lot of his free time writing.

You have probably read some of his most famous works already, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Even if you have read them before, it is probably worth taking another look, as you might have a greater appreciation for them now. You can find The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on Amazon.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (SeaWolf Press Illustrated Classic): First Edition Cover
  • Twain, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 358 Pages - 02/25/2021 (Publication Date) - SeaWolf Press (Publisher)

3. Charlotte Bronte, 1816 – 1855, and Emily Bronte, 1818 – 1848

Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Brontë

The Bronte sisters are celebrated throughout British history, but they wrote during the 19th century when women were largely not allowed to work. Despite the unique circumstances they faced, they became incredibly prolific. Even though they did not lead very long lives, they were still incredibly productive. They published their work under pseudonyms and lived most of their lives in isolation.

In particular, Charlotte Bronte is known for Jane Eyre, which remains a popular book today. You can find Jane Eyre on Amazon. 

Jane Eyre: The Original 1847 Edition With Illustrations (A Classic Illustrated Novel of Charlotte Brontë)
  • Brontë, Charlotte (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 383 Pages - 05/05/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

4. Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 – 1849

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is celebrated as one of the most popular authors ever. He wrote a variety of short stories, most of them falling into the horror genre. People still read his works to this day, and he has influenced multiple generations of authors since the first time he put pen to paper.

He is considered one of the greatest writers of the Romantic era. One of his most famous books is The Tell-Tale Heart. This is a powerful story that will grab readers’ attention from start to finish. You may have already read this book while you were in school, but it is so good, it’s always worth a re-visit. If you want to give this story a read, you can find The Tell-Tale Heart on Amazon.

The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Edgar Allan Poe (Author) - Ruth Wilson (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/31/2020 (Publication Date) - Audible Studios (Publisher)

5. George Eliot, 1819 – 1880

George Eliot
George Eliot

George Eliot is the pen name of Mary Ann Evans. Because she was a female writer during the 19th century, he was forced to publish her work under a different name. Despite the circumstances, today she is celebrated as one of the greatest English writers

She is one of the most famous writers of the 19th century. She published many works that criticized social customs, and her work gives us a unique look at what life was like during that time. They remain some of the most popular books to this day. One of her most famous novels is Middlemarch. You can read this book yourself by buying it from Amazon.

6. Jane Austen, 1775 – 1817

Jane Austen
Found on Wikimedia Commons

Jane Austen is widely celebrated as one of the greatest writers ever. She was born in England at the end of the 18th century and passed away when she was approximately 42 years of age. While she was alive, most women stayed home to take care of the family.

She published her works under a pen name. However, it wasn’t until much later that her career was celebrated appropriately. Her most celebrated works include Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.The story follows a group of sisters who experience romance and comedy throughout their lives.

You can read Pride and Prejudice by purchasing it from Amazon. If you want to explore other authors from different centuries, you might want to check out our list of the best authors of 21st century. You can discover more authors from different centuries by using our search bar and typing in “century”!

Pride and Prejudice
  • Austen, Jane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 218 Pages - 12/16/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

7. Herman Melville, 1819 – 1891

Herman Melville
Photo by Joseph Oriel Eaton – Houghton Library – Harvard University. Found on Wikipedia, Public Domain

Herman Melville is a novelist, essayist, and writer from the United States. He spent most of his childhood living in New York City, but his father passed away at a young age. Forcing a young Melville to get a job to support his family. He worked on a ship, spending his days chasing whales. As a result, many of his works focused on his time spent on a boat traveling around the New England area. Without a doubt, his most famous novel is Moby DIck. First published in 1851, it remains one of the most celebrated books of all time.

You can also check out Moby Dick for yourself on Amazon.

Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
  • Melville, Herman (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 672 Pages - 10/27/2009 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

8. Leo Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910

Leo Tolstoy
Credit to Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, found on Wikipedia, public domain

Leo Tolstoy was widely seen as one of the greatest fighters of all time. The only non-British/American author on this list, he was born in Russia and published various novels during a lengthy career. He grew up in an aristocratic Russian family. Some of his most famous works include War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Many of his novels are classed as realistic fiction. Serving as a commentary on some of the most significant social issues of the era, in a country that was largely secretive.

You can pick up a copy of Ana Karen Nina for yourself from Amazon.

Anna Karenina
  • Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, paperback
  • Tolstoy, Leo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 864 Pages - 05/01/2004 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

9. Mary Shelley, 1797 – 1851

Mary Lee was a famous English novelist who wrote the novel Frankenstein. This Gothic novel is largely regarded as one of the earliest examples of horror and science fiction. She wrote the story when she was just 18. It was because of competition among her friends who wanted to see who could write the best horror novel.

In addition to publishing her own work, she worked hard to publish her husband’s work as well. Some of her other novels include The Last Man, Lodore, and Falkner. During the past few years, her other works have become increasingly popular.

Frankenstein remains her most celebrated work, and you can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon.

  • Mary Shelley (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 166 Pages - 11/08/1994 (Publication Date) - Dover Publications (Publisher)


  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.