American literature & African-American writers-Important Writers for UGC NET English (June 2024)

In the realm of English studies, American literature is important, especially for those getting ready for the UGC NET English exam. It offers priceless insights into the country’s social, cultural, and historical features. Numerous literary movements, genres, and themes are represented in American literature. Knowledge of the writings of significant American authors is crucial for success in the UGC NET English exam. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and Mark Twain are just a few of the authors who have significantly influenced American literature. Examining their works advances knowledge of the topic and facilitates efficient text analysis and interpretation. Since American literature is heavily emphasised in the UGC NET English syllabus, it is important for candidates to extensively research this illustrious literary heritage.

American literature-Important Writers for UGC NET English- Ugc Net English Syllabus

1. Fredric Douglass

Frederick Douglass is a well-known historical person in America, known for his incredible rise from slavery to prominence as an abolitionist, author, and speaker. Frederick Douglass, an American slave, was born into bondage but overcame it to write his compelling life story in his classic autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” His compelling story helped the abolitionist effort by shedding light on the cruel reality of slavery. African Americans needed equal rights, education, and freedom, and Douglass relentlessly fought for them. He captivated audiences with his impassioned lectures, such as the well-known one titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” His significant influence on American literature and the civil rights movement continues to serve as an inspirational model for people of all ages.

2. Harriet Beecher Stowe

Important American author Harriet Beecher Stowe is significant to the topic of American literature, especially for UGC NET English candidates. The abolitionist movement was sparked by Stowe’s powerful book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which exposed the brutal realities of slavery. Her deft storytelling and sympathetic portrayal of characters who were slaves questioned social standards and had a big impact on how people felt about slavery. Stowe left a lasting legacy in American literature with her works, which were a reflection of her unrelenting commitment to social justice and human rights. For UGC NET English aspirants to examine the topics of slavery, race, and social reform prevalent in American literary heritage, a thorough comprehension of Stowe’s writings is necessary.

3. Herman Melville

An important figure in American literature, especially for candidates for the UGC NET in English, is Herman Melville. The most well-known work of Melville is “Moby-Dick,” his magnum opus, a complex book that explores themes of obsession, destiny, and the human condition. His writing transcended the rules of traditional narrative, captivating readers with its philosophical investigation of the human mind and symbolic complexity. Additionally, Melville’s other well-known books, such “Billy Budd, Sailor” and “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” demonstrate his mastery of reflective tales. Melville’s contributions are crucial for UGC NET English aspirants who want to analyse and appreciate the rich complexity of American literature because of his distinctive writing style and in-depth study of human nature.

4. William Cullen Bryant

An important figure in American literature, particularly for candidates for the UGC NET in English, is William Cullen Bryant. Bryant is best known for his poetry, which captures his great love of the natural world and his meditation on philosophical subjects. One of his best-known compositions is “Thanatopsis,” a poem that explores life’s cycle and mortality. Romanticism and transcendentalism are both present in Bryant’s poetry style, which emphasises the exquisite beauty of the natural world. For UGC NET English aspirants who want to investigate the fundamental relationship between nature, humanity, and the human spirit within the context of American literary tradition, his contributions to American literature, which are characterised by introspection and reflection, are crucial.

5. Walt Whitman

Particularly for UGC NET English applicants, Walt Whitman, a legendary figure in American literature, maintains a major place in the world of poetry. Whitman’s well-known poem “Leaves of Grass,” with its unique free verse style and exaltation of democracy, individualism, and the beauty of ordinary life, brought about a revolutionary change in poetry. His poetry confronted the social standards of his day by delving deeply into subjects of human existence, sexuality, and spirituality. Whitman’s inventive linguistic use and his respect for the average person had a profound effect on American literature. To understand Whitman’s poetic vision, his profound connection to the human experience, and his substantial contributions to the American literary heritage, UGC NET English candidates should read through some of his works.

