Poets

What do William Wordsworth, Charles Wright and W. B. Yeats have in common? The answer is that they were all world famous poets whose poems are still studied as a part of literature. Poets have often been described as people who step outside the bounds of the obvious and produce aesthetic and, in some cases, even rhythmic works that are meant to take the reader on a fanciful journey through the poet’s words. Poems have been a part of literature forever and it is believed that the earliest poems evolved from folk songs. A poem usually has certain characters that define it, some of which are things like the rhyme scheme, symbolism, rhetoric, rhythm and even irony. This form of literature has also been used to tell stories, the best example of which the two poems Iliad and The Odyssey, written by Homer, are the best examples. Having familiarized ourselves with poems, it’s only natural that we move onto better acquainting ourselves with the people who wrote them. To that end, what follows now is a collection of the biographies of some of the most famous poets. They include their timelines, information about their professional and personal lives along with interesting facts and trivia about them.

 1 William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: April 23, 1616

English playwright, poet, and actor William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He is also often called England's national poet. Many of his works have been translated into other languages and his plays continue to be produced till day. Popular during his lifetime, he acquired an iconic status after his death.

 2 Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 13, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: November 23, 1990

British writer, Roald Dahl, is considered as one of the greatest children’s authors. He is one of the best-selling authors of all-time and had a career spanning decades. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, The Twits and Matilda are some of his classic works. He also wrote short stories and novels meant for adults.

 3 J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, South African
Died: September 2, 1973

Considered one of the greatest authors, JRR Tolkien is popularly called the father of the modern fantasy literature. He is best known for his high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which is set in a conceived world called the Middle-Earth. Many years after his death, Tolkien continues to be one of the best-selling writers.

 4 Louise Glück

Louise Glück
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 5 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 6 Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 19, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: October 7, 1849

American writer Edgar Allan Poe is regarded as the architect of modern short story, the inventor of the detective-fiction genre and a major contributor towards science fiction genre. The influential writer is recognised for his tales of mystery and macabre. His notable works include The Raven (poem), The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher (short stories).

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 7 Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: October 16, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Irish
Died: November 30, 1900

Widely regarded as one of the most popular writers of all time, Oscar Wilde is best remembered for his plays and epigrams. He was also one of the best-known personalities during his time as he was popular for his conversational skills, flamboyant dressing sense, and biting wit. Imprisoned in 1895 for consensual homosexual acts, Oscar Wilde was pardoned posthumously in 2017.

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 8 Soumitra Chatterjee

Soumitra Chatterjee
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Indian, British Indian Ocean Territory
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 9 Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: July 3, 1971

Considered the prototypical rock star, Jim Morrison remains one of the most influential singer-songwriters, almost five decades after his death. Jim influenced the counterculture of the 1960s as he embodied the hippie counterculture rebellion. Due to his erratic performances and wild personality, he is regarded as one of the most iconic frontmen in rock history.

 10 Jewel

Jewel
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: May 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 11 Charles Salvador

Charles Salvador
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Famous As: Poet, Autobiographer, Boxer
Birthdate: December 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

 12 Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley
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Famous As: Occultist
Birthdate: October 12, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: December 1, 1947

Aleister Crowley was an occultist, writer, and ceremonial magician. He is credited with founding a religion called Thelema and promised his followers with guiding them into the Aeon of Horus, a time of self-realization. More than seven decades after his death, Crowley remains influential among those who revere counterculture and Western esotericism and is considered a prophet in Thelema.

 13 Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Canadian
Died: November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen was one of the most popular Canadian celebrities of all time. After starting his career as a poet and novelist, Leonard went on to become a famous singer-songwriter, exploring themes like sexuality, religion, depression, and romantic relationships in his work. Leonard Cohen was one of the inspirations for Steven Clark and Matthew Bissonnette's 2002 film Looking for Leonard.

