Quiz: Can You Name These Famous Authors From a Single Sentence?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Name These Famous Authors From a Single Sentence?
By: R. White
6 Min Quiz
About This Quiz
Calling all bibliophiles! It’s time to show off your literary prowess! If you have ever been called a bookworm or seem fit to be a librarian, then this quiz is for you. Authors spanning the ages will cross paths with you and reminders of their famous titles will be recollected here. Ever wonder which novel put Stephen King on the map? Can you identify the real name of Samuel Clemens? Of what genre was H. P. Lovecraft’s writing?
Writers have their secrets and sometimes they are revealed through poems, short stories, plays, or novels. Autobiographical details of an author’s life creep into works such as Melville’s Moby Dick and Twain’s stories of the mighty Mississippi. These questions will summon common associations you have with famous writers or push the trivia button just a little bit harder. Stretch your skills on a timeline going back to medieval literature’s Beowulf through today’s contemporary works like The Color Purple and The Hunger Games.
Don’t let that high school English literature class go to waste. Be the first in the class when you can identify F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work about an unknown tycoon or can pinpoint the culprit in a “Who Dunnit”-style mystery. You won’t have to sell your soul to the devil like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray to master this quiz!
This British writer wrote a famous novel about a monster who was literally stitched together from others' body parts.
"Frankenstein" was born out of a suggestion by another writer for a group of writers to try their hand at horror stories. The alternate title for her great work is "The Modern Prometheus."
This writer's many plays were performed at the Globe Theater in London. Who is it?
Shakespeare was not only a writer but he acted and had a financial stake in the Globe Theatre. Today there is a modern version of the Globe Theatre near the same spot as the original, which burned down in 1613.
This children's author's real name was Theodore Geisel and he created the Lorax and the Grinch.
This beloved author has a day marked in his honor. March 2nd (his birthday) has become "Read Across America Day" and celebrates the love of reading.
Vampires and witches are among this contemporary writer's popular characters with settings often in the city of New Orleans.
Rice's best known book was made into a film, "The Vampire Lestat," which starred Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
This Victorian writer grew up on the moors of Yorkshire with her siblings (who were also writers) where she wrote a novel set in this stormy and desolate landscape. Can you name her?
"Wuthering Heights" was her only novel, but Bronte also wrote a number of poems. Both of her sisters were accomplished writers: Charlotte and Anne.
This much-loved witty writer, Samuel Clemens, from Hannibal, Missouri, created an iconic character in Tom Sawyer who is often depicted painting a white fence. By what name was this writer known?
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are among his treasured protagonists. He uses regional dialects and realism in his tales.
A popular "coming of age" writer for girls, this author has been addressing many intimate and personal issues regarding growing up for decades.
"Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" and "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" are among her popular titles. She has been a favorite among teens since the '70s.
This humorous poet wrote of silly characters in fantastical situations with nonsensical words and created his own drawings. Who is it?
Shel Silverstein began his career as a cartoonist. His collection of poems, "Where the Sidewalk Ends," has sold over 6 million copies.
This "lost generation" member and Nobel Prize winner adopted a straightforward journalistic style of writing for his works about bullfighting, the fish that got away, WWI, and hunting, among many topics. Who is it?
Hemingway's novella, "The Old Man and the Sea," won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and followed with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Sun Also Rises" are among his successful works.
Criticizing Victorian aristocracy and satirizing society's hypocrisy were among this very witty and often-quoted author's writing content. He was jailed for his sexuality.
Wilde's witty quotes still reverberate today. His play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," and novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," are still widely read.
A harsh allegory using animals as characters to caution about Stalinist views and a warning against conformity and "Big Brother" are the topics of his two most famous novels. Who is this British writer?
Orwell's "Animal Farm" and "1984" are allegorical and cautionary. With advances in technology, political turmoil, and media manipulation, "1984" has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.
She is considered a master of "Who Dunnit" with many works of the detective story genre. Who is it?
"Murder on the Orient Express" has been recently reprised in a movie starring Kenneth Branagh as Christie's famous detective, Hercule Poirot.
A rival and friend of Ernest Hemingway, this Jazz Age writer wrote of the "Golden Girl," pompous parties, and the American Dream. Can you identify him?
Fitzgerald's greatest work was "The Great Gatsby" which has been made into several movie versions. His wife, Zelda, was also a writer.
This British author enjoyed the study of Beowulf, created his own languages, and invented lovable little characters who inhabited the "Shire" and revered a magic ring. Name this writer.
Tolkien had a love of the Old English epic poem, "Beowulf," and he often studied and lectured on the subject.
Martians and book-burning in a futuristic society are topics of this prolific science fiction writer's most popular novels. Name the American author.
Bradbury had a successful radio show as well as television show which featured his short stories. "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451" are his most popular novels.
This dystopian writer's trilogy exposes the injustices of the Capitol against its many districts, particularly District 12. Who wrote about this?