6. Washington Irving

Washington Irving, a well-known American author, is a key figure in American literature, especially for candidates for the UGC NET in English. Irving is well known for his superb narrative skills and significant contributions to the growth of the American literary heritage. His well-known pieces, like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” have become classic stories that enthral readers of all ages. Irving’s distinctive writing style, which combines humour, wit, and detailed descriptions, carries readers away to fantastical settings and bygone ages. For UGC NET English applicants who want to understand Irving’s literary talent and his enduring influence on American literature, exploring his works is crucial.

7. Henry David Thoreau

For UGC NET English applicants in particular, the American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau has a prominent place in American literature. Thoreau is well known for his well-known book, “Walden,” which details his two years of solitary confinement in the woods and reflects his transcendentalist ideals. His emphasis on self-sufficiency, communion with nature, and simplicity had a significant influence on American literature and environmental thought. In addition to promoting personal conscience and opposition to unjust laws, Thoreau’s articles, such as “Civil Disobedience,” made political and societal contributions. Candidates for the UGC NET in English should read Thoreau’s works to understand his profound insights, his close relationship with nature, and his enduring impact on American literature and philosophy.

8. Ralph Waldo Emerson

In particular for UGC NET English students, eminent American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson holds a treasured place in American literature. Emerson is well known for his essays, with “Self-Reliance” standing out as an important piece that examines the ideas of uniqueness, intuition, and the strength of self-trust. Emerson, a significant contributor in the transcendentalist movement, emphasised the inherent goodness of people and their close relationship to nature. Readers are still motivated by his profound thoughts on spirituality, self-discovery, and the place of the individual in society. To understand Emerson’s intellectual depth, provocative ideas, and lasting contributions to American literature and philosophy, UGC NET English candidates should read his writings.

9. Edgar Allen Poe

Famous American author and poet Edgar Allan Poe is a key figure in American literature, especially for candidates for the UGC NET in English. Poe is renowned for writing distinct, eerie stories that explore themes of death, insanity, and the intricacies of the human psyche. His command of language and ability to evoke a spooky atmosphere are on display in works like “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”. The groundwork for future detective stories was also created by Poe’s contributions to the detective fiction genre with his well-known character C. Auguste Dupin. To understand Poe’s distinctive literary style, his examination of human nature, and his ongoing influence on American literature, UGC NET English aspirants should read some of Poe’s works.

10. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Famous American author Nathaniel Hawthorne is a major figure in American literature, especially for those aiming for the UGC NET in English. It is well known that Hawthorne’s literary works, such as “The Scarlet Letter” and “The House of the Seven Gables,” explore topics like guilt, sin, and the intricacies of human nature. His use of sophisticated symbolism, subtle character development, and moral ambiguity captivates readers and begs for in-depth investigation. Hawthorne’s works are a crucial part of the American literary canon because they explore societal expectations, the effects of kept secrets, and the eternal conflict between good and evil. To understand Hawthorne’s creative skill, his investigation of moral quandaries, and his enduring influence on American literature, UGC NET English candidates should read his works.

11. Louisa May Alcott

Famous American author Louisa May Alcott is an important figure in American literature, especially for those aiming for the UGC NET in English. The most well-known work of Alcott is “Little Women,” a classic coming-of-age tale that has won over readers all over the world. Alcott brilliantly captures the difficulties, hopes, and aspirations of young women in 19th-century America by drawing on experiences from her own life. Family, love, independence, and the search of personal fulfilment are all topics that are explored in her works. Alcott has become a renowned figure in American literature thanks to her engrossing storytelling, well-drawn characters, and compelling narratives. To understand Alcott’s creative talent, her insightful portrayal of female realities, and her ongoing influence on American literary heritage, UGC NET English aspirants should read her works.

12. James Cooper

Famous American author Louisa May Alcott is an important figure in American literature, especially for those aiming for the UGC NET in English. The most well-known work of Alcott is “Little Women,” a classic coming-of-age tale that has won over readers all over the world. Alcott brilliantly captures the difficulties, hopes, and aspirations of young women in 19th-century America by drawing on experiences from her own life. Family, love, independence, and the search of personal fulfilment are all topics that are explored in her works. Alcott has become a renowned figure in American literature thanks to her engrossing storytelling, well-drawn characters, and compelling narratives. To understand Alcott’s creative talent, her insightful portrayal of female realities, and her ongoing influence on American literary heritage, UGC NET English aspirants should read her works.