 14 Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu
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Famous As: Poet and Freedom Fighter
Birthdate: February 13, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: March 2, 1949

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and political activist. An important figure in the Indian Independence Movement, she was a proponent of anti-imperialistic ideas, women's rights, and civil rights. Her illustrious career as a poet earned her the nickname Nightingale of India. After India became independent, she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

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 15 L. Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard
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Famous As: Officer, Novelist, Musician, Writer, Screenwriter, Poet, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: March 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: January 24, 1986

 16 Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath
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Famous As: Poet, Novelist, and Writer
Birthdate: October 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath was an American short-story writer, novelist, and poet. Plath is credited with popularizing confessional poetry and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Sylvia Plath achieved popularity and critical acclaim despite suffering from clinical depression for the most part of her adult life. Her story inspired the 2003 film Sylvia in which she was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

 17 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.

 18 Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 14, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Japanese
Died: November 25, 1970

Japanese author, poet, and playwright Yukio Mishima is counted amongst the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His best-known works feature a fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles. He was the founder of the Tatenokai, an unarmed private militia dedicated to traditional Japanese values. He was considered controversial due to his political activities. 

 19 Amber Tamblyn

Amber Tamblyn
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 20 Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 10, 1830
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 15, 1886
Victorian-era poet Emily Dickinson apparently wrote around 1800 poems, mostly revolving around themes such as death and immortality. However, she was a recluse, dressed up in white, and mostly interacted with people through correspondence. Her poems were mostly without titles and had short lines, slant rhyme, and unconventional punctuation.

 21 Nagarjun

Nagarjun
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Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: June 30, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Indian
Died: November 5, 1998

 22 Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling
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Famous As: Author & Poet
Birthdate: December 30, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
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.

 23 Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: November 22, 1963

English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley wrote countless books, including novels, short stories, non-fiction, and poems. He is best remembered for his science-fiction novels Brave New World and Island. The seven-time Nobel Prize nominee was also a Companion of Literature of the Royal Society of Literature and a Vedanta believer.

 24 Voltaire

Voltaire
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 21, 1694
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: May 30, 1778
18th-century historian, author, philosopher, and advocate of freedom of speech Voltaire was a leading figure of the French Age of Enlightenment. He often ran into trouble for his criticism of the French nobility and the Roman Catholic Church. He once went to Britain on voluntary exile, fearing imprisonment in France.

 25 Rumi

Rumi
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Famous As: Great Poet
Birthdate: September 30, 1207
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Afghan, Turkish
Died: December 17, 1273

Rumi was a Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose spiritual legacy has been attracting praises for the past 800 years! Often described as the best-selling and most popular poet in the US, Rumi's poems are widely read today in many countries. His poetry has influenced the literary traditions of many languages, such as Pashto, Urdu, Chagatai, and Ottoman Turkish.

 26 William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 7, 1770
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: April 23, 1850

English poet William Wordsworth, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, released Lyrical Ballads in 1798, which set the tone for the Romantic Age of English Literature. Wordsworth was known for his poems I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, The Prelude, and The Solitary Reaper. He also served as the Poet Laureate.

 27 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
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Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 28 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emersion
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Famous As: American Lecturer, Philosopher, Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: April 27, 1882

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher who led the transcendentalist movement that developed in the eastern United States in the 1820s and 1830s. He is credited with popularizing individualism through his numerous lectures and essays. Emerson influenced many thinkers and writers that followed him; he mentored Henry David Thoreau, who went on to become a leading transcendentalist.

 29 Lord Byron

Lord Byron
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Famous As: Poet, Politician
Birthdate: January 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 19, 1824

Widely considered one of the greatest British poets of all time, Lord Byron remains influential as his works are widely read even today. He was also one of the most important personalities of the Romantic Movement. He is also known for his role in the Greek War of Independence, for which the Greeks consider him a national hero.

 30 Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 31 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
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Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Canadian

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.

 32 Homer

Homer
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Famous As: Greek author
Birthdate: 0800 BC
Nationality: Greek
Died: 0701 BC
Homer, a legendary poet from the 8th century B.C., authored the Greek epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. However, the Homeric Question raises doubts regarding the existence of the poet. Some assume the epics were written by a single blind bard, while others believe they were created by multiple authors.

 33 Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 3, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: April 5, 1997
Allen Ginsberg, a Beat Generation poet, is best remembered for his 1956 poem Howl, which criticized U.S. capitalism and described homosexual acts, and was thus banned. He earned the National Book Award for The Fall of America and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986–1992.

