Literary Critics

Literary critics are people who critique a book or novel. Their intellectually stimulating review of a book is eagerly awaited by avid readers and help them make their mind whether to read a particular book or not. Here is a list of famous literary critics from all over the world. The list contains well-known literary critics, such as Charles Du Bos, Evelyn Waugh, Theodor W. Adorno, George Plimpton and many more.

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 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood.
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Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 2 T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot.
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Famous As: Poet, Essayist, Playwright
Birthdate: September 26, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: January 4, 1965
American-born British poet T. S. Eliot is best remembered for his poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and Ash Wednesday, and his plays such as Murder in the Cathedral. He won the Nobel Prize for literature and became a prominent figure of Modernist poetry.  
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 3 Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 21, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: January 22, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American author. In a career spanning almost six decades, Ursula wrote about political and social themes like race and sexuality. Throughout her career, Ursula had a major influence on speculative fiction. Her book A Wizard of Earthsea is credited with inspiring ideas like 'wizard school', which was later popularized in the Harry Potter series.

 4 Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: West Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 10, 1966

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English author, known for his novels, biographies, and travelogues. Hailed as the most brilliant satirical novelist of his day, he wrote mostly satires before WWII. But during the war, his writings took a serious turn; he published Brideshead Revisited in 1945, a book that continues to appear on the best books list till now.

 5 Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr..
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, historian, professor, filmmaker, and public intellectual. He is currently serving as the director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Over the years Gates has been honored with several prestigious awards including the National Humanities Medal. In 1997, he was named in Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans list.

 6 Andre Aciman

Andre Aciman
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 2, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt

 7 George Plimpton

George Plimpton
4
Famous As: Journalists
Birthdate: March 18, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: September 26, 2003
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 8 McCaughey septuplets

McCaughey septuplets
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 9 Stanisław Lem

Stanisław Lem
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

 10 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 11 William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 23, 1849
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gloucester, England
Died: July 11, 1903

 12 Georg Simmel

Georg Simmel
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: March 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26, 1918

 13 Samuel R. Delany

Samuel R. Delany
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City New York, New York, US

Known for his science-fiction novels such as Dhalgren, Babel-17, and the Nèverÿon series, author Samuel R. Delany often touches upon themes of sex, race, and language. A descendant of civil rights activists, he dropped out of college to write. Though gay, he was once married to lesbian poet Marilyn Hacker.

 14 Johann Gottfried Herder

Johann Gottfried Herder
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morąg, Poland
Died: December 18, 1803

German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder is best remembered as a significant figure of the Sturm und Drang literary movement. Born into poverty and largely self-educated till 17, he later became a disciple of Immanuel Kant and was associated with Enlightenment and Weimar Classicism. He was eventually ennobled.

 15 Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton
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Famous As: Literary critic
Birthdate: February 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Borough of Salford Salford, England

English literary theorist and critic Terry Eagleton, presently serving as Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, is a prominent critic of postmodernism and the New Atheism. His oeuvre includes over forty books among which Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), which describes the emerging literary theory of the period, is considered to be one of his most notable works.   

 16 Lytton Strachey

Lytton Strachey
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 1, 1880
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 21, 1932

English biographer Lytton Strachey is best remembered for his masterpiece Eminent Victorians, which looks at the lives of Victorian figures such as Florence Nightingale and Thomas Arnold, using tools such as irony and paradox. He had also penned an award-winning biography of Queen Victoria. His short biographies discarded irrelevant details.

 17 Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: East Acton, West (London sub region) London, England, United Kingdom

English author and critic Peter Ackroyd is mostly known for his novels that depict the history of London. The Cambridge and Yale alumnus had initially worked at The Spectator. Apart from writing award-winning novels such as Hawksmoor, he has also penned biographies of T.S. Eliot and Dickens, among others.

 18 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

 19 Bruno Schulz

Bruno Schulz
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 12, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Drohobych, Ukraine
Died: November 19, 1942

One of the best Polish authors of the 20th century, Bruno Schulz is remembered for his iconic works such as The Cinnamon Shops, a collection of short stories that had a Kafkaesque style. He was shot dead by a Nazi officer while returning home with a loaf of bread.

 20 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.
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Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: February 24, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ballygunge, Kolkata, India

 21 Northrop Frye

Northrop Frye
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Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Educationist, Cleric, Poet, Literary critic
Birthdate: July 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sherbrooke
Died: January 23, 1991

Considered one of the most important literary theorists of the century, Herman Northrop Fry gained international fame with his first book, Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake and later with Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Prolific writer and respected educator, he went on to write many more, concurrently championing Canadian literature and identity, receiving several honors for his contributions.

 22 Ernest Renan

Ernest Renan
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 27, 1823
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tréguier, France
Died: October 2, 1892

Ernest Renan was a French Semitic and Orientalist scholar. A multi-talented personality, Renan was also an expert of Semitic civilizations and languages, philologist, philosopher, historian of religion, critic, and biblical scholar. Ernest Renan is credited with writing pioneering and influential works on the origins of Christianity. Ernest Renan is also credited with writing the extremely popular book, Life of Jesus.