13. Edith Wharton

American author Edith Wharton is widely regarded and maintains a key place in American literature, making her a crucial figure for candidates for the UGC NET in English. The literary works of Edith Wharton are known for their sharp psychological insights and keen observations of upper-class society, providing a nuanced analysis of interpersonal dynamics and societal restrictions. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her masterwork, “The Age of Innocence,” which explores the difficulties of love, obligation, and social expectations in New York’s affluent circles. Wharton’s extraordinary creative talent is highlighted by her exquisite style, vivid descriptions, and biting social satire. To appreciate Wharton’s astute observations, her profound understanding of human nature, and her lasting contributions to American literature, UGC NET English candidates should read her writings.

14. Kate Chopin

An important figure in American literature, especially for candidates for the UGC NET in English, is Kate Chopin. The exploration of female identity and the social restrictions placed on women in the late 19th century is a major theme in Chopin’s works. Her ground-breaking book, “The Awakening,” upended social standards by describing a woman’s quest for personal independence and self-discovery. Strong female characters, rich imagery, and nuanced emotional expression are all hallmarks of Chopin’s literary style. To understand Chopin’s contribution to feminist literature, her brave examination of women’s perspectives, and her enduring influence on American literature, UGC NET English aspirants should read her works.

15. Henry James

Famous American author Henry James holds a special position in literature, especially for UGC NET English candidates. James is well known for writing complex and profoundly psychological novels and short stories. His writings explore the intricacies of interpersonal relationships, the conflict between American and European cultures, and subjects like identity and individual freedom. “The Portrait of a Lady,” one of his best known works, is a prime example of James’ astute observations and subtle character development. Candidates for the UGC NET in English should read James’ works to understand his outstanding literary skill, his perceptive examination of human psychology, and his enduring influence on both American and world literature.

16. Mark twain

Mark Twain, a well-known American author, is regarded as an iconic figure in American literature and is hence important for candidates for the UGC NET in English. The works of Mark Twain, including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” have endured for generations and are renowned for their wit, humour, and astute social commentary. As he explores themes of race, morality, and the American experience, Twain’s literary style perfectly captures the essence of American idiom. Twain attacked social mores and revealed the shortcomings and hypocrisies of his era through his enduring characters and captivating storytelling. Candidates for the UGC NET in English should read Twain’s works to understand his literary brilliance, his sarcastic insights, and his enduring influence on American literature.

17. Jack London

Famous American author Jack London holds a special place in American literature, especially for UGC NET English candidates. The literary contributions of London, such as “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang,” are praised for their vivid portrayals of the natural world and fascinating storytelling. His literature explores topics like survival, adventure, and the close relationship between people and animals. London’s stories are authentic because of his personal experiences as a gold prospector and sailor. His writings provide a realistic representation of the harsh realities of life and the difficulties that both people and animals encounter in wild settings. Candidates for the UGC NET in English should read London’s works to understand his gripping storytelling, his examination of the human condition, and his lasting influence on American literature.

18. Charlotte Gilman Perkins

The considerable significance that American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman has in American literature makes her a crucial figure for candidates for the UGC NET in English. It is well recognised that Gilman’s literary works, especially her well-known short tale “The Yellow Wallpaper,” explore gender roles, mental health, and social criticism. Through her writing, Gilman questioned societal expectations and promoted gender equality and women’s rights. Her writings provide a thorough analysis of the psychological and emotional challenges that women in patriarchal societies endure. Candidates for the UGC NET in English should read Gilman’s works to understand her feminist viewpoint, thought-provoking storytelling, and continuing influence on American literature.

19. Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Dreiser, who was born in the United States on August 27, 1871, was a notable author whose works had a long-lasting influence. As a founder of the literary movement known as naturalism, which aimed to depict the harsh facts of life and the effects of social and economic conditions on individuals, he had a significant impact on the development of American literature. Dreiser’s astute observations of society, class conflicts, and the complexity of human impulses are best illustrated in classic works like “Sister Carrie” and “An American Tragedy.” Dreiser’s books continue to be recognised for their critical social commentary, realism, and ongoing relevance. He is known for his meticulous descriptions, psychological depth, and honest portrayal of people’ motivations.