 34 P B Shelley

P B Shelley
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: July 8, 1822

 35 Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley
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Famous As: Linguist, Poet, Translator, Writer, Playwright, Novelist, Author
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: July 8, 1822

 36 Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 16, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German, American
Died: March 9, 1994

German-American poet and short story writer ,Charles Bukowski, addressed the ordinary lives of poor Americans in most of his works. Since his death, he has been the subject of many critical books and articles. His stories have inspired several films like Tales of Ordinary Madness, Crazy Love, and Factotum.

 37 T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 26, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.  

 38 William Blake

William Blake
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Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: August 12, 1827
William Blake, author of The Songs of Innocence and of Experience, was a prominent figure of the early phase of the Romantic Age, known as the pre-Romantic era. Known for his visual artistry and poetry, he was also a staunch abolitionist and a forerunner of the "free love" movement.

 39 Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 30, 1265
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: September 14, 1321

Dante Alighieri was an Italian writer, poet, and philosopher. His work Divine Comedy is widely regarded as the greatest literary work ever produced in the Italian language and the most prominent poem of the Middle Ages. Often referred to as the father of the Italian language, Dante Alighieri played a crucial role in establishing the Italian literature.

 40 Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
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Famous As: Poet & humanist
Birthdate: May 31, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: March 26, 1892

Walt Whitman was an American poet, journalist, and essayist. Also a humanist, Whitman played a crucial role in the shift between transcendentalism and realism. Often referred to as the father of free verse, Whitman is one of the most influential American poets of all time. Several decades after his death, Walt Whitman's poetry remains influential.

 41 Robert Frost

Robert Frost
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 26, 1874
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: January 29, 1963

Robert Frost was an American poet. An influential poet, Frost was honored with four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry, the only poet to receive four such awards. One of America's public literary figures, Robert Frost received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. His works influenced other poets like Robert Francis, James Wright, Edward Thomas, Richard Wilbur, and Seamus Heaney.

 42 Keren Peles

Keren Peles
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Israeli

 43 Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo
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Famous As: Author & Poet
Birthdate: February 26, 1802
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: May 22, 1885

Victor Hugo was a French poet, dramatist, and novelist of the Romantic movement. Regarded as one of the best-known and greatest French writers of all time, Victor Hugo wrote abundantly during his career that spanned over six decades. Thanks to his works, such as Hernani and Cromwell, Victor Hugo was one of the leading figures of the Romantic literary movement.

 44 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Ghanaian, British

 45 Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammad Iqbal
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Famous As: Poet & Philosopher
Birthdate: November 9, 1877
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Pakistani
Died: April 21, 1938

Muhammad Iqbal was a Scholar, poet, and politician. Born in British India (present-day Pakistan), Iqbal's poetry in Persian and Urdu languages is regarded as one of the greatest of the modern era. Also an influential politician, Muhammad Iqbal's vision of an independent Muslim state helped inspire the creation of Pakistan where he is recognized as the national poet.

 46 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 28, 1749
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: March 22, 1832

Regarded as the greatest literary figure in Germany's modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a statesman and writer. Apart from writing poetry and prose, he also wrote treatises on color, anatomy, and botany. Thanks to his literary genius, Goethe was made part of the Duke's privy council in Weimar and he implemented several reforms at the University of Jena.

 47 Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: March 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: October 21, 1969
Jack Kerouac is remembered as a prominent figure of the Beat Generation. His works, consisting of several novels and poems, with their focus on spirituality, drugs, travel, sex, and jazz, paved the way for the hippie movement. He is best known for his pathbreaking novel On the Road

 48 Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1343 AD
Nationality: British
Died: October 25, 1400

Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author and poet. He is best known for his collection of 24 stories titled The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer is widely regarded as the greatest British poet of the Middle Ages and is often referred to as the father of English poetry. He is also credited with helping legitimize the literary use of Middle English.

 49 James Joyce

James Joyce
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Irish
Died: January 13, 1941

James Joyce was an Irish novelist, poet, teacher, short story writer, and literary critic. Widely considered one of the 20th century's most important and influential writers, James Joyce contributed immensely to the modernist avant-garde movement. Joyce's work has influenced several scholars and writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Flann O'Brien, John Updike, and Cormac McCarthy.

 50 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Scottish
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

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