Writers The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History  

Alan Smithee
5.9k votes 1.3k voters 23.6k views 31 items

List Rules Vote up the authors whose next book should be an apology letter.

No matter how brilliant or groundbreaking or bro-appealing a piece of literature may be, it fails to make up for the pretentious authors behind them. The most pretentious writers of the world, despite their ways with written words, fail terribly when it comes to opening their mouths, usually because their foot is in the way. Many authors who are douches retain any semblance of literary cred only due to the equally douchey masses who praise their often overrated books. Relying heavily gimmicks or "their own personal style" instead of true substance, numerous douchey writers give off an air of trying to be deep (read this back-and-forth between Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer to get an idea).

The annoying writers of this list frustrate the world for a number of reasons. Some actively embodied the term "hypocrite," taking support from the very systems their works admonished (hello, welfare recipient Ayn Rand). Others simply ride the coattails of their past works to remain relevant, unable to understand no one's actually read American Psycho. But what unites all these writers are their acolytes, who will stop their fixed-gear bikes to tell you "Well, actually," your negative opinion of their books is wrong. Never mind them though, for you know the truth: that Walden pond was nowhere near the wildnerness.

1
401 171
Ayn Rand is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Philosophy: Who Needs It

2
238 127
Dan Brown is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Digital Fortress

3
113 40
Jonathan Franzen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Jonathan Franzen The Corrections, The Twenty-Seventh City, The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

4
142 63
Bret Easton Ellis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho, Less Than Zero, Glamorama

5
108 47
Jonathan Safran Foer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Jonathan Safran Foer Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Eating Animals

6
140 73
David Foster Wallace is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

7
93 44
Dave Eggers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Dave Eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What Is the What, A Hologram for the King

8
106 61
Norman Mailer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Norman Mailer The Naked and the Dead, The Executioner's Song, Ancient Evenings

9
173 123
Jack Kerouac is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Jack Kerouac On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels

10
124 83
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
James Joyce Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Finnegans Wake

11
83 52
Thomas Pynchon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Thomas Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow, The Crying of Lot 49, Mason & Dixon

12
176 144
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories

13
67 42
Philip Roth is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Philip Roth American Pastoral, Portnoy's Complaint, The Human Stain

14
99 74
Salman Rushdie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses, Midnight's Children, Shame

15
113 106
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Charles Bukowski Post Office, Ham on Rye, Women

16
39 30
Miranda July is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Miranda July No One Belongs Here More Than You, Learning to Love You More, Tin House

17
31 24
Jonathan Lethem is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Jonathan Lethem Motherless Brooklyn, Kafka Americana, The Wall of the Sky

18
52 48
John Updike is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
John Updike Rabbit, Run, Rabbit at Rest

19
102 108
Henry David Thoreau is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Henry David Thoreau Walden, Civil Disobedience, Faith in a seed

20
40 38
Michael Chabon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Michael Chabon The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policemen's Union

21
16 10
Malcolm Gladwell is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
rankerous added Malcolm Gladwell The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Outliers: The Story of Success, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

22
151 170
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls

23
33 36
Don DeLillo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Don DeLillo White Noise, Underworld, Libra

24
19 20
Joe Meno is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Joe Meno BrickJournal Compendium Volume 1, Demons in the Spring, How the Hula Girl Sings

25
103 137
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club, Haunted, Choke

26
58 80
Anthony Burgess is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange, Inside Mr. Enderby, Joysprick

27
30 45
Dan Simmons is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Dan Simmons Hyperion, Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort

28
72 108
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Resurrection

29
54 86
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The Marble Faun

30
33 58
Nick Hornby is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
Nick Hornby High Fidelity, A Long Way Down, Click

31
145 239
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Unbearably Pretentious Authors In Literary History
George Ripley added Stephen King Needful Things, The Stand, The Shining