20. Stephan crane

American author Stephen Crane, who was born on November 1st, 1871, was an important figure in writing. His best-known book, “The Red Badge of Courage,” explored the mental and emotional anguish that Civil War troops went through. Crane received a lot of praise for his accurate depiction of war and its aftermath. His unique writing style, which is distinguished by vivid imagery and succinct sentences, has a significant impact on contemporary American literature. The Open Boat” and “The Blue Hotel,” two of the most well-known of Crane’s short stories, showcase his skill at portraying the core of the human condition and the hardships experienced by common people. For its long influence, Crane’s literary legacy is still recognised and studied today.

21. Susan Glaspell

Born on July 1st, 1876, Susan Glaspell was a notable American dramatist, writer, and journalist. She made important contributions to feminist play and early 20th-century American literature. Glaspell was a founding member of the well-known Provincetown Players, a theatre company that specialised in presenting original plays. The one-act play “Trifles,” one of her most well-known creations, tackled issues of gender norms and the marginalisation of women in society. Glaspell addressed social and moral themes in her literature with perceptive insights and forward-thinking perspectives. Her works of fiction, including “Fidelity” and “The Visioning,” are examples of her literary talent and dedication to confronting societal injustices. Because of her persistent feminist themes, Glaspell continues to have a considerable influence on American literature and theatre.

22. Robert Frost

Robert Frost, an eminent American poet who was born on March 26, 1874, is known for having had a significant influence on literature. Frost, a celebrated poet known for his perceptive and approachable poetry, explored subjects including nature, human existence, and the complexity of life. Readers were deeply moved by his ability to portray the wonder and difficulties of rural living in such clear detail. A few of Frost’s most well-known poems are “The Road Not Taken,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and “Mending Wall,” which all display his skillful use of imagery, analogies, and approachable language. Frost has cemented his reputation as a cherished poet in American literary history with his astute observations of the human condition and timeless poetry.

23. Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound, an American poet and critic who was born on October 30, 1885, had a significant impact on the development of modernist poetry. Pound, well-known for his substantial contributions, promoted imagism and placed a premium on clarity in language and form. His poetry, particularly “The Cantos,” demonstrated his inventive and experimental style, which frequently drew inspiration from historical and mythological elements. Pound’s critical writing, particularly “The ABC of Reading,” had a significant influence on later poet generations. His latter, contentious political ideas, which cast a shadow on his literary accomplishments, left behind a complex and contentious legacy. Despite the controversy surrounding his personal life and beliefs, Pound has had a significant impact on modern poetry.

24. William carols

William Carlos Williams, an American poet and physician who was born on September 17, 1883, had enormous influence. Williams, a poet renowned for his distinctive style, had a significant influence on modernist poetry. He promoted the idea of capturing the essence of daily life and centred his works on commonplace issues. Williams’ well-known motto, “no ideas but in things,” emphasised the value of clear language and physical images. His unique style and vivid imagery are on display in well-known works like “Spring and All” and his epic poem “Paterson”. Williams’ dedication to simplicity and clarity has inspired and influenced poets for years. His uniqueness and aesthetic perspective are recognised in his contributions to American literature.

25. E.E.Cummings

E.E. Cummings, an American poet, playwright, and visual artist, was born on October 14, 1894. Cummings, who is renowned for his experimental and outlandish writing style, resolutely questioned accepted poetry rules and conventions. He used a creative method to use language, font, and punctuation to produce one-of-a-kind compositions on the page that are visually arresting. With vivid imagery and passionate lyricism, Cummings’ poetry tackled topics of love, nature, and the human experience. His command of words and capacity to generate strong emotions are best demonstrated by works like “i carry your heart with me” and “somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond.” Readers are still motivated by Cummings’ creative vision and revolutionary energy, which has cemented his status as a key figure in American literature.

