The 25 influential writers meme

I saw this over at Reassigned Time and thought it would be fun to do here. The instructions are to “name 25 writers who have influenced you. These are not necessarily your favorite writers or those you most admire, but writers who have influenced you. Then you tag 25 people.” I won’t be tagging 25 people, so if you want to do this, please do! I’m going to list names roughly chronologically (following my life).

  1. Authors of the Bible
  2. Laura Ingalls Wilder
  3. Maud Hart Lovelace
  4. Lucy Maud Montgomery
  5. Louisa May Alcott
  6. Jane Austen
  7. Charles Dickens
  8. George Eliot
  9. Virginia Woolf
  10. Mary Shelley
  11. Flannery O’Connor
  12. Michel de Montaigne
  13. Fyodor Dostoyevky
  14. Mary McCarthy
  15. Samuel Richardson
  16. Laurence Sterne
  17. Henry Fielding
  18. Sarah Fielding
  19. Mary Wollstonecraft
  20. Olaudah Equiano
  21. Dorothy Wordsworth
  22. Nicholson Baker
  23. David Foster Wallace
  24. Jenny Diski
  25. Janet Malcolm

#1-5 are about my childhood, pretty clearly, and then I read a lot of #6-8 in high school, which formed my taste for the Victorian novel (and the novel itself — this list is very novel-heavy).  #9-14 were college discoveries, and you can see the turn to the eighteenth-century I took in grad school in #15-21.  I could easily have added more authors here, including Boswell and Johnson. After that, I tried to think of authors I’ve been most excited about over the last few years; these ones I could possibly change up a bit, depending on my mood. The last few reflect my increasing enjoyment of nonfiction, which is why I like their presence there. I could also put Philip Lopate on the list, not because his writing has influenced me, but because the book he edited, The Art of the Personal Essay, has been so important.

It’s a pretty canonical list, isn’t it? But I suppose at heart I’m a pretty canonical kind of reader. Maybe it’s also true that people’s reading is often from the canon when they’re younger (at least English major types) and branches out afterward.  I haven’t read all of the canon, by any means, but I’ve read enough to feel that I’m ready to branch out more.

Anyone else want to try this?


Filed under Books, Lists, Memes, Reading

13 responses to “The 25 influential writers meme

  1. Your idea to list these chronologically – meaning, your chronology – is excellent. There’s a lot of information there.


  2. Very interesting! And a fun thing to do. I can recognise a certain cool, classical bent to your writing, Dorothy, that’s reflected in your special authors,


  3. Pingback: Influential Authors « Tales from the Reading Room

  4. What a fun list! I think I might have to do this too. I like that you did it in your life’s chronology. It is neat to see the recent authors especially and remember blog posts you have done about them.


  5. Your list has challenged me to come up with one of my own. I don’t know if I’ll post it when it’s completed (it will be very eclectic!), but it’s been fun looking at the bookcases and remembering classroom favorites.


  6. What an interesting list–it really fits you–at least your ‘blog persona’ (how I know you). There’s not one author there that I would find surprising in thinking of your writing style and blog posts!


  7. Pingback: Influential Writers « The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

  8. Pingback: Writers Who Have Influenced Me Meme « So Many Books

  9. verbivore

    This is great, and I agree with AMateur Reader, you’ve chosen a wonderfully logical way of listing them. Makes them meaningful in a developmental way.


  10. Oh, how could I POSSIBLY resist this one? I see yours and my list will vary greatly, and you have, of course, added to my list of TBR authors (then again, most of those I haven’t read are already on it due to your blog).


  11. Amateur Reader — thanks; it was certainly interesting to put the list together and think over what my reading life has been like. I think it’s a good exercise for any reader.

    Litlove — I’m glad you did this meme too! It’s interesting to get a sense of who people are through their lists, and I like that you used the words “cool” and “classical” to describe mine!

    Stefanie — your list was fun to read too! I’m curious what it will be like to look at the list, say, ten years from now and to see if I would want to change any of the names. Wouldn’t that be an interesting exercise?

    Debby — I’d love to see your list if you decide to post it! But if not, that’s fine; I just glad it inspired you to think of what you might put on your list. And I think eclectic is good!

    Danielle — well, thank you! It’s pleased to think that the list suits me in any way 🙂

    Verbivore — the person I got the meme from had done it chronologically, and I thought that was too good an idea to pass up. It does give an interesting picture of a person’s life, I agree.

    Emily — I’m very glad to see you have done this too! It IS impossible to resist 🙂


  12. How wonderful that you had a childhood reading the Bible. I’m a bit jealous, I got to read a little of it as a child, but not so much; it was not an encouraged practice.

    This meme has me pondering a lot of books I read as a youth. Perhaps, I will have to take a stab at it.


  13. ted

    I like this one. I’m stealing it or, that is, joining in!


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