Entertaining and informative, this collection of brief, informal biographies spans the centuries from Sophocles in ancient Greece to Harper Lee in America's Deep South. Along the way, readers will enjoy pithy biographical sketches of existentialists Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, French satirist Voltaire and Edwardian satirist Oscar Wilde, dramatists from William Shakespeare to Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, poets from Dante to William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot, and novelists who include Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Toni Morrison, John Updike, and hundreds more. Each biographical entry includes an assessment of the writer's literary innovations and cultural impact, supplemented with a list of the author's major works, fascinating quotes, and intriguing asides. This book covers a broad range of literary artists who have shaped the course of fiction, poetry, drama, and philosophical thought across a span of more than 2,500 years. Both a handy quick-reference source and an inspiration for readers to delve into the world of the literary arts, 501 Great Writers is certain to be opened and referred to time and time again. Filled with photos and illustrations.