26. John Updike

American author John Updike, who was born on March 18, 1932, is renowned for his significant creative accomplishments and insightful examination of American culture. Updike explored topics like suburban life, love, and the intricacies of the human condition with his excellent storytelling abilities and exquisite prose. The vivid characterizations and perceptive societal commentary in well-known works like the “Rabbit” series, “The Witches of Eastwick,” and “A&P” won them significant praise from critics. Updike’s writing displayed his command of language and capacity to discern the finer details of daily existence. John Updike has received various honours and has produced a sizable body of work, and he is still regarded as a prominent and important figure in American literature.

27. Harper lee

American novelist Harper Lee, who was born on April 28, 1926, is well-known for her ground-breaking book “To Kill a Mockingbird.” After being published in 1960, the book quickly gained renown for its themes of racial injustice and inequality in the American South. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for her compelling storytelling, endearing characters, and perceptive societal critique. Despite the enormous popularity of her first book, Lee lived a quiet life and for many years avoided publishing any more books. Although “To Kill a Mockingbird” is still regarded as a lasting and significant contribution to American literature, championing empathy, justice, and the value of moral integrity, her influence on literature is still enormous.

28. Truman Capote

American author Truman Capote, who was born on September 30, 1924, was incredibly influential and renowned for his distinctive writing style and compelling storytelling. “In Cold Blood,” one of his best-known works, was first published in 1966 and is widely recognised as a classic true crime book. Capote methodically reconstructs a true-life murder case, blurring the line between truth and fiction while creating a compelling story that explores the characters’ psychological quirks. In addition to this masterwork, Capote’s short story “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and his essay collection “Music for Chameleons” display his lyrical style and astute understanding of human nature. Truman Capote continues to be an enduring figure in American literature thanks to his unique voice and creative accomplishments.

29. J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger, who was born in 1919 and had a huge following, is best known for his book “The Catcher in the Rye.” After its 1951 publication, the book swiftly established itself as a literary classic, enthralling readers with its disobedient main character, Holden Caulfield, and his open examination of teenage angst and alienation. A generation of readers were drawn to Salinger’s writing because of its biting humour and moving reflection. Salinger’s influence on literature was substantial despite the fact that he only had a few books published, and he had a reputation as a recluse. His ability to sensitively and authentically represent the intricacies of the human experience will be his most enduring literary contribution to America.

30. John O Hara

American author John O’Hara, who was born on January 31st, 1905, is renowned for his accurate depictions of middle-class life. Themes of ambition, class, and interpersonal connections were explored in O’Hara’s works with his astute observations and incisive social commentary. His works of fiction, such as “Appointment in Samarra” and “Butterfield 8,” demonstrated his ability of language and character development. The attention to detail and aptitude for capturing the complexity and inconsistencies of human nature that characterised O’Hara’s literary style. His creative accomplishments brought him praise from the literary community, and his books are still praised for their penetrating depictions of 20th-century American culture.

31. John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck, an acclaimed American author who was born on February 27, 1902, is well known for his moving and sympathetic depictions of the tribulations of the working people. His books, which explored themes of poverty, social injustice, and the resiliency of the human spirit, such as “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “East of Eden,” struck a chord with readers all around the world. The essence of the Great Depression era and the intricacies of the human experience were perfectly portrayed by Steinbeck’s vivid descriptions, complex characterizations, and gripping storytelling. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 as a result of his contributions to literature. His classic writings have a lasting impact on literature because they continue to move readers and evoke thought.

32. Joseph Heller

American novelist Joseph Heller, who was born on May 1st, 1923, is well known for writing the satirical and darkly humorous book “Catch-22.” The novel, which was published in 1961, was well praised for its caustic satire of bureaucracy and the absurdity of war. Readers were enthralled by Heller’s peculiar writing style, which was distinguished by deft wordplay and a non-linear narrative framework, and it cemented his position as a notable literary personality. Even while “Catch-22” is still his best-known book, Heller also wrote other acclaimed books like “Something Happened” and “Good as Gold,” which show his ability to combine humour with sharp social satire. Heller made significant literary contributions that are prized for their humour, wisdom, and enduring impact in the field of satire.

