American Literary Classics List

The American literary scene has been instrumental in shaping literature across the world. From the early days of colonial literature to modernist contemporary works, American authors have produced some of the most iconic works in modern literature.

Here is a list of some of the most celebrated American literary classics of all time that have left an indelible mark in the literary world:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Published in 1960, Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a masterpiece that explores themes such as racial inequality, class differences, and the loss of innocence. Set in the south during the Great Depression, this novel follows the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who defends an innocent black man against a false accusation of rape.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Considered as one of the greatest works of modern American literature, “The Great Gatsby” is a timeless novel about the American Dream. This 1925 novel tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who tries to win back his lost love, Daisy, through extravagant parties and grand gestures.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

First published in 1851, “Moby-Dick” is a masterpiece of American literature that explores man’s obsession with power, revenge, and the sea. This novel follows the story of an eccentric captain, Ahab, who sets out on a dangerous quest to hunt down the white whale that took his leg.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

One of the most controversial and acclaimed novels of the 20th century, “The Catcher in the Rye” is a coming-of-age novel that explores themes such as alienation, identity, and teenage rebellion. This novel follows the story of Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy who has been expelled from his prep school and wanders around New York City.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Published in 1854, “Walden” is a transcendentalist classic that explores the beauty of solitude and the importance of self-reliance. This book is a reflection of Thoreau’s two-year experience living in a cabin near Walden Pond, where he explored the meaning of existence and the simplicity of life.


This list is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a glimpse of the richness and diversity of American literature. These books have not only stood the test of time, but have also influenced and inspired generations of readers and writers across the world. They showcase the depth of American literature and its impact on the world of literature at large.

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