Influential Figures in Fantasy, Appendix I – Unified Author List

Thought it might be helpfull to provide the whole list in one place.

Horace Walpole (1717-1797)
Johann von Goethe (1749-1832)
William Blake (1757-1827)
William Beckford (1760-1844)
Anne Radcliffe (1764-1823)
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Novalis (1772-1801)
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (1785-1863, 1786-1859)
Lord Byron (1788-1824)
John Polidori (1795-1821)
Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873)
Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890)
George MacDonald (1824-1905)
Jules Verne (1828-1905)
William Morris (1834-1896)
Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925)
E. Nesbitt (1858-1924)
Arthur Machen (1863-1947)
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918)
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)
Lord Dunsany (1878-1957)
James Branch Cabell (1879-1958)
Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
Robert E. Howard (1906-1936)
T.H. White (1906-1964)
Fritz Leiber (1910-1992)
Mervyn Peake (1911-1968)
Jack Vance (1916-2013)
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011)
Gabriel García Márquez (1927-)
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-)
David Eddings (1931-2009)
Michael Moorcock (1939-)
Anne Rice (1941-)
Terry Brooks (1944-)
Glen Cook (1944-)
Stephen Donaldson (1947-)
Stephen King (1947-)
Robert Jordan (1948-2007)
Robert Holdstock (1948-2009)
Margaret Weiss (1948-) and Tracy Hickman (1955-)
William Gibson (1948-)
George R.R. Martin (1948-)
Terry Pratchett (1948-)
Matthew Stover (1962-)
JK Rowling (1965-)
China Mieville (1972-)

N.B. since I first started writing these posts, Jack Vance (RIP) has died. Born during WWI, he had been the oldest living author on this list. That distinction now rests with Gabriel García Márquez, born 1927, followed by Ursula Le Guin. Other than David Eddings (died 2009), all writers on the list younger than Vance are still alive – with the unfortunate exceptions of Robert Jordan and Robert Holdstock, who both died sadly young. The two Roberts (an assumed name in Jordan’s case) were both born in 1948, and died only two years apart, in 2007 and 2009 – Jordan at 59 of amyloidosis (an extremely rare disease involving the creation of misshapen proteins), and Holdstock at 61 of an E. coli infection (E. coli is a bacterium commonly present in the gut, but illness may arise on ingesting more dangerous strains in contaminated food or water – even then, it is rarely fatal).

(while I was at it, I looked a bit more closely at the ages of the writers. The best time to be born, as a writer on this list, was in the early to middle 18th century – Walpole, Beckford and Goethe all made 80 or above, Blake and the Grimms made 70, and the most tragically young to die was Anne Radcliffe at 59. The worst generation were, of course, the Romantics. Eleven writers in total reached the age of 80, but only one reached 90 – again, this was Vance. Borges (87) was the next oldest man; McCaffrey (85), the oldest woman.  At the other extreme, the youngest to die were John Polidori (25, believed a suicide), Novalis (28, consumption), Howard (30, suicide), Byron (36, fever and idiot doctors, while commanding a rebel fleet against the Ottomans), and Poe (40, entirely mysterious)).

3 thoughts on “Influential Figures in Fantasy, Appendix I – Unified Author List

  1. […] conclude, two appendices: Appendix I (a simple list, in one place, of the 60 authors) Appendix II (a suggested reading list of some of […]

  2. R.J. Jacobs says:

    You hurt me, with the modern authors. Neil Gaiman, I think, has spread a bit of influence into the world, especially with comics and fantasy,

  3. Well, the first thing to say in my defence is that I wouldn’t do this list the same way today, I don’t think.
    Regarding Gaiman specifically, I think I’d have two points. First, he’s very late, and most of his ‘influence’ even later, and I ended up cutting things off around the millennium – not precisely, but generally. American Gods didn’t come out until 2001, and all the film adaptations were much later, so he’s kind of at the edge of this outline to begin with.

    Secondly, how much influence has he actually had? Crossover success with his TV and film work, yes, and quite a few fans, but I don’t really feel that there’s a subgenre out there of Gaimanesque writers (maybe there are beginning to be?). Just as importantly, I see Gaiman as very much in the shadow of Pratchett, the older and more popular author – so if there are glimpses of their shared Chesteronian/Cabellian humour-and-humanism approach in other authors, I’m more likely to see that as Pratchettian influence, especially as Gaiman himself was directly influenced/inspired by Pratchett.

    That said: yes, if I did this list again, Gaiman would be one of the names I’d think about including. [Another is Raymond E Feist, by the way – I think when I did this originally I underestimated both the commercial success and the trend-setting nature of Feist’s early work].

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