Literary Genius: 25 Classic Writers Who Define English and American Literature

In his introduction, Joseph Epstein offers a broad definition of literary genius: “Timelessness, grandeur of vision, originality of outlook—all these in concert and worked at a high power comprise genius in the writer.” Literary artists till some of the same fields of human experience that are staked out by writers of sacred texts and theological works.

Of these 25 authors, apparently only John Milton unabashedly wore the mantle of a Christian writer. According to the essay here by Reynolds Price, Milton wrote under the “increasing conviction that he was ordained by God to be a writer of what he considered the highest kind, an epic poet.” Price praises Mil ton’s lasting influence, writing that he was one who “lodged himself where he longed to be—as a spur in the depths of our minds, a balm to our souls, a companionable hand in our solitary journeys.”

 

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