Famous 19th Century British Novelists

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century British Novelists, including Charles Dickens, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley and Arthur Conan Doyle.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landport, Hampshire, England
Died: June 9, 1870

Widely considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens was an English writer famous for creating world-renowned fictional characters. Regarded by critics and scholars as a literary genius, most of his short stories and novels are read around the world even today. His distinctive style of writing is referred to as Dickensian.

 2 Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 30, 1797
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Somers Town, London, England
Died: February 1, 1851
An author who was admired for her exploration of the Gothic genre, Mary Shelley is best remembered for her novel Frankenstein. She also edited the works of her husband, Romantic poet P.B. Shelley. She lost her husband to a drowning accident and eventually passed away due to brain tumor.

 3 Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling
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Famous As: Journalist, Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: December 30, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: January 18, 1936

English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist Rudyard Kipling is best remembered for his fiction work The Jungle Book. He was born in India and many of his works are inspired by his life in the country. He was one of the most popular English writers in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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 4 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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Famous As: Writer & Physician
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: July 7, 1930
Physician-turned-author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for creating the iconic character Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and 56 short stories on Holmes’s detective adventures and also created the characters Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard. A sports lover, he had dabbled in cricket, football, and bodybuilding, too.

 5 H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England
Died: August 13, 1946

H. G. Wells was an English writer. Although he was prolific in many genres, he is best remembered for his work on sci-fi novels, for which he is often referred to as the father of science fiction. His 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon became so influential that a lunar impact crater is named after him.

 6 Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll
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Famous As: Novelist, Mathematician & Photographer
Birthdate: January 27, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Daresbury, Cheshire, England
Died: January 14, 1898
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, is remembered for his iconic children’s fiction such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. He explored the genre of literary nonsense with his poems such as Jabberwocky. He was also a photographer, a mathematician, and an inventor.

 7 Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 21, 1816
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thornton, Yorkshire, England
Died: March 31, 1855
Charlotte Bronte, remembered for her iconic novel Jane Eyre, was one of the most significant literary figures of the 19th century. She was the eldest of the Bronte sisters who survived into adulthood. She and her sisters Emily and Anne wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.
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 8 Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berdychiv, Ukraine
Died: August 3, 1924

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer. Considered one of the greatest English-language novelists of all time, Conrad is credited with bringing a non-English sensibility into English-language literature. Many of his works have inspired several films, TV series, and video games. His anti-heroic characters and narrative style have influenced many authors like Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. S. Eliot.

 9 Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy
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Famous As: Novelist & Poet
Birthdate: June 2, 1840
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stinsford, Dorset, England
Died: January 11, 1928
Victorian novelist and poet Thomas Hardy exhibited strong influences of Romanticism in his works. He wrote classic novels such as Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. He mostly showed his characters struggling against social conditions and ending up in tragic situations.

 10 George Eliot

George Eliot
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Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1819
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: December 22, 1880

Mary Ann Evans, known by her pseudonym George Eliot, was an English poet, novelist, translator, and journalist. One of the most prominent writers of the Victorian era, Eliot's works are known for their psychological insight, realism, and detailed description of the countryside. Her novel Middlemarch was voted one of the greatest literary works in a 2007 poll conducted by Time.

 11 Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 30, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: December 19, 1848
Victorian novelist/poet Emily Brontë, also known as Ellis Bell, is best remembered for her iconic novel Wuthering Heights. Her book of poems, written with her sisters Charlotte and Anne, was titled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, highlighting their pseudonyms. She suffered from prolonged illness and died of tuberculosis.

 12 D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eastwood, England
Died: March 2, 1930

English writer, D. H. Lawrence, was known for exploring sensitive issues, such as sexuality, emotional health,  and instinct. In his works, he often reflected upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. The sexual nature of his writings earned him many enemies. Even though he died at the relatively young age of 44, he left behind a rich literary legacy.

 13 Henry James

Henry James
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 15, 1843
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 28, 1916

Henry James was an author, regarded as one of the greatest novelists ever to write in the English language. One of his novellas titled The Turn of the Screw has been the most analyzed ghost story in the history of English language literature. While his works have been adapted into films, he has been the subject of several other stories.

 14 E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marylebone
Died: June 7, 1970

Best known for his iconic novels Howard’s End and A Passage to India, British author E. M. Forster dealt with themes such as class division and gender. Born in England and educated at Cambridge, he had also spent some time as a secretary to Maharaja Tukojirao III of India.

 15 Sir James Matthew Barrie

Sir James Matthew Barrie
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
Died: June 19, 1937

Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scottish playwright and novelist. He is credited and remembered for creating the famous fictional character, Peter Pan. In the 1922 New Year Honours, Barrie was made a member of the Order of Merit. Before his death, he gifted the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children with the rights of his Peter Pan works.

 16 Gilbert K. Chesterton

Gilbert K. Chesterton
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 29, 1874
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kensington, England
Died: June 14, 1936

Gilbert K. Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and art critic. A prolific writer, he composed around 80 books, hundreds of poems, around 200 short stories, and 4,000 essays. Often referred to as the "prince of paradox", he had as many detractors as he had admirers. He is considered a successor to Victorian authors like Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin.