33. William S Burroughs

Born on February 5, 1914, William S. Burroughs was a well-known American novelist and a key member of the Beat Generation. Burroughs, known for his unique writing style, pioneered new literary genres with his ground-breaking works like “Naked Lunch” and “Junky.” His books included subjects including sexuality, drug addiction, and the seedy side of society. Burroughs’ inventive application of the cut-up technique, which entails the rearranging and collage of texts, further exemplified his avant-garde narrative style. His standing as a notable and influential character in American literature and the field of experimental art is solidified by his counter-cultural viewpoints and enduring impact on succeeding generations of writers.

34. Jack Kerousac

Born on March 12, 1922, Jack Kerouac was a well-known American author and a key member of the Beat Generation. His groundbreaking book “On the Road,” which was published in 1957 and caught the heart of adolescent rebellion and the search for purpose in post-World War II America, won him enormous acclaim. The literary landscape was revolutionised by Jack Kerouac’s writing style, which is characterised by impromptu prose and a stream-of-consciousness narrative. His writings explored themes of independence, self-discovery, and defiance of societal standards. Kerouac made significant literary contributions and lived the Beat lifestyle, establishing a lasting legacy in American literature that continues to influence readers and writers today.

35. Edward Albee

American playwright Edward Albee, who was born on March 12th, 1928, is renowned for creating thought-provoking and well-received plays. Albee’s plays, such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “The Zoo Story,” and “A Delicate Balance,” explored the intricacies of human relationships and the human condition while challenging conventional standards. Albee tackled issues of identity, power relationships, and the brittleness of communication through his razor-sharp wit and moving dialogue. His theatre productions frequently pushed the envelope and provided sharp social critique. Albee received countless honours for his enormous contributions to American theatre, including three Pulitzer Prizes. His lasting contribution as one of the most important writers of the 20th century has shaped and is continuing to impact the theatrical environment.

36. Saul Bellow

American author Saul Bellow, who was born on June 10th, 1915, is well-known for his substantial contributions to 20th-century literature. Bellow, who was known for his reflective and perceptive books, explored issues of identity, alienation, and the intricacies of life. His best-known works, including “The Adventures of Augie March,” “Herzog,” and “Humboldt’s Gift,” showcased his extraordinary storytelling talent and in-depth character development. Bellow’s writing was notable for its intellectual depth, fusing wit and intelligence to generate storylines that will leave you thinking. His outstanding literary accomplishments were honoured with a number of important honours, including the 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature. As a result of his books’ profound explorations of the human condition, Bellow’s legacy lives on as a source of inspiration for readers.

37. Allen Ginsberg

American poet Allen Ginsberg, who was born on June 3, 1926, was a key member of the Beat Generation. His revolutionary poetry “Howl,” which was published in 1956, disobeyed social conventions and bravely investigated issues of sexuality, spirituality, and political uprising. With its candidness, sweeping lines, and vivid imagery, Ginsberg’s peculiar lyrical style captured the soul of countercultural movements and rose to become a symbol of literary resistance. Ginsberg had a profound influence on later poets and activists by championing social justice and individual liberty via his writing. He became one of the most prominent and enduring poets in American literary history as a result of his persuasive voice and unflinching integrity.

38. Anne Sexton

American poet Anne Sexton, who was born on November 9, 1928, was well-known for her unusual and candid writing style. She bravely explored extremely sensitive and frequently taboo topics like mental illness, sexuality, and the intricacies of interpersonal relationships. A raw study of the human experience, Sexton’s poetry was distinguished by its potent and vivid vocabulary. Her book “Live or Die,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1967, is a prime example of her unfiltered emotional expression and contemplation. Sexton has established herself as a notable and influential presence in contemporary poetry thanks to her distinctive style and brave portrayal of human issues.

39. Sylvia Plath

American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, who was born on October 27, 1932, had a profound influence on literature. In-depth issues of identity, mental health, and the complexities of human existence were explored in Plath’s poetry. Her poetry are well-known for their resonant imagery and unvarnished vulnerability, which show the depths of her emotions. Her command of language and capacity to portray important moments with chilling clarity are on display in the posthumously released collection “Ariel”. The semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar” by Plath expands on themes of mental illness and the challenges women confront in society. Plath’s sad life and premature death have only heightened interest in her work and established her as a key figure in 20th-century literature.

40. Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell, who was born on March 1st, 1917, was a well-known American poet whose works had a significant influence on the literary community. Lowell, who is renowned for his reflective and powerful poetry, tackled issues like as history, the complexity of human emotions, and self-reflection. His 1959 collection “Life Studies,” which combined personal experiences with larger societal themes, had a significant impact on how American poetry was shaped. Lowell’s extraordinary lyrical talent was on display in his command of complex poem structures and evocative imagery. Lowell’s commitment to exploring the depths of human existence and his enduring literary brilliance have earned him several honours, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, solidifying his position as one of the most important and admired poets of the 20th century.

41. Elizabeth Bishop

American poet Elizabeth Bishop, who was born on February 8, 1911, was well-known for her rigorous attention to detail and masterful artistry. Her poems explored themes of memory, loss, and the natural environment, demonstrating her capacity to lyrically capture the essence of a moment. Readers were drawn into Bishop’s contemplative world by the works’ vivid imagery and insightful observations. She cemented her position among the greatest writers when her book “North & South” won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1956. Bishop left behind a lasting legacy as a brilliant poet, and her works still move readers because of their beauty and sincerity.

42. Wallace Stevens

A hugely famous American modernist poet noted for his unique and philosophical approach to poetry, Wallace Stevens was born on October 2, 1879. His writings explored issues of reality, perception, and the transforming power of language. Stevens’ poetry offered readers a singular and thought-provoking experience by skillfully fusing abstract ideas with precise and vivid imagery. His 1923 publication of “Harmonium,” which displayed his masterful mastery of language and creative use of metaphor, was a literary triumph. Prestigious awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1955, recognised Stevens’ outstanding contributions to American poetry. Readers are still enthralled by his extensive and intricate body of work, which is praised for both its lyrical beauty and intellectual depth.

African-American writers

1. Tony Morrison

American author, essayist, and Nobel winner Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931. Her brilliant writings explored complex issues of race, identity, and the African American experience. The examination of intricate historical tales and their effects on people and societies in Morrison’s novels, such as “Beloved,” “The Bluest Eye,” and “Song of Solomon,” was innovative. Morrison amplified underrepresented perspectives and shed light on the complexities of human emotions through her engrossing storytelling and elegant style. She received many honours for her significant literary accomplishments, including the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. Numerous readers and authors all across the world are motivated by Morrison’s deep legacy as a literary giant.

2. Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston, a groundbreaking African American writer, anthropologist, and filmmaker who was born on January 7, 1891. She was instrumental in preserving and promoting Black Americans’ culture and experiences, particularly those of those living in the rural South. The 1937 publication of Hurston’s most well-known book, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” explored themes of love, self-discovery, and the quest for independence via the engrossing journey of its lead character, Janie Crawford. Hurston gave her writing authenticity and depth with her unique storytelling approach and use of African American slang. Hurston overcame obstacles and was undervalued in her day, but her literary accomplishments and commitment to safeguarding African American folklore and customs have established her as a significant and admired figure in American literary history.

3. Alice Walker

The celebrated American author, poet, and activist Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944. Walker examines important issues of race, gender, and social justice in her literary works, highlighting the lives of African Americans and women. Her 1982 book “The Colour Purple” received a lot of praise for her stirring depiction of the strength and empowerment of black women. Walker’s literary style elevates the voices of marginalised populations and challenges social conventions with its potent storytelling and poetic language. Prestigious honours, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, have recognised her enormous contributions to literature and activism. Readers are still moved by Walker’s writing, which also sparks important discussions about empathy and equality.

4. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights advocate, was born on April 4, 1928. Her writings explored issues of identity, race, and women and had a significant influence on both literature and society. The autobiography of Maya Angelou, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which was first published in 1969, is still a potent and lauded account of her early years and her encounters with prejudice and suffering. Angelou brilliantly captured resiliency, fortitude, and the triumph of the human spirit in her lyrical and powerful poetry. Her words never cease to uplift and encourage readers, bridging divides and fostering compassion and understanding. As a significant author and supporter of social justice, Maya Angelou has left a long and significant legacy.