Jennifer Lawrence played the heroic protagonist Katniss Everdene in "The Hunger Games," "Catching Fire," and "Mockingjay" movies.
This author wrote about a greedy old miser named Scrooge and his separate visits by four ghosts on Christmas Eve. Who wrote it?
This prolific British author is responsible for such works as "Great Expectations," "Oliver Twist," and "A Tale of Two Cities."
Depression era Oklahoma and the Dust Bowl is the setting for this author's famous novel outlining the move to California to seek a better life. Who wrote this?
Steinbeck often used the Salinas Valley of California as the setting for his stories. Migrant workers and the everyday man made up the characters in his works.
This author's main antagonist over several novels about magic and wizardry is often referred to as the one whose name is not to be mentioned.
Rowling was a single parent trying to make ends meet when she began the Harry Potter series. Today she is a celebrated author worth more than $600 million.
This India-born British writer produced poetry and stories that included the story of a young boy named Mowgli who was raised by animals in the jungle. Name this author.
Kipling's popular story has been captured by Disney in a successful animated version. It is a story Kipling began writing on the eve of his becoming a father.
Twist endings such as in the holiday tale, "The Gift of the Magi," are the staple of this writer. Who is it?
O. Henry's real name is William Sydney Porter. His stories incorporate surprises and coincidence.
These German siblings compiled fairy tales such as "Cinderella," "Rumplestiltskin," and "The Frog Prince." Who are they?
The brothers Grimm are credited with many fairy tales, but "Snow White" and "Rapunzel" were actually re-told tales. They told more than 200 stories.
His greatest work is a compilation of tales told by medieval travelers on a pilgrimage to Canterbury that was pre-empted by his death. Who is this author?
Chaucer intended for each traveler (30) to tell four tales each but only about 20 were completed. "The Miller's Tale" is a humorous tale and one of the more popular ones.
The predecessor to today's horror writers, this American author invented dark tales of a sinister raven, being buried alive, a guilt-ridden murderer, and a black cat. Who is it?
Poe is considered the father of the detective story as well as a master of gothic literature. He is best known for his poem, "The Raven."
A transcendentalist of the 1800s and friend of Henry David Thoreau, this New England writer proposed the idea of "self-reliance" as his mantra. Name him.
Emerson surrounded himself with the intellectuals of the day, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Thomas Carlyle. Many of his quotes are popular, including "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."
At Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993, she read one of her poem's called "On the Pulse of Morning." Name her.
Maya Angelou's autobiographical, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," is her best known work. This multi-award winner's other talents earned her rights as an actress, activist, memoirist, composer, and dancer.
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest.Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" opens this "treasure" of a work by a Scottish writer. Who is it?
"Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson is an adventurous tale that put pirates on the literary map. He also wrote "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
Well-known main characters by this author include a rabid dog, a possessed car, a murderous clown, and a psychic prom queen. Name him.
Stephen King is known for his small town Maine settings and developing everyday characters who face the unthinkable. "Cujo" (rabid dog), "Christine" (possessed car), and "Carrie" (prom queen) are three among more than 50 novels.
"Call me Ishmael" opens this author's famous work about a great white whale that plagues Captain Ahab. Identify the writer.
Herman Melville (1819-1891) experienced sea voyages firsthand and created an authentic sea story in "Moby Dick." It relates the story of Captain Ahab who cannot compete with a rival in a white whale.
Adventure stories with focus on sled dogs as protagonists and nature as an antagonist dominated this American writer's content. Can you name him?
Jack London (1876-1916) is best known for his novels, "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang." He was of the working class and loved travel, which he incorporated into his stories.
She created such characters as Mrs. Tittlemouse, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Peter Rabbit. Who is she?
Potter was known for her lovable characters in "The Tales of Peter Rabbit." She was also a conservationist who donated much of her property in the Lake District to the National Trust.
A French sci-fi writer who penned a travel tale about traveling the globe in a hot air balloon in 80 days. Name him.
"Around the World in 80 Days" is an adventure story of Phineas Fogg who tries to win a wager by circling the globe in less than three months. Verne created other science fiction tales, including "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "The Mysterious Island."
This British poet died young and was known for his odes. A famous one is about a Grecian urn.
Other odes by this Romantic movement poet include "Ode to Autumn" and "Ode to a Nightingale." Keats (1795-1821) was a contemporary and friend to many other well-known poets of the period, including Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
A recluse most of his career, this writer's only novel is known to be one of the best coming of age stories of the 20th century. Who is it?
Salinger wrote many short stories but it is by his rebellious protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who lingers for readers. Caulfield rages against conformity at a prep school in NYC in "Catcher in the Rye."
The title of his series of books for children creates what it describes...Goosebumps. Who is it?
Stine has entertained decades of children with his often creepy and ironic endings. More than 60 tales are in the original series.
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