 17 P G Wodehouse

P G Wodehouse
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Famous As: Playwright and Author
Birthdate: October 15, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guildford, England
Died: February 14, 1975

 18 William Maugham

William Maugham
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Famous As: Novelist & Playwright
Birthdate: January 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 16, 1965

 19 Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 17, 1820
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: May 28, 1849

 20 William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray
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Famous As: Author & Novelist
Birthdate: July 18, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 24, 1863

 21 Robert Graves

Robert Graves
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Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: July 24, 1895
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wimbledon
Died: December 7, 1985

 22 J. B. Priestley

J. B. Priestley
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Famous As: Novelist and Playwright
Birthdate: September 13, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: August 14, 1984

 23 Vita Sackville-West

Vita Sackville-West
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 9, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Knole, Kent, England, UK
Died: June 2, 1962

 24 Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 24, 1815
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 6, 1882

 25 Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 29, 1810
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chelsea
Died: November 12, 1865

 26 Lady Caroline Lamb

Lady Caroline Lamb
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Famous As: Novelist, Aristocrat
Birthdate: November 13, 1785
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dorset, England
Died: January 25, 1828

 27 Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924

 28 George MacDonald

George MacDonald
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Famous As: Writer, Minister, Poet, Novelist, Cleric
Birthdate: December 10, 1824
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Huntly
Died: September 18, 1905

 29 H. Rider Haggard

H. Rider Haggard
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 22, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bradenham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Died: May 14, 1925

 30 Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire

Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 13, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Horringer, England
Died: March 30, 1824

 31 Grey Owl

Grey Owl
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: September 18, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hastings
Died: April 13, 1938

 32 Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 24, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Roseau, Dominica, British West Indies
Died: May 14, 1979

Born in Dominica, to a Welsh father and a Creole mother, Jean Rhys grew up to be a celebrated author. She soared to fame with her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, which was inspired by the tale of Jane Eyre’s “madwoman in the attic.” She died before completing her memoir.

 33 John Wyndham

John Wyndham
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Famous As: Fiction Writer
Birthdate: July 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dorridge, United Kingdom
Died: March 11, 1969

John Wyndham was an English writer best remembered for writing science fiction stories set in post-apocalyptic landscapes, such as The Day of the Triffids. His books have inspired other works of art like movies and radio. John Wyndham’s 1957 science fiction novel The Midwich Cuckoos was filmed twice under the title Village of the Damned.

 34 Ford Madox Ford

Ford Madox Ford
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 17, 1873
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Merton, Surrey, England
Died: June 26, 1939

Best remembered for his novel The Good Soldier, author Ford Madox Ford was the grandson of Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown. He had been part of World War I. He spent his final years in France and the US, mostly authoring criticism. The tetralogy Parade's End remains one of his best-known works.

 35 Robert W. Service

Robert W. Service
3
Famous As: Poet & Writer
Birthdate: January 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England
Died: September 11, 1958

Robert W. Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer. Popularly called "the Bard of the Yukon," he wrote some of the most commercially successful poetry of his era. A bank clerk by profession, he often wrote while traveling for work. Besides poetry, he also wrote fiction and non-fiction. He was often compared to English writer and novelist Rudyard Kipling. 

 36 Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Edward Bulwer-Lytton
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1873

 37 John Masefield

John Masefield
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ledbury, United Kingdom
Died: May 12, 1967

 38 E. Nesbit

E. Nesbit
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kennington, London, United Kingdom
Died: May 4, 1924

 39 Arthur Machen

Arthur Machen
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 3, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caerleon, Wales
Died: December 15, 1947

 40 Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 4, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Langar, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: June 18, 1902

 41 Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 12, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Died: October 7, 1943

 42 Violet Trefusis

Violet Trefusis
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Famous As: Socialite
Birthdate: June 6, 1894
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 29, 1972

 43 Wyndham Lewis

Wyndham Lewis
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Famous As: Painter, Writer, Journalist, Editor, Novelist
Birthdate: November 18, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amherst
Died: March 7, 1957

Known as one of the co-founders of Vorticism, a London-based art movement, author-painter Wyndham Lewis is best remembered for his books such as Tarr and The Apes of God. His paintings mingled features of Cubism and Futurism. In his later life, a pituitary tumor made him blind and practically ended his career.

 44 Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Children's writer
Birthdate: March 30, 1820
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Great Yarmouth
Died: April 25, 1878

 45 Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 3, 1878
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lambeth, Surrey, England
Died: April 9, 1917

Educated at Oxford, poet Edward Thomas spent a considerable time working rather reluctantly as a journalist and penning nature studies and critiques of 19th-century authors. An encounter with Robert Frost inspired him to write poems. He was killed in action in Arras, France, during World War I.

 46 Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
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Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: July 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1957

 47 W.W. Jacobs

W.W. Jacobs
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 8, 1863
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 1, 1943

 48 Elinor Glyn

Elinor Glyn
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Famous As: Actor, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 17, 1864
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Helier
Died: September 23, 1943

 49 Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Children's writer
Birthdate: March 8, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: July 6, 1932

 50 L.P. Hartley

L.P. Hartley
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 30, 1895
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Whittlesey, England
Died: December 13, 1972