 23 I. A. Richards

I. A. Richards
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: February 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sandbach, England
Died: September 7, 1979

 24 F.R. Leavis

F.R. Leavis
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Famous As: Literature Critic
Birthdate: July 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: April 14, 1978

 25 Boris Vian

Boris Vian
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 10, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ville-d'Avray, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died: June 23, 1959

 26 George Steiner

George Steiner
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Famous As: Philosopher, Novelist, Writer, University teacher, Literary critic, Journalist
Birthdate: April 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris

 27 Walter Pater

Walter Pater
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Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: August 4, 1839
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stepney, London, England
Died: July 30, 1894

Nineteenth-century critic and essayist Walter Pater redefined aestheticism with his idea of "art for art’s sake." Though initially interested in a church career, he later studied classics and began writing reviews on Renaissance art. Marius the Epicurean remains his most notable work. Some of his works reveal his homosexuality.

 28 Charles Maurras

Charles Maurras
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 20, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Martigues, France
Died: November 16, 1952

 29 Elaine Showalter

Elaine Showalter
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Famous As: Literary critic
Birthdate: January 21, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

 30 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
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Famous As: Academic Scholar
Birthdate: May 2, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Died: April 12, 2009

 31 Tzvetan Todorov

Tzvetan Todorov
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
Died: February 7, 2017

Tzvetan Todorov was a Bulgarian-French historian, philosopher, literary critic, and sociologist. He completed his doctorat ès lettres at the University of Paris and had a brilliant academic career. He helped to found the journal Poétique and served as one of its managing editors. He authored many books, including Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. 

 32 Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish
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Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: April 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States

 33 Max Jacob

Max Jacob
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: March 5, 1944

 34 William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 1, 1837
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Martins Ferry, Ohio, U.S.
Died: May 11, 1920

 35 Donald Hall

Donald Hall
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hamden, Connecticut, United States
Died: June 23, 2018

 36 George Henry Lewes

George Henry Lewes
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 18, 1817
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 30, 1878

 37 Margaret Forster

Margaret Forster
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Carlisle, England
Died: February 8, 2016

English author and freelance critic Margaret Forster is best remembered for her bestselling novel Georgy Girl, which was made into a film later. She also penned biographies and contributed to BBC Radio 4 programs. She had also been a Booker Prize judge but mostly remained away from book-signing events.

 38 Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
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Famous As: Critic
Birthdate: November 24, 1808
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1890

 39 François Mauriac

François Mauriac
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: September 1, 1970

 40 Sir Leslie Stephen

Sir Leslie Stephen
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 28, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kensington Gore, London, United Kingdom
Died: February 22, 1904

Sir Leslie Stephen was an English historian, biographer, author, critic, and mountaineer. Leslie Stephen also took an active part in the organized humanist movement, serving as the president of the West London Ethical Society on multiple occasions. He was the father of famous author, Virginia Woolf, and painter, Vanessa Bell.

 41 Paul Fussell

Paul Fussell
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 22, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
Died: May 23, 2012

Literary historian Paul Fussell had been part of the infantry in World War II. He had also taught at various institutes, such as Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania. Best known for his books such as The Great War and Modern Memory, he was a World War expert.

 42 Rufus Wilmot Griswold

Rufus Wilmot Griswold
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Famous As: Journalist, Writer, Literary critic, Poet
Birthdate: February 13, 1815
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Benson
Died: August 27, 1857

 43 Nikolay Chernyshevsky

Nikolay Chernyshevsky
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Famous As: Critic
Birthdate: July 24, 1828
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saratov, Russia
Died: October 29, 1889

 44 Viktor Shklovsky

Viktor Shklovsky
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 24, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 6, 1984

 45 M. H. Abrams

M. H. Abrams
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Famous As: Literary Critic
Birthdate: July 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Long Branch, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 21, 2015

 46 James Blish

James Blish
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: May 23, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: East Orange, New Jersey
Died: July 30, 1975

 47 Frederic Beigbeder

Frederic Beigbeder
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

 48 Felix Salten

Felix Salten
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 6, 1869
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pest, Budapest, Hungary
Died: October 8, 1945

Best known for penning the children’s classic Bambi, Felix Salten was forced to flee Vienna during the Nazi regime and eventually settled in Switzerland. His books were banned in Austria after Germany annexed the country, but that didn’t dent his popularity as an author. He was a skilled hunter, too.

 49 Nicolae Iorga

Nicolae Iorga
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 17, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Botoșani, Romania
Died: November 27, 1940

 50 Herbert Read

Herbert Read
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Famous As: Art Historian
Birthdate: December 4, 1893
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Muscoates, England
Died: June 12, 1968
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