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.

Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century British Novelists

 1 
Jane Austen
(Novelist)

Jane Austen
10
Birthdate: December 16, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hampshire, England
Died: July 18, 1817

Considered one of the greatest writers in English history, Jane Austen is best known for her six major novels - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Her writing was set among the British landed gentry and dealt with ordinary people in everyday ordinary situation. The author achieved great fame after her death. 

 2 
Mary Shelley
(Novelist)

Mary Shelley
6
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 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(British Writer Who Created the Character of Sherlock Holmes)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4
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.
Recommended Lists:

 4 
Rudyard Kipling
(Journalist, Poet & Novelist)

Rudyard Kipling
6
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.

 5 
H. G. Wells
(Writer)

H. G. Wells
4
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
(English Author Best Known for His Works: ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ & Its Sequel ‘Through the Looking-Glass’)

Lewis Carroll
4
Birthdate: January 27, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
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
6
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.
You May Like

 8 
Joseph Conrad
(Known for Short Stories and Novels Like Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness and the Secret Agent)

Joseph Conrad
4
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
(Novelist & Poet)

Thomas Hardy
4
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
(Poet & Novelist)

George Eliot
4
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
(Novelist)

Emily Brontë
5
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
4
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
(Writer)

Henry James
4
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
4
Birthdate: January 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England
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 
Charles Dickens
(The Greatest Novelist of the Victorian Era)

Charles Dickens
5
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.

 16 
Gilbert K. Chesterton
(One of the Greatest Writers of the 20th Century Best Known as the 'Prince of Paradox')

Gilbert K. Chesterton
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1874
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kensington, London, United Kingdom
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
5
Birthdate: October 15, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guildford, England
Died: February 14, 1975

 18 
Anne Brontë
(Writer)

Anne Brontë
6
Birthdate: January 17, 1820
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: May 28, 1849

 19 
J. B. Priestley
(Novelist and Playwright)

J. B. Priestley
4
Birthdate: September 13, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: August 14, 1984

 20 

Anthony Trollope
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1815
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 6, 1882

 21 

Elizabeth Gaskell
3
Birthdate: September 29, 1810
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chelsea, England
Died: November 12, 1865

 22 
Lady Caroline Lamb
(Novelist, Aristocrat)

Lady Caroline Lamb
4
Birthdate: November 13, 1785
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dorset, England
Died: January 25, 1828

Better known as one of Lord Byron’s lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb met a 24-year-old Byron when she was 26, married, and has an autistic son with her husband, future British prime minister William Lamb. An author, too, she is known for her anonymously published Gothic novel Glenarvon.

 23 

Frances Hodgson Burnett
4
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924

 24 
John Galsworthy
(Novelist)

John Galsworthy
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames, England
Died: January 31, 1933

 25 

H. Rider Haggard
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bradenham, England
Died: May 14, 1925

 26 
George MacDonald
(Writer, Minister, Poet, Novelist, Cleric)

George MacDonald
3
Birthdate: December 10, 1824
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Huntly
Died: September 18, 1905

 27 
John Wyndham
(Fiction Writer)

John Wyndham
3
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.

 28 

Vita Sackville-West
4
Birthdate: March 9, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Knole, Kent, England, UK
Died: June 2, 1962

 29 
Grey Owl
(Writer, Novelist)

Grey Owl
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hastings
Died: April 13, 1938

 30 
Edgar Wallace
(Multi-genre writer who is most famous for King Kong and the J. G. Reeder detective series)

Edgar Wallace
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Greenwich, Kent, England, united Kingdom
Died: February 10, 1932

 31 
William Maugham
(Novelist & Playwright)

William Maugham
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 15, 1965

 32 
Ford Madox Ford
(Novelist)

Ford Madox Ford
3
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.

 33 
Robert W. Service
(Poet & Writer)

Robert W. Service
3
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. 

 34 

John Masefield
3
Birthdate: June 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ledbury, United Kingdom
Died: May 12, 1967

 35 

Edward Bulwer-Lytton
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1873

 36 
William Makepeace Thackeray
(Author & Novelist)

William Makepeace Thackeray
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 24, 1863

 37 

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

Welsh writer Arthur Machen was a master of science-fiction and horror. He soared to fame with his novella The Great God Pan, which later achieved cult status. However, in spite of his literary fame, he continued to live in poverty, working as a journalist, a clerk, and a teacher.

Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
3
Birthdate: May 13, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Horringer, England
Died: March 30, 1824

 39 
Samuel Butler
(Novelist)

Samuel Butler
3
Birthdate: December 4, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Langar, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: June 18, 1902

 40 

Edward Thomas
4
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.

 41 

Radclyffe Hall
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Died: October 7, 1943

 42 
Wyndham Lewis
(Painter, Writer, Journalist, Editor, Novelist)

Wyndham Lewis
3
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.

 43 
Anna Sewell
(Writer, Novelist, Children's writer)

Anna Sewell
4
Birthdate: March 30, 1820
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Great Yarmouth
Died: April 25, 1878

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1957

Edward Plunkett was a talented Irish author, known for his fantasy novels such as The King of Elfland's Daughter. Initially educated at Eton and then at Sandhurst, he had also been part of the British Army in World War I. He also designed chess puzzles and was a keen hunter.

 45 
E. Nesbit
(Author)

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

 46 
Frances Burney
(Novelist)

Frances Burney
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1752
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: King’s Lynn, England
Died: January 6, 1840

 47 
Elinor Glyn
(Former novelist and scriptwriter who specialised in romantic fiction, which was considered scandalous for its time, although her works are relatively tame by modern standards)

Elinor Glyn
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1864
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Helier, Jersey
Died: September 23, 1943

 48 
Kenneth Grahame
(Writer, Novelist, Children's writer)

Kenneth Grahame
3
Birthdate: March 8, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: July 6, 1932

 49 
George Gissing
(Novelist)

George Gissing
3
Birthdate: November 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wakefield, England
Died: December 28, 1903

English novelist George Gissing is known for the way he showcased the realism of the lower-middle class in his works such as The Nether World. In spite of being a brilliant student, he was expelled from Owens College for theft. He specialized in the literary study of Charles Dickens and his works.

 50 
George Meredith
(Novelist)

George Meredith
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Died: May 18, 1909