5. Langston Huges

Born on February 1st, 1902, African American poet, playwright, and novelist Langston Hughes made history in these fields. His profound and significant works, particularly those produced during the Harlem Renaissance, perfectly encapsulated the essence of the Black experience in America. Hughes’ poetry, which includes well-known pieces like “The Weary Blues” and “Harlem,” explored issues of identity, inequity, and the pursuit of dreams. Hughes gave voice to the dreams, challenges, and joys of African Americans through his potent words and vivid images. His literary accomplishments and support for racial equality have had a lasting influence on American literary history and continue to inspire new generations. Langston Hughes is still admired today and stands as a timeless example of artistic and cultural expression.

6. Amiri Baraka

LeRoi Jones, formerly known as Amiri Baraka, was a well-known poet, playwright, and activist of African American descent. Baraka, who was born on October 7, 1934, wrote books that explored black identity, social justice, and cultural revolution. His works, such as the well-known play “Dutchman” and the significant poetry collection “Black Magic,” questioned social standards and prompted important discussions about racial dynamics and power relationships. Jazz rhythms and strong, confrontational vocabulary were combined in Baraka’s poetry to create politically charged verse. Baraka’s influence in the Black Arts Movement went beyond literature, igniting activism and spreading cultural sensitivity. His influence on culture and his legacy as a revolutionary writer have endured and continue to motivate new generations.

7. James Baldwin

James Baldwin, a prominent African American writer, essayist, and social critic, was born on August 2, 1924. Through his literary works, such as “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “The Fire Next Time,” Baldwin bravely investigated topics of race, identity, and sexuality in America. His moving writing provided perceptive criticism on racial injustice and the fight for civil rights. Baldwin advocated for justice, equality, and understanding in his works, which questioned traditional standards. His contributions to American literature, which offered profound insights into the human experience and the never-ending pursuit of social justice, continue to be recognised. James Baldwin left a lasting literary legacy by influencing future generations through his gripping stories and passionate activism.

8. Ralph Ellison

In the middle of the 20th century, famed African-American author Ralph Ellison became an important voice. Ellison, who was born in 1913, rose to prominence with his seminal book “Invisible Man,” a literary masterwork that tackles issues of racial identity and societal invisibility. Ellison questioned social expectations through his engaging storytelling and offered remarkable insights into the complexity of the African-American experience. His insights on race, culture, and individualism are still relevant in today’s society. Ellison received various honours for his outstanding contributions to American literature, including the prestigious National Book Award in 1953. His long legacy as a trailblazing novelist serves as a reminder of the profound power of language in igniting change and inspiring thought.

9. Richard Wright

Richard Wright, a significant character in African-American literature, had a profound influence on 20th-century literature. Wright, who was born in 1908, accurately captured the hardships and realities of black existence in America in his writings. His groundbreaking book “Native Son” bravely highlighted the pervasive prejudice and oppression faced by African Americans, forcing readers to face painful realities. Wright’s unvarnished honesty and captivating writing style struck a chord with readers, sparking crucial discussions about racial injustice and social inequality. His celebrated books, including “Black Boy” and “The Outsider,” are still praised for their profound impact and continuing relevance, cementing Wright’s reputation as an original and forward-thinking author.


In conclusion, the UGC NET English syllabus places a lot of emphasis on the fields of American literature and African-American literature. Numerous literary works that explore the intricacies of American society, history, and culture may be found in these genres. A deeper understanding of the African-American experience and a clearer understanding of the larger issues of identity, racism, and social injustice can be gained through studying the works of renowned authors like Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright. UGC NET English candidates can better grasp the various voices and views that have influenced American literature by studying the works of these authors. Engaging with these significant authors enables us to recognise the immense influence of literature in upending expectations and promoting meaningful conversation.

Sending you positive Vibes

All The Best

Read More : Postmodern Literature (1939-To present) Important Writers for UGC NET English

Postmodern Literature (1939-To present ):Important Writers for UGC NET English


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