Books, Literature

Five Greatest Story-Tellers


If there is one writer who inspired me to write, it is William Sydney Porter known by his pen name O.Henry.   A great twister of words and language. No other writer played with language as much as he. His made extensive use of used wit and sarcasm in his tales. His clever plot-twists, use of cliff hangers made him the master of short-story genre. Born in 1862 North Carolina, he begin his career as a pharmacist. But his serious literary career took off while serving a sentence on charges of embezzlement. Some of  his most admired works are The Gift Of Maggie, The last leaf, The Pendulum & The Ransom of Red Chief.

Guy de Maupassant

It was a chance encounter that I stumbled on Le hora short story at cousins’s house. What a brilliant horror story, it literally spooked me for nights. Henri Rene’  Albert Guy de Maupassant was born in 1850 in France. His own experience in the Franco-Persian war became the setting of most of his stories. He brilliantly portrayed the suffering and tragedy of country folks. His stories also reflect his own despise of rich and bourgeois. His notable works are The Necklace, Le Horla & Boule de Suif.  In his later life he suffered from a mental illness and died in a mental asylum in 1892.

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy without any doubt is the father of the short-story genre. His works often reflect the Russian social milieu and the spiritual dilemma that he himself faced in his life. Born as Count Lyov Nikolayevich Tolstoy in 1828, Russia, he drew heavily from his experiences. Despite born in privilege as a aristocrat he very realistically portrayed the plight of peasants and the vast gulf between the rich and the poor. Although he is renowned as great novelist and credited with literally masterpieces such as , War and Peace, Anna Karenina & The Death of Ivan Ilyich, however I most enjoy his short-stories. His short-stories remain a great comfort to me in my hours of darkness and moral crisis. If you are literature lover than the works of Tolstoy is must on your shelves.

Rabindranath Tagore

The noble laureate Rabbinate Tagore remains as one of the most influential Indian writer. His works are notable for ordinary characters placed in extraordinary situation. His stories reflects his own surroundings and people. Most of his work is penned against the backdrop of British imperialism in India. His protagonists very often voice his take on the nationalist movement and woman empowerment. I am drawn to his stories partly because of the strong female characters. I personally feel no other writer in literature has given so much space to women as Rabindranath Tagore. The bard of Bengali Literature as he is fondly called, he redefined the Indian Literature. He truly remains a rare literary gems, his most famous tales are, Kabuliwala, The Postmaster & Hungry Stones. 

Edgar Allen Poe

No list of short-story writers is complete without mention of the great Edgar Allen Poe.  The great American writer known for his tales of macabre and dark remains as one of the most prolific writer of all times.  His life and death like many of his most famous works remains a mystery. One of the first short-story writers, he compressed the art of novel into stories. Many attribute the birth of detective and science fiction to him. Poe was born in 1809 in Boston and led a life marred by financial woes and instability. The master of Gothic fiction, he abhorred the transcendentalism of eighteen century. To name a few , The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The oval portrait are some of  his most notable works.

21 thoughts on “Five Greatest Story-Tellers”

    1. What great story, “ The Necklace” , O.Henry is one of the greates short story writer. I read Necklace when I was in grade-9. I taught O.henry stories to my students, they always enjoyed the wit and the clever word play. Have your read the The Gift Of The Maggie and the “ Last Leaf”? Absolute brilliance, I must say:)

      1. Please you can, I love carpets something magical about them. You can reblof for sure! I saw some very beautiful carpets while working in Dubai , ofcourse I was single and alone hence believe in minimalism

  1. I love Poe and Tolstoy. Tolstoy wrote a description of a character dying (a soldier?) in a short story that still seems so real that I believe he must have experienced death and come back. A lot of his writing is like that: this is irreducible REALITY, it cannot be otherwise ❤️❤️

    1. I actually prefer short stories over novels and my list of favorites is long:
      Guy de Maupassant ( “ Le Horla” “Necklace”)
      O.Henry( “last leaf”, “pendulum”)
      Poe ( Raven, The tell-tale heart)
      Oscar Wilde (Dorian grey, “happy prince”)
      Dostoevsky ( infact I’m reading his ” The Young Hero” now a days)
      Papa Tolstoy is sage and his understanding of human nature is astounding, too good to be true..:). “ God watches the truth but waits”, Death of Ivan Illyich
      Chekov is not bad either in that regard 🙂 The Beggar….

      1. Well, we differ…I like some exceptional short story collections: Hemingway, Joyce, Tolstoy, and I love Dostoyevsky, especially “Notes From the Underground”…maybe Conrad?
        In general, I don’t like the form. I can’t get involved because they are too short, and, if they are good, they seem like failed novels…I want them to be longer. I tried writing some myself years ago, I could never write a novel….prose is beyond me. Thanks 💖💖🤗🤗

      2. In my early days I read lot of novels… crime and punishment, notes from underground..
        Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ is a good one. I like Marquez’s “100 years of Solitude” and “ Chronicles of Death Foretold” also writers like Saul Below, Kafka…
        Novel writing and reading both require patience which I don’t have 🙂

      3. me too…I read almost nothing but novels for ten years, but I can no longer find the requisite calm